Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning

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Attacks that exploit microcontrollers are becoming more common. “People are starting to think about what happens when you can reprogram each of those,” Miller says. For example, he demonstrated an attack last year on the software that controls Apple batteries, which causes the battery to discharge rapidly, potentially leading to a fire or explosion. Another researcher was able to convert the built-in Apple keyboard into spyware using a similar method.

According to the researchers, the vulnerability they discovered affects “Apple internal iSight webcams found in earlier-generation Apple products, including the iMac G5 and early Intel-based iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros until roughly 2008.” While the attack outlined in the paper is limited to these devices, researchers like Charlie Miller suggest that the attack could be applicable to newer systems as well.

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