Do we have to worry about being monitored via the webcam on our MBP?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hajime, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. hajime macrumors 68030

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    #1
    Hello, I have seen two persons covering the webcam of their MBP. I recall that in the past somebody could access the webcam and use it to monitor the user. Do we have to worry about this? I suppose that if the green LED next to the webcam is not on, then it is not used by anybody. Am I right?
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    #2
    That's correct. The webcam is hard wired to show the green light as soon as it's activated. You can't have one without the other. :)
     
  3. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #3
    So, the bad guy won't be able to turn on our webcam while deactivating the LED?
     
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    #4
    Correct! There's absolutely no way that's possible. The bad guy, good guy, sentient Triffid-like plant on the other end; whoever it is, the webcam simply can't be activated without that LED coming on. It's built into the hardware. :)
     
  5. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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  6. hobowankenobi, Jan 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502

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    #6
    While this subject is open....

    Does anybody know of an any real, active, in-the-wild threat to remotely control a webcam on a Mac? Obviously root admin control would do it, but at that point we talking complete control, so web cam is not the most important thing.

    I am curious if there ever were/are any actual drive-by downloads, back doors, or other types of infection/intrusion that could give remote access to a Mac cam...without cracking admin credentials?
     
  7. Apple 26.2 Contributor

    Apple 26.2

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    #7
    If that's a concern for you, use a bandage or something similar to cover it.
     
  8. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502

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    #8
    It's not a concern...see the answer above regarding the web cam light. My question is......why do people think someone has control of their Mac web cam? Is this concern based on any real, active threats?

    My hunch is that the (very real) threat of a remote controlling a Win box (well before Win 7) and thus taking control of everything (including a camera) was a legit fear for those users....who then ran around yelling the sky is falling......not knowing or caring that it is/was in fact an OS specific threat. They tell everyone they know....and 5 years later, we see Mac users putting tape over their camera.

    So my question stands: Why are Mac users nervous? Is there any evidence of a real threat to patched, up-to-date Mac?
     
  9. Zazoh macrumors 6502a

    Zazoh

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    #10
  10. sunapple macrumors 65816

    sunapple

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    #11
    Actually, the article confirms the possibility, but chances are quite small it'll actually happen.

     
  11. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

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    #12
    Yep, safe to visit porn sites. Nobody's watching you. Until you get caught :oops:

    Waiting for the websites to pop up, caught (watching porn) on cam. :cool:

    Most likely the most anyone needs to worry about is their wife's "nanny cam".
     
  12. hajime thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #13
    I recall seeing a girl watching porn in the library. The university installed some kind of software and the message of No Porn on university's computer showed up with an alarm. That female student looked very funny.
     
  13. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #14
    It's mostly people who lack a basic understanding of computers and computer security.

    Can it happen? Sure, it can happen. Will it happen? The chances are highly remote.

    It's just like people who are worried or convinced their computers are going to be hacked. Unless you are rich, have access to sensitive data (corporate passwords, financial info for rich people/corporations, classified data) or a celebrity with nude selfies. You just aren't worth the effort. Because they could expend the same effort to get valuable data from those people.
     
  14. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502

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    #15
  15. bingeciren macrumors 6502a

    bingeciren

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    #16
    You must have watched the movie Snowden I gather.;)
     
  16. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #17
    If you are that paranoid then use the shareware Little Snitch and let your eyes be opened how so many programs are calling home or worse!
     
  17. BiteMe! macrumors newbie

    BiteMe!

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  18. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #19
    While it is theoretically possible it is mostly people being paranoid and trying to inflate their own importance to believe someone would want to watch them through their webcam.
     
  19. zarathu macrumors regular

    zarathu

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    #20
    I remember seeing something on TV a few years ago about school computers that kids took home. Some pervert who had access to the computers put software on the machines and opened file sharing so that he could remotely view the students in their homes. Apparently it wasn't hard since there was already software on the machine to do that so that if it was stolen, so it could be located. This might be where the urban legend got started. So the first thing to worry about is whether you are actually worth being looked at. At my age of 67, I doubt there is anyone out there who would actually want to be looking at me on my computer screen.
     
  20. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

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    #21
    Good points.

    Of course, there is a niche market for that too. Strangely.
     

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