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Ars readers react to the light on their webcams

Dec 21, 2013 by     No Comments    Placed under: News, Technology Trends
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rat fake webcam Ars readers react to the light on their webcams

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Most Ars readers are well aware of the issues that encompass Remote Administration Tools (RATs), which hackers often furtively plant on their targets’ computers to gather all sorts of information about them. One notorious use of RAT technology is to turn on the webcam on the victim’s computer while disabling the webcam light, so the victim has no idea that they are being watched. Recently, Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf was a victim of just such a scheme, and the perpetrator tried to blackmail her using the photos he gathered.

Generally, tech-savvy people have advised the less-tech-savvy to either place a piece of tape over their webcam lenses when not in use, or to seek a computer in which the on-off LED is hardwired to light up when the camera is active. But a recent study shows that, in fact, many laptops with hardwired LEDs actually have a layer of software that can be manipulated to turn the light off while the camera is on. Peter Bright brought us the whole story in his article Perv Utopia: Light on MacBook webcams can be bypassed.

To the advice that “you should ignore the technology and simply tape” over your webcam, RockDaMan wrote “Next they’ll develop an algorithm to decode the light that does pass through the tape and form it into a coherent image.” tigas, another member of the Gaffer tape cult, wrote “Gaffer tape solves that everything!”

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Written by Grapper

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