Wolf claims the camera light never turned on, and the FBI says the suspect, a man named Jared Abrahams, was using software to peep Wolf’s as well as somewhere in the vicinity 150 additional computer webcams.
(Abrahams has since pleaded guilty to charges of extortion.) Ars has an interesting overview of how Abrahams did what he did from a networking standpoint, though it’s unclear whether he managed to disable Wolf’s webcam indicator (or that Wolf just didn’t notice it was on).
Legal Disclaimer: has a zero-tolerance policy against illegal pornography.Sure, you can slap a piece of black electrical tape over your camera’s lens, but that’s a crude, unsightly, potentially residue-leaving workaround that isn’t a workaround, since it doesn’t disable your computer’s microphone (and even if your laptop has coverable mic holes, does tape completely block the sound, or merely muffle it? I have no idea what the long-term, hack-proof viability of an app like i Sight Defender is, but given the gravity of these revelations and the design-based inseparability of embedded webcams from laptops, we deserve some sort of flip-the-circuit-breaker guarantee — that when we want to disable our devices’ embedded lenses and microphones, they’re really off, and that it’d take some violation of space-time law to turn them back on without our blessing.Maybe it’ll have to be an old-fashioned hardware toggle, crude as that sounds, which physically decouples the camera and microphone and physically firewalls it somehow.Authors Matthew Brocker and Stephen Checkoway, who wrote the paper titled “i See You: Disabling the Mac Book Webcam Indicator LED” note they were able to accomplish this “entirely in user space” (meaning, in essence, without administrative privileges).They did so Captain Kirk Kobayashi Maru-style: by changing the underlying rules and reprogramming the firmware.