29/12/2013
Macbook Camera Illegally Accessed Remotely

It's like a scene from the movie, Eagle Eye, but it's not just an Artificial Intelligence trying to save the United States. It's a creep who's watching your every move. If you are not familiar with the movie, basically, the AI or the antagonist in the film can watch all our movements through our digital cameras, security cameras, and phone cameras. It's kind of creepy, right? That's a total invasion of privacy and there's nothing we can do about it. It's already happening today in the real world and I guess it's one of the prices of technology.

In this news, it's the iSight camera on a Macbook Pro. Who would have thought that this is possible? This kind of stuff only happens in the movies. Well, not today. Jared Abraham illegally accessed the iSight camera of a famous woman and secretly recorded videos and saved pictures of her. Don't worry as he was already apprehended as the first perpetrator of a sextortion case in California.

The woman is none other than the famous Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf. It turns out that this is a new kind of hacking scheme which is called “sextortion.” The name was coined by the media covering this breaking news. Basically, the idea of sextortion involves taking videos and pictures in secret through their own camera. They are unaware that the camera is running and the photos and videos saved are hidden in another location. Afterwards, the person is contacted by a third party in order to demand a ransom to keep the pictures and videos hidden. It's really a new era, isn't it? Pervs are creatively finding ways to take advantage of unaware victims.

According the Apple, all their devices' webcams and digital cameras found on Macbooks, iMacs, and the Macbook Pros can't be activated without the user knowing because of the green LED light which serves as an indicator that the camera is running. The green LED light is supposed to light up at all times when a recording is taking place.

As Apple further explained, they specifically designed the cameras this way in order to prevent these kinds of incidents from happening. However, the 19-year old Jared was able to work around this hardware and software design and got access to Cassidy Wolf's iSight camera and was able to take pictures and record videos in the process. In fact, in a period of several months back in 2012, he was continuously taking pictures and recording videos of the Miss Universe contestant.

To avoid this from happening to you, there are two things that you can do. The simplest way would be putting a tape on your camera when you're not using it. A black electrical tape would do the trick. However, can you imagine the hassle of continuously removing and placing back the tape? The second thing you can do, which is the more practical one, is to subscribe to a VPN service provider. A Virtual Private Network can help you connect through the Internet safely. No one can access your computer remotely at any time when you're connected through a VPN. Faceless.me is a great VPN provider for your Mac with useful features to make sure that your Internet session is secure and no one's watching you through your camera.