Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Systems and Services > Programming > Mac Programming

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Mar 7, 2012, 02:41 PM   #1
ArtOfWarfare
macrumors 603
 
ArtOfWarfare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Send a message via Skype™ to ArtOfWarfare
Use built in cam without indicator light?

I have a paranoid friend who puts tape over their MacBook Pro's built in webcam. I insist that the camera can't be secretly used, that the camera is hardwired to the indicator LED, and that if the camera has power, the LED would also have power. If the LED doesn't have power, neither does the camera, like a string of cheap Christmas lights.

Am I incorrect? Is it possible to use the built in webcam without the indicator light (without physically modifying the machine?)
__________________
Don't tell me Macs don't last: 2007 iMac, 2007 Mac Mini, 2008 MacBook Air, all Vintage.
(iMac obsoletion: April 28, 2015, MBA: October 14, 2015, Mac Mini: March 9, 2016)
ArtOfWarfare is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2012, 02:50 PM   #2
mfram
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: San Diego, CA USA
I bet if you could get code into the kernel you could activate the camera without the LED being on.
mfram is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2012, 03:23 PM   #3
itickings
macrumors 6502a
 
itickings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfram View Post
I bet if you could get code into the kernel you could activate the camera without the LED being on.
You don't happen to be ArtOfWarfare's paranoid friend, do you?

Just make sure to not bet anything you don't want to lose. You put far too much faith in the omnipotence of the kernel.
__________________
Rawr!
itickings is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2012, 07:14 PM   #4
gnasher729
macrumors G5
 
gnasher729's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfram View Post
I bet if you could get code into the kernel you could activate the camera without the LED being on.
I would think there is a direct hardware connection that cannot be circumvented. If I had designed it, even a broken LED would disable the camera.
gnasher729 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2012, 07:43 PM   #5
SlugBlanket
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
I would have thought that if possible then it would have been implemented by one of those "Find My Mac" programs. The ones that take pictures on a regular basis along with location and network data so that you can see who is currently using your Mac.

You could test it by downloading one of those programs. Tell the program that your mac is lost and see if it mails you photos and / or if you notice the green light coming on at all.
SlugBlanket is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 2012, 12:16 AM   #6
jared_kipe
macrumors 68030
 
jared_kipe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Seattle
Send a message via AIM to jared_kipe
The light is probably controlled by the firmware on the camera, I would doubt the kernel can override the behavior.
And it is almost certainly not hardwired 'like Christmas lights' to prevent the camera from working if the led was broken.
jared_kipe is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 2012, 03:47 AM   #7
xStep
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Less lost in L.A.
It takes a lot to make that green light invisible, as witness in these forums; Tutorial: How to Turn Off Green iSight Light on Macbook!.

Apparently there are Linux drivers which also haven't been able to turn off the LED when using the camera.

I do recall hearing that the light is controlled by the camera. Not even the Mac firmware can turn the light off while the camera is in use. I think the external one also had such a light, but you were able to close a manual iris to disable the camera & mic, and of course unplug it.
__________________
My App: CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.
xStep is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 2012, 08:42 AM   #8
knightlie
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Why not just let your friend cover their camera if they're not comfortable with it? It's really no big deal.
knightlie is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 2012, 10:53 AM   #9
chown33
macrumors 603
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
There's always the iPatch (avast, mateys).
chown33 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 2012, 10:57 PM   #10
LNYMRKO
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
This may not be of help, but I would assume there is a way possibe somehow... I have installed Prey (http://preyproject.com/) and tested that out. One of the features of that is to take a photo of the stolen laptop with the built-in camera to identify the theif.. this doesnt turn the indicator light on at all when it takes the photo.
LNYMRKO is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Sep 23, 2013, 06:54 AM   #11
softwater
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Thailand
Quote:
Originally Posted by LNYMRKO View Post
I have installed Prey (http://preyproject.com/) and tested that out. One of the features of that is to take a photo of the stolen laptop with the built-in camera to identify the theif.. this doesnt turn the indicator light on at all when it takes the photo.
Nope, that's not correct. I just tested downloaded and activated prey project to test this out.

In fact, the green light does come on. You may not have notices it because it's only momentary. All its doing is taking a snapshot, not recording video, but it definitely comes on.

