While the research focused on Mac Book and i Mac models released before 2008, the authors say similar techniques could work on more recent computers from a wide variety of vendors.
In other words, if a laptop has a built-in camera, it’s possible someone — whether the federal government or a malicious 19 year old — could access it to spy on the user at any time.
Their research is under consideration for an upcoming academic security conference.
The researchers also provided us with a copy of their proof-of-concept software.
The webcam capture feature is not available on You Tube.
Previously, if you had a webcam built in or connected to your computer, you could record a webcam video on You Tube and upload it directly to the site.
The photos had been taken over a period of several months — without her knowledge — by the built-in camera on her laptop.“There’s a chip in the battery, a chip in the keyboard, a chip in the camera.” Mac Books are designed to prevent software running on the Mac Book’s central processing unit (CPU) from activating its i Sight camera without turning on the light.But researchers figured out how to reprogram the chip inside the camera, known as a micro-controller, to defeat this security feature.Fortunately, the FBI was able to identify a suspect: her high school classmate, a man named Jared Abrahams. W., later identified herself on Twitter as Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf.The FBI says it found software on Abrahams’s computer that allowed him to spy remotely on her and numerous other women. While her case was instant fodder for celebrity gossip sites, it left a serious issue unresolved.Most laptops with built-in cameras have an important privacy feature — a light that is supposed to turn on any time the camera is in use.