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  1. #1
    RonaldMacDonald is offline Registered User
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    How do I know Big Brother isn't watching through my built-in camera?

    I have an iMac running 10.5.8. I assume the built-in camera is that 5mm dot you see at the top center just above the screen. Other than doing something drastic like putting a piece of tape over it, is there a way I can know for sure that it is indeed turned off? I have no desire to use it anyway. Ditto for the mic.

    I don't want to end up like a student at a particular high school in the news not too long ago.

  2. #2
    ElDiabloConCaca's Avatar
    ElDiabloConCaca is offline U.S.D.A. Prime
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    A green light appears beside the camera when it's active.

    There is no way to activate the camera without the green light. Big Brother is not watching you.

    If you're still paranoid, at least go paranoid in style:

    http://www.theipatch.com/

    If you're not in high school, own your computer (rather than having it loaned to you by a company, university, or primary school), and do not work for the government, then no one wants to spy on you anyway. If you can't come up with a good reason why someone would want to spy on you, then no one is spying on you. I can understand taking precautions to ensure that your computer is safe (which it already is, out of the box), but believing that someone wants to watch you through your webcam or record your voice while you're computing is taking it a bit to the extreme.

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    RonaldMacDonald (June 6th, 2010)

  4. #3
    RonaldMacDonald is offline Registered User
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    That's cute. I like the part where it says: "ideal for checking your e-mails in your birthday-suit."

    Do you know if there is a particular port that can be blocked using Little Snitch? But that would be a pain if other applications needed to use the same port.

  5. #4
    Curiosity is offline Registered User
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    Little Snitch is an outbound firewall. The signal that would turn on your webcam would be inbound, I should think. If you set the Mac firewall to block Apple Remote Desktop and Remote Apple Events, would that not stop someone from activating the camera from a remote location?

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    RonaldMacDonald (June 6th, 2010)

  7. #5
    Giaguara's Avatar
    Giaguara is offline Chmod 760
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    Actually, in that not-to-be-named school where they used the "remote monitoring software" (I didn't say spying..), in that particular software there is not always an indication of the camera activity on the clients.

    "you're controlling someone's machine, you don't want them to know what you're doing"
    -Mike Perbix
    - and lots more details on that software (and how to protect against it) in here.

    And the story with LanRev software "joys" didn't stop back then. This was discovered recently, "the attack can actually be conducted from anywhere on the internet to target any machine that has LANrev installed." doesn't sound good indeed.

    So make sure there's nothing with LanRev installed.. if it's your admin user, you should be good.
    All active and unactive processes can be seen, either in Activity Monitor, or in Terminal (top or top -u) so if there was anything odd listening it would show the process.
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  8. #6
    RonaldMacDonald is offline Registered User
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    In Sharing, I have all services unchecked. So I am protected?

    Giaguara, what should I be looking for in Activity Monitor?

  9. #7
    scott_billings is offline Registered User
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    Let's just put it this way... Why would someone go to all the effort of trying to break into your machine, just to spy on you using your laptop's webcam, when there's literally hundreds, if not thousands, or even tens of thousands, of porn sites out there which you can get to with a simple Google search? Who wants to have to work for their porn? Nothing personal, but odds are you're not that interesting.

    So unless you've been in the wrong kind of chat rooms running your mouth off, or have an ex that is as technically competent as they are mentally unstable, I very much doubt anyone gives a gerbil's arse about what you're up to at your computer. And even if there were someone who gets off on activating random people's laptop webcams, there are again tens of thousands, if not millions, of people on the Internet with webcams on their systems. The odds of them selecting yours is just this side of zero.

    Just because there were a few perverts working for a school system in PA doesn't mean that just anyone can, or even wants to, activate your webcam to see what you're doing. The PA Perverts were using special software to make this possible, and so like said above, if you own your laptop and it wasn't supplied by a school, employer, or government agency, you should be fine. In the event it was supplied by one of those groups, circumventing the webcam may actually constitute a breach of contract, and be grounds for disciplinary actions up to termination.

    You can complain all you want about how it's a violation of your privacy, and I'll not only agree with you, I'll raise you the fact that it's demoralizing, and the benefits don't even come close to approaching the drawbacks. Maybe you catch a few people playing solitaire or checking facebook during work hours. Is that really worth the hit to productivity caused by people who resent being spied on? I'd say no, but in most countries, the legal system has said it's within the employer's rights to do so.

    Moral of the story here is though, that you're being paranoid. With all the free flowing porn out there, no one cares about hacking into your webcam unless you give them a reason to take an interest in you. Just let it go.

  10. #8
    Mikuro's Avatar
    Mikuro is offline Crotchety UI Nitpicker
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    I guess you guys have never heard of The Lulz. People do a lot for them, I'm told.

    Seriously, "nobody gives a damn about me" is not a good personal security policy.
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