Malware allows attackers to silently steal webcam video from your Mac, expert says

mac webcam hacking vulnerability facetime
Most people might assume that they’re safe from being surreptitiously recorded as long as their webcam LED remains unlit. After all, manufacturers implement safeguards at the firmware level to ensure that if a webcam is being used to stream or record, then its light will be on. Unfortunately, that’s only half the story.

Former NSA employee Patrick Wardle is presenting data at Thursday’s Virus Bulletin conference that demonstrates it’s possible for a nefarious party to install malware on a Mac that will monitor for legitimate webcam usage and then steal the video stream for its own purposes. Doing so would provide no visual indication of the attack, and so victims would have no reason to limit their activities accordingly, as 9to5Mac reports.

Wardle is director of research at Synack, a company that describes itself as a “global team of ethical hackers,” and his conference talk will focus on techniques being developed to monitor for such “secondary” attacks. Wardle has released a free tool that lets users know when such an attack is underway, meaning that you can end that sensitive business video conference or private conversation with your significant other and save yourself some loss of privacy or financial loss.

This isn’t Wardle’s first time at bat when it comes to discovering Mac security flaws. He discovered a method by which malware could get around Apple’s Gatekeeper security feature and inject itself into a system merely by placing code in the same folder as an authorized app. He also identified a trivial workaround that an attacker could use to leverage the Rootpipe vulnerability even on Macs updated with Apple’s patch aimed at addressing the issue.

To safeguard your Mac from attackers who might be stealing your webcam video, you can download and install Wardle’s tool, called OverSight, on any Mac running MacOS 10.10 or later. The small app will monitor the mic and webcam and let users know when a piece of malware has accessed the microphone or webcam. You can then choose to allow or block the process.

Wardle cautions that like all security tools, OverSight is not immune to circumvention by dedicated attackers. Malware running at the lowest levels of a system could possibly access the microphone and webcam without being detected by a tool such as OverSight, And so, the possibility remains that an attacker could be accessing your audio and video regardless, leaving all of us to feel just a tiny bit less secure.


I tried an LTE laptop for a month, and I wasn’t really convinced

LTE laptops offer up plenty of benefits and are becoming more common. After spending one month with one in my daily life in New York City, I really wondered if it is something that consumers really need in their lives.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

Keep an eye on things with the Alexa-enabled Ring video doorbell, now only $93

Smart home devices like the Ring video doorbell make it easier to keep an eye on your castle right from your smartphone – no matter where you are. If you want to smarten up your home security, here's how you can grab a Ring doorbell on…

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Protect yourself from the latest malware with the best free antivirus software

Malware, spyware, and adware is never fun to find on your PC. Check out our picks for the best free antivirus software, so you can rid your system of any dangerous software that might be lurking around.

Snatch Apple’s 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro for up to $1,200 off at B&H

The latest deal at B&H is offering up 2017 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros, in space gray and silver, with Intel Core i7 quad-core CPUs, 16GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPUs with up to 2TB of SSD storage.

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.

Qualcomm’s dual-screen PC concept looks like two connected Surface Go tablets

In Qualcomm's video teaser, we got a glimpse of the company's vision for how a dual-screen ARM PC should work. The internet reacted to Qualcomm's video, calling the device in question merely a mashup of two Surface Go tablets.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Hololens 2 could give the Always Connected PC a new, ‘aggressive’ form

Microsoft is said to be leaning on Qualcomm to power its Hololens 2 headset. Instead of Intel CPUs, the next Hololens could use a Snapdragon 850 processor, allowing it to benefit from the always-connected features.

Chrome’s dark mode may cast its shadow over Macs by early 2019

By early 2019 Google may release a version of Chrome for Mac users that offers a Dark Mode feature to match MacOS Mojave's recent darkening.

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.