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)


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.


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.

  • 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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