Ashkan Soltani and Timothy B. Lee report:
The woman was shocked when she received two nude photos of herself by e-mail. The photos had been taken over a period of several months — without her knowledge — by the built-in camera on her laptop.
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 says she never saw the light on her laptop go on. As a result, she had no idea she was under surveillance.
That wasn’t supposed to be possible. While controlling a camera remotely has long been a source of concern to privacy advocates, conventional wisdom said there was at least no way to deactivate the warning light. New evidence indicates otherwise.
Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years.
Now research from Johns Hopkins University provides the first public confirmation that it’s possible to do just that, and demonstrates how. While the research focused on MacBook and iMac models released before 2008, the authors say similar techniques could work on more recent computers from a wide variety of vendors.
Read more on Washington Post.
Thanks to Joe Cadillic for this link.