That leads me to believe that all the claims the light is hardwired are probably correct, though I'd still like to see some technical proof of this (might be worth checking out iFixit and see if they've got a tear-down).
softwater is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 2015, 12:11 PM   #12
Jetson
macrumors 6502a
 
Jetson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Apple purposely designs the camera so that it may be activated WITHOUT the indicator light being turned on.

This capability has been exploited by the FEDS for years now:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...thout-warning/

I really hate it when people who try and protect themselves from spying are called "paranoid" as though there is something wrong with the person who takes reasonable steps to protect themselves from intruders.

Instead why not call out the hackers and the thieves and the spies for THEIR antisocial behavior? Are you aware that your computer's firewall is protecting you from hundreds of hacking attempts each and every day? Check your firewall logs if you don't believe me. People are continually trying to invade your privacy - this is a FACT. Wake up!
Jetson is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 2015, 04:45 PM   #13
gnasher729
macrumors G5
 
gnasher729's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetson View Post
Apple purposely designs the camera so that it may be activated WITHOUT the indicator light being turned on.

This capability has been exploited by the FEDS for years now:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...thout-warning/

I really hate it when people who try and protect themselves from spying are called "paranoid" as though there is something wrong with the person who takes reasonable steps to protect themselves from intruders.

Instead why not call out the hackers and the thieves and the spies for THEIR antisocial behavior? Are you aware that your computer's firewall is protecting you from hundreds of hacking attempts each and every day? Check your firewall logs if you don't believe me. People are continually trying to invade your privacy - this is a FACT. Wake up!
Here's the problem when you use links to outdated articles and don't read them properly: One, they are outdated, and two, they don't actually say what you think they say.

Here's a quote from the article: According to the researchers, the vulnerability they discovered affects “Apple internal iSight webcams found in earlier-generation Apple products, including the iMac G5 and early Intel-based iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros until roughly 2008.”

No MacBook built in the last six years can turn the camera on without the light going on. And, according to the article you quote, your claim that Apple _intentionally_ designed the camera with the goal that it can be turned on without the light going on is totally, totally wrong.

Last edited by gnasher729; Mar 2, 2015 at 04:55 PM.
gnasher729 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 2, 2015, 10:38 PM   #14
firewood
macrumors 603
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Silicon Valley
This is a question for iFixit. If the LED is wired directly to the camera sensor power connector in copper, then it's a bit hard to imagine the camera could still function in any way with no VCC. If it's not directly wired, then it's all inside the electronics and drivers, which seem to be an Apple trade secret.

Does the tear-down have sufficient detail?
firewood is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Today, 01:13 AM   #15
DennisBlah
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: The Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by firewood View Post
This is a question for iFixit. If the LED is wired directly to the camera sensor power connector in copper, then it's a bit hard to imagine the camera could still function in any way with no VCC. If it's not directly wired, then it's all inside the electronics and drivers, which seem to be an Apple trade secret.

Does the tear-down have sufficient detail?
Older iMacs than the early 2012 have a camera connector of 2 coper fibers. Newer have their camera build-in the screen.

I am positive sure that the statements about the camera being used without the led are false.

Then again, why do you care people putting stickers over the camera? Are you one of them that is making snapshots? ;-) why does it bother you on my site 85% puts a sticker over it. I explained and showed them, but... they still do it, Im fine with it
P.s. Im an IT operator and we only work with mac's
DennisBlah is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Systems and Services > Programming > Mac Programming

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mid-2012 MacBook Pro sleep indicator light is not working RDAR MacBook Pro 7 Sep 3, 2014 10:57 AM
Status/Sleep Indicator light c3rberu5 MacBook Pro 0 Sep 10, 2013 09:45 AM
Magsafe Charge Indicator Light turns off ducatiti MacBook Pro 2 Aug 8, 2013 03:45 AM
No indicator light-whistling sound from Apple Extreme. Tenashus1 Mac Peripherals 2 May 9, 2013 10:07 AM
Video recorded with built-in web-cam out of sync? mortenjensen Digital Video 7 Aug 21, 2012 11:28 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:08 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2015, MacRumors.com, LLC