Ex-official: FBI can secretly activate an individual’s webcam without indicator light

“The most powerful FBI surveillance software can covertly download files, photographs and stored e-mails, or even gather real-time images by activating cameras connected to computers, say court documents and people familiar with this technology,” Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima report for The Washington Post.

“Online surveillance pushes the boundaries of the constitution’s limits on searches and seizures by gathering a broad range of information, some of it without direct connection to any crime. Critics compare it to a physical search in which the entire contents of a home are seized, not just those items suspected to offer evidence of a particular offense,” Timberg and Nakashima report. “A federal magistrate in Denver approved sending surveillance software to [suspect’s] computer last year. [The suspect had made a series of bomb threats across the United States.] Not all such requests are welcomed by the courts: An FBI plan to send surveillance software to a suspect in a different case — one that involved activating a suspect’s built-in computer camera — was rejected by a federal magistrate in Houston, who ruled that it was “extremely intrusive” and could violate the Fourth Amendment.”

“The FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years, and has used that technique mainly in terrorism cases or the most serious criminal investigations, said Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, now on the advisory board of Subsentio, a firm that helps telecommunications carriers comply with federal wiretap statutes,” Timberg and Nakashima report. “The ability to remotely activate video feeds was among the issues cited in a case in Houston, where federal magistrate Judge Stephen W. Smith rejected a search warrant request from the FBI in April. In that case, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Smith ruled that the use of such technology in a bank fraud case was ‘extremely intrusive’ and ran the risk of accidentally capturing information of people not under suspicion of any crime. Smith also said that a magistrate’s court based in Texas lacked jurisdiction to approve a search of a computer whose location was unknown. He wrote that such surveillance software may violate the Fourth Amendment’s limits on unwarranted searches and seizures.”

Tons more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Sextortion warning: It’s masking tape time for webcams – June 28, 2013
Cyber gangs catch Internet porn watchers ‘in their underwear,’ demand ransoms – August 20, 2013
Lower Merion report: MacBook webcams snapped 56,000 clandestine images of high schoolers – April 20, 2010


    1. Sentence: Duct tape won’t stop the FBI from recording everything else happening on your computer, if they already installed enough spyware to discretely record from the webcam.

        1. You pissed off someone who works for the FBI on here, and they have been watching you and your disgusting pron habits for quite awhile now. Blackmail through an offshore intermediary will be arriving shorty.

          OR use your imagination. OopS! You stated some intelligent political remarks and happen to live in a highly contested voting district. no worries- you are now compromised by a database query highlighting your undesirable habits, your hypocrisies, etc.

          If you don’t think endless perpetual information on people from birth won’t be abused at some point you need to understand human nature and take a look at a history book.

    2. Just so you know, there is a REAL product out there designed for covering your webcam(s). It is a removable, re-usable sticker that is designed to stick to your webcam lens, then un-stick leaving behind no residue. I have the Covert Pack for my new Amazon Kindle…

      For only $5, you can get 12 webcam covers that will fit your laptop, cell phone, ipad, kindle, Xbox One, Smart TV and more! Sure beats a piece of folded paper, electrical tape, or a post-it, haha

      Take a look at http://www.camjamr.com


      1. This is clearly about political power and economic espionage, and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit.

        HEIL King Obongo the mass murdering lying stool sample

    3. “The FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years…”

      To the best of my knowledge, this is not possible with Apple Macs. Unless the design has changed, Apple hard wired the LED indicator light into the power circuit for the camera. If the camera is powered, then the light is on. I am not sure about iOS products, though.

    1. By Mick Krever, CNN

      Spying by America’s National Security Agency does not have “anything to do with terrorism,” Glenn Greenwald, the activist journalist who broke the story, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

      “Is Angela Merkel a terrorist? Are sixty or seventy million Spanish or French citizens terrorists? Are there terrorists at Petrobras?” he asked rhetorically. “This is clearly about political power and economic espionage, and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit.”

      The latest revelations of American spying involve the alleged taping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal mobile phone and that the U.S. gathered data about 60 million Spanish phone calls in a single month, which comes after similar reports from France.

      Greenwald, formerly of The Guardian, has been systematically publishing reports of secret American intelligence gathering since he was given a treasure trove of leaks by former intelligence officer Edward Snowden.

      “It is not true that every country intercepts the personal communications of their democratically elected allies,” Greenwald told Amanpour, referring to the oft-repeated criticism put forward by true believers that “everyone does it.”

      “And it’s definitely not the case that every country mass, bulk collects the communications of millions of innocent people in virtually every country in the world.”

      “It’s something that the world didn’t know, and now they do know, and that’s the reason why U.S. officials are so angry,” he said. “Not because it damaged national security but because it damages their reputation and credibility around the world.”

      Greenwald also rebuffed the criticism that he is recklessly putting people’s lives in danger by revealing America’s spying tactics.

      He said that Snowden had asked him to be “very scrutinizing and judicious,” and that he had only made public about 200 or 250 documents out of a total of “many, many, many thousands.”

      “Ever since 9/11, British and American officials have screamed terrorism over and over and over every time they get caught doing bad things they shouldn’t do,” Greenwald said. “Every terrorist who’s capable of tying their own shoes has long known that the U.S. government and the U.K. government are trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can.”

      “What we revealed is that the spying system is largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world.”

      Greenwald announced earlier this month that he was leaving The Guardian newspaper to join a new online journalism venture founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

      “As a journalist, my question is not ‘How can I best help the U.S. government,” he told Amanpour. “My question is, ‘How do I best inform people around the world of the things they should know.’”

      Far too many journalists, he said, are willing to leave their reporting at “’American officials told me yesterday.’”

      “There’s no effort to investigate those claims or to find alternative voices,” he said.

      The new outfit’s goal, he said, would aim to find “truly independent journalists, who don’t want to be invited to Washington cocktail parties.”


    2. While you maybe secure in the midst of the crowd, don’t tread to the fringes, for it’s there you will be picked off. The technology today doesn’t need operators nor any “reason” to monitor your behavior, it’s squirrels away zettabytes of data for who knows what reason.
      Wanting privacy and anonymity should not be a crime nor reason to be suspect.
      Maybe it’s that you never knew you had freedom?

    3. The point is not whether you are important or unimportant: the point is that it is illegal for the government to do what it’s doing. Our law is based on a presumption of innocence and the right to privacy. To say that putting tape on your webcam implies that one is a terrorist is to deny that right to privacy (or the right to do what is necessary to maintain that privacy).

      Perhaps you’d feel more at home in a totalitarian country, where the government can break down your door and take you away based on something it couldn’t see in your home because of that pesky tape on your webcam. If you love this country, which I’m sure you claim you do, then perhaps you should learn the laws on which it was founded, and which still (for the moment) govern it.

    4. Or how about this one? If you cannot see how insidious this is, you must be a spook-shill…

      Real-life spies infiltrated World of Warcraft and Second Life to gather intelligence on gamers

      By James Ball, The Guardian
      Monday, December 9, 2013 8:07 EST

      To the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear: their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. The agency’s impressive arsenal of cable taps and sophisticated hacking attacks was not enough. What it really needed was a horde of undercover Orcs.

      That vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA and its UK sister agency GCHQ to infiltrate the massive communities playing online games, according to secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The files were obtained by the Guardian and are being published on Monday in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica.

      The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which boasts more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games’ tech-friendly users.

      Online gaming is big business, attracting tens of millions of users world wide who inhabit their digital worlds as make-believe characters, living and competing with the avatars of other players. What the intelligence agencies feared, however, was that among these clans of innocent elves and goblins, terrorists were lurking.

      The NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments, stressed the risk of leaving games communities under-monitored, describing them as a “target-rich communications network” where intelligence targets could “hide in plain sight”.

      Games, the analyst wrote “are an opportunity!”. According to the briefing notes, so many different US intelligence agents were conducting operations inside games that a “deconfliction” group was required to ensure they weren’t spying on, or interfering with, each other.

      If properly exploited, games could produce vast amounts of intelligence, according to the the NSA document. They could be used as a window for hacking attacks, to build pictures of people’s social networks through “buddylists and interaction”, to make approaches by undercover agents, and to obtain target identifiers (such as profile photos), geolocation, and collection of communications.

      The ability to extract communications from talk channels in games would be necessary, the NSA paper argued, because of the potential for them to be used to communicate anonymously: Second Life was enabling anonymous texts and planning to introduce voice calls, while game noticeboards could, it states, be used to share information on the web addresses of terrorism forums.

      Given that gaming consoles often include voice headsets, video cameras, and other identifiers, the potential for joining together biometric information with activities was also an exciting one.

      But the documents contain no indication that the surveillance ever foiled any terrorism plots, nor is there any clear evidence that terror groups were using the virtual communities to communicate as the intelligence agencies confidently predicted.

      The operations raise concerns about the privacy of gamers. It is unclear how the agencies accessed their data, or how many communications were collected. Nor is it clear how the NSA ensured that it was not monitoring innocent Americans whose identity and nationality may have been concealed behind their virtual avatar.

      The California-based producer of World of Warcraft said neither the NSA nor GCHQ had sought its permission to gather intelligence inside the game. “We are unaware of any surveillance taking place,” said a spokesman for Blizzard Entertainment. “If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission.”

      Microsoft declined to comment on the latest revelations, as did Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life and former CEO of Linden Lab, the game’s operator. The company’s executives did not respond to requests for comment.

      The NSA declined to comment on the surveillance of games. A spokesman for GCHQ said the agency did not “confirm or deny” the revelations but added: “All GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that its activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Intelligence and Security Committee.”

      Though the spy agencies might have been relatively late to virtual worlds and the communities forming there, once the idea had been mooted, they joined in enthusiastically.

      In May 2007, the then-chief operating officer of Second Life gave a “brown bag lunch” address at the NSA explaining how his game gave the government “the opportunity to understand the motivation, context and consequent behaviours of non-Americans through observation, without leaving US soil”.

      One problem the paper’s unnamed author and others in the agency faced in making their case – and avoiding suspicion their goal was merely trying to play computer games at work without getting fired – was the difficulty of proving terrorists were even thinking about using games to communicate.

      A 2007 invitation to a secret internal briefing noted “terrorists use online games – but perhaps not for their amusement. They are suspected of using them to communicate secretly and to transfer funds.” But the agencies had yet to find any evidence to support their suspicions.

      The same still seemed to hold true a year later, albeit with a measure of progress: games data that had been found in connection with IPs, email addresses and similar information linked to terrorist groups.

      “Al-Qaida terrorist target selectors and … have been found associated with XboxLive, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other GVEs [Games and Virtual Environments],” the document notes. “Other targets include Chinese hackers, an Iranian nuclear scientist, Hizballah, and Hamas members.”

      However, that information wasn not enough to show terrorists are hiding out as pixels to discuss their next plot. Such data could merely mean someone else in an internet café was gaming, or a shared computer had previously been used to play games.

      That lack of knowledge of whether terrorists were actually plotting online emerges in the document’s recommendations: “The amount of GVEs in the world is growing but the specific ones that CT [counter-terrorism] needs to be methodically discovered and validated,” it stated. “Only then can we find evidence that GVEs are being used for operational uses.”

      Not actually knowing whether terrorists were playing games was not enough to keep the intelligence agencies out of them, however. According to the document, GCHQ – the UK’s equivalent to the NSA – already had a “vigorous effort” to exploit games, including “exploitation modules” against Xbox Live and World of Warcraft.

      That NSA effort, based in the agency’s New Mission Development Centre in the Menwith Hill UK air force base in North Yorkshire, was already paying dividends by May 2008.

      At the request of GCHQ, the NSA had begun a deliberate effort to extract World of Warcraft metadata from their troves of intelligence, and trying to link “accounts, characters and guilds” to Islamic extremism and arms dealing efforts. A later memo noted that among the game’s active subscribers were “telecom engineers, embassy drivers, scientists, the military and other intelligence agencies”.

      The UK agency did not stop at World of Warcraft, though: by September a memo noted GCHQ had “successfully been able to get the discussions between different game players on Xbox Live”.

      Meanwhile, the FBI, CIA, and the Defense Humint Service were all running human intelligence operations – undercover agents – within the virtual world of Second Life. In fact, so crowded were the virtual worlds with staff from the different agencies, that there was a need to try to “deconflict” their efforts – or, in other words, to make sure each agency wasn’t just duplicating what the others were doing.

      By the end of 2008, such human intelligence efforts had produced at least one usable piece of intelligence, according to the documents: following the successful takedown of a website used to trade stolen credit card details, the fraudsters moved to Second Life – and GCHQ followed, having gained their first “operational deployment” into the virtual world. This, they noted, put them in touch with an “avatar [game character] who helpfully volunteered information on the target group’s latest activities”.

      Second Life continued to occupy the intelligence agencies’ thoughts throughout 2009. One memo noted the game’s economy was “essentially unregulated” and so “will almost certainly be used as a venue for terrorist laundering and will, with certainty, be used for terrorist propaganda and recruitment”.

      In reality, Second Life’s surreal and uneven virtual world failed to attract or maintain the promised mass-audience, and attention (and its userbase) waned, though the game lives on.

      The agencies had other concerns about games, beyond their potential use by terrorists to communicate. Much like the pressure groups that worry about the effect of computer games on the minds of children, the NSA expressed concerns that games could be used to “reinforce prejudices and cultural stereotypes”, noting that Hezbollah had produced a game called Special Forces 2.

      According to the document, Hezbollah’s “press section acknowledges [the game] is used for recruitment and training”, serving as a “radicalising medium” with the ultimate goal of becoming a “suicide martyr”. Despite the game’s disturbing connotations, the “fun factor” of the game cannot be discounted, it states. As Special