Help - detecting video cam spyware

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MacFanJeff, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. MacFanJeff macrumors regular

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    IL, USA
    #1
    There was a news story a while back about a private school system that was using Apple notebooks with built-in video cams to spy on. What happened was the Superintendent had software installed that acted like spyware and allow them to control the video cam remotely to turn it on/off without their knowledge.

    So, that got me to thinking about this and I wanted to check some systems of others to verify their school was not trying to do the same thing. Does anyone know how to detect this sort of spyware or software if it is installed on a computer like the Macbooks? It is most likely hidden and won't show up so I was not sure what to do to find it and remove if there.
     
  2. John Doe 57 macrumors 65816

    John Doe 57

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    #2
    I think you would see the green light turn on when the camera was engaged. You could manually hide the camera by putting a piece of tape over it.:cool:
     
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #3
    True. If the camera is on, the light is on. That can't be circumvented by any software.
     
  4. MacFanJeff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Sorry to correct, but yes they can. It was specifically reported the software disables ANY way of knowing if the camera is on/off and they showed it on TV. The led can be controlled in software and they consulted a security expert about it. He stated there are several ways this software works and showed them some examples.

    Also, Steve Gibson on an episode of "Security Now" has talked about spying video cams, microphones, etc. and this sort of software.

    That is why I am wondering how one can check for it and make sure it is not there. Not likely if you don't own a government computer of course, but it is interesting to know about.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #5
    Links to reputable sources for this? Because this says otherwise:

    http://www.tuaw.com/2010/03/08/remote-webcam-activation-now-disabled-in-software-that-led-to-co/
     
  6. MacFanJeff, Jan 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011

    MacFanJeff thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Here is just one link to the story that aired a while back. There are others too if you search.

    http://cnettv.cnet.com/spyware-safety/9742-1_53-50084677.html

    As I said prior, I referred to Steve Gibson, known security expert that is part of the TWIT network. His show is called Security Now.

    If you are referring to that specific Pennsylvania incident then yes, that may be. What I was referring to is how other software of this kind can work. Steve Gibson mentioned how it was possible for such software to disable any flag or notice to the user and how easy it is to disable the on/of led and such without anyone knowing.
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
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    #7
    There is nothing in the video you linked to that said anything about disabling the green light when the camera is on.

    Again, do you have a link to any information supporting that claim? There have been numerous discussions about this and no one has presented any credible evidence that the light can be disabled by software while the webcam is on. Anyone can say "it's possible". Proving it is something else.

    Macbook Pro and iSight makes me paranoid
     

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