Some Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iSight webcams on laptops can be activated without the warning light. One computer science professor from John Hopkins University at Maryland claimed he discovered a way to turn on the webcams without turning on the green light which was designed to let people know if they are being recorded.
iSight’s major problems on Apple products
Stephen Checkoway explained, “We were able to turn on the built-in camera on certain older model laptops and desktops while keeping that associated green indicator light turned off. There’s no reason to assume that a similar technique couldn’t work for other computers, but we just don’t know.”
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Checkoway added that he and one of his students were able to covertly turn on the cameras on 2007-2008 iMacs and Macbook computers.
Camera loopholes are dangerous
A recent report from The Sydney Morning Herald elaborated on a story on former Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who was a victim of a spy who took advantage of this loophole. It was reported, “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. But Wolf said she never saw the light on her laptop. As a result, she had no idea she was under surveillance. That wasn’t supposed to be possible. While controlling a laptop camera remotely has long been a source of concern to privacy advocates, conventional wisdom said there was no way to deactivate the warning light.”
Researchers report this issue only effects Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products from an earlier generation such as the Mac G5, Intel-based iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to make an official comment on the matter. For the moment, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to place duct-tape on the camera.