Was reading some topics online about hackers accessing user's webcams (on Windows) to spy on them etc, and I am now interested to know if I'm at any risk.

To make it simple, these are my questions :

  • Can Safari allow websites to activate the webcam without my permission ?
  • Can the webcam be activated without the LED being lit ?
  • Are there any known trojans that affect macs and leave them vulnerable for such hacks ?


  • 2
    I don't think that this would be possible. Here is also a very recent question similiar to yours from the ifixit.com forums. Regarding your questions: I tend to say no to them all. – napcae Nov 7 '13 at 16:47
  • I was going to post the same link on iFixit that has several good answers. – M K Nov 7 '13 at 16:50

This research paper reported by the Washington Post and Ars Technica says yes.

Though it was only tested on "old" Macs (Late PPC, early Intel)

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Can Safari allow websites to activate the webcam without my permission ?

Don't worry about Safari enabling your webcam. The browser would have to use something like flash/plugin to request access. You would be more susceptible to rogue installed apps for accessing the webcam.

I believe Apple's own find my device can take photos of the user (if it is stolen). I recall seeing news about people taking photos of their thieves and reporting it to police.

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Any software that so chooses may ask you to initiate a FaceTime session. It cannot start one without your say-so.

The FaceTime cameras (like yours) cannot be active without the LCD on.

There aren't really any hacks that matter.

There are a number of really lame, goofy hacks in some web plugins (Flash), that could be used to access a Flash player that displays your camera's stream, for example, but you'd have to have the camera on, or accept a FaceTime session, or whatever.

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  • This is the corporate political answer, isn't it? Or am I totally wrong and this is the result of an analysis of the set of library interfaces to turn the camera on and to turn the green LED on? Please clarify. – dan Nov 24 '13 at 16:04

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