Monday, September 23, 2019

Share This

The threat of unwanted access to your webcam raises sufficient concern to arrange for precaution. Apple’s security measures force any program launching from its computers' CPU to automatically trigger the webcam LED light if it needs camera access.

The research paper revealed, however, that the chip inside the MacBook camera, called the micro-controller, could be reprogrammed to prevent the LED light from turning on – which is how hackers can secretly see what you’re doing.

That study was published in 2013 and looked at MacBook and iMac models predating 2008, so you might be thinking that your Mac is safe from such intrusions, but as recently as June 2019 the threat of Mac web cams being hacked into caught the headlines.

This latest threat came after a security issue with Zoom, and its partnering videoconferencing apps was highlighted.

The Zoom security flaw meant it was possible for users to be added to video calls without their permission - including activating their Mac’s webcams without permission.

The vulnerability related to the local web server for the video conferencing service. Zoom patched the flaw, but not until after the 90-day deadline had passed for it to react to the vulnerability that had been highlighted to it back in February 2019.

According to Zoom the vulnerability was theoretical, in other words no web cams had been hacked, but it is concerning that the company didn't react when it was first told about the vulnerability, waiting instead for it to be disclosed to the public by the person that discovered it.

So, what can you do to make sure that your webcam can't be hacked into?

One option to prevent snoopers from accessing your camera is installing security software which notify you if your webcam is being accessed by unauthorised sources.

Bitdefender Total Security 2019, which is available for £34.99 (reduced from £69.99) and can protect up to five devices (including mobile).

Kaspersky is another security software, available both in the UK, that offers webcam protection. It starts at £49.99 for the Personal version, which covers 3 or 5 devices, though you can opt for the Family version that covers twenty devices for a higher price. Kaspersky sits fifth place in our round up of the best security software, and you can read its whole review here.

OverSight - Free webcam and microphone blocker

Oversight is another software you could install to block access to your MacBook webcam but is available for free. Similar to Parallels Toolbox, Oversight offers alerts when your Mac's camera or microphone is being accessed. Again, it is free to download and install.

OverSight's website goes through the installation process step by step, which you can access here. Once installed, it runs every time you log into your MacBook. You can access the software's setting by clicking on the umbrella icon in your Mac Menu Bar.

OverSight Preferences

Each time your camera or mic is accessed, you should see the following notifications (the following images from OverSight's website and use popular video/audio apps Facetime and Shazam as examples).

OverSight iSight camera access

 

OverSight microphone access

You can choose to add trusted programs to a whitelist, which you can access in full through OverSight's preferences via the Menu Bar. Install OverSight for free here.

 

Webcam Covers

Though slapping on a bit of tape onto your webcam is the most cost-effective way of preventing others from accessing your camera, if you want to avoid sticky tape residue on the lens, you could also go for a webcam cover. There are tonnes to choose from on Amazon and you can often buy them in packs of three or more.

Geargo MacBook webcam cover

For example, Geargo's ultra-thin covers (pictured above) come in threes and stick right onto the webcam area of your MacBook (though you can stick it onto other devices too). When you want to block access, simply slide the cover over the camera. While the cover mounts onto the laptop with an adhesive backing, the sticky side does not come in contact with the webcam lens.

Get Geargo's webcam cover for £5.99 on Amazon.

Opinion: You can't be too careful.

Popular Articles

Aug.29

Tech News UK

How to watch BBC iPlayer on iPhone, iPad or Mac while abroad

Want to watch BBC iPlayer abroad? If you're on holiday outside the UK you'll run into trouble accessing the BBC's online streaming service, but here we show you how to...

Aug.31

Tech News UK

Google state: Hackers have put monitoring implants in iPhones for years

An unprecedented iPhone hacking operation, which attacked “thousands of users a week” until it was disrupted in January, has been revealed by researchers at Google’s external security team.

Aug.30

Football

Cristiano Ronaldo Says He'd Like to Have Dinner With Lionel Messi in Joint Interview

​Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he would like to one day sit down and have dinner with great on-field rival Lionel Messi, with the pair appearing to be very...

Aug.29

Tech Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus UK Review: It's Bigger and better

The regular Galaxy Note 10 may be little more than a warm-up act,  but the Note 10 Plus is where you’ll find all the extra goodies. Just don’t come crying...

Sep.01

Football

Chelsea Plans to Discuss Racist Abuse With Social Media Sites

​Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has revealed that the Blues are planning to have talks with social media companies to tackle and crackdown on racist abuse, with Kurt Zouma targeted this...

Sep.05

Tech Reviews

Top 10 Top Budget Android Camera Phones For Photography Under £300

If you're looking for a budget smartphone with good camera performance, then see our highly recommended choices below.

Aug.24

Football

Liverpool Boss Jurgen Klopp Talks About Expectations to Fringe Players

​Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expects fringe players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Adam Lallana to take their opportunities when they are called upon.

Sep.03

Tech News UK

Kings Cross Facial Recognition Cameras Thankfully Shut Down

The private firm that developed and managed the 67-acre King’s Cross area, has confirmed that it is no longer using facial recognition cameras, we are glad to say.

Sep.12

Tech News UK

5G now live at Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport 5G has gone live at the airport’s South Terminal after Vodafone completed the installation of hundreds of kilometres of fibre.

Aug.31

Tech News UK

Twitter CEO Account Hacked, Offensive Content

Twitter themselves said on Friday the account of chief executive Jack Dorsey had been "compromised" after a series of erratic and offensive messages were posted.

Aug.29

Football

Number 7s At Man United Hardly Score Any Premier League Goals Since Ronaldo

​Manchester United are about to bid farewell, temporarily at least, to a fifth number seven in ten years when Alexis Sanchez joins Inter on a season-long loan before 2nd September.

Aug.31

Automotive

The new Land Rover Defender pic, well just the grille

With the reveal of the new Land Rover Defender imminent, Land Rover are still teasing, despite the new Defender already seen undisguised.

Aug.31

Automotive

10th ever Jaguar E-Type 4.2 found in Gloucestershire

The 10th ever Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2 Coupe has been brought back to better than new after languishing for three decades in a field in Gloucestershire.

Aug.28

Automotive

New BMW X6 Vantablack revealed at Frankfurt show

The new BMW X6 will be at the Frankfurt Motor Show resplendent in a ‘Vantablack’ paintwork, BMW announces on the day the Mercedes GLE Coupe is revealed.

Aug.31

Football

Champions League Grading the Difficulty For Each Premier Leagues First Match

​The draw for the 2019/20 Champions League group stages was made on Thursday, with some of Europe's best sides set to face off in the pools.

Popular

Tech Reviews

Top 10 Top Budget Android Camera Phones For Photography Under £300

If you're looking for a budget smartphone with good camera performance, then see our highly recommended choices below.

By Peter Flynn - Sep.05

Football

Real Madrid Send Club Official to Paris for Neymar Talks

​Real Madrid have suddenly emerged as major suitors for unsettled Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar, with reports from Spain claiming that an emissary from the club has travelled to the French...

By Colin Carruthers - Aug.22

Tech Reviews

Dragon Touch Vision 3 Pro waterproof action camera for just £50

The Dragon Touch Vision 3 Pro is a new waterproof action camera that shoots 4K video with 4x zoom at 30fps and will also capture 16MP photos all for under...

By Connor Stevens - Aug.19

Automotive

The new Land Rover Defender pic, well just the grille

With the reveal of the new Land Rover Defender imminent, Land Rover are still teasing, despite the new Defender already seen undisguised.

By Peter Flynn - Aug.31

Log in or Sign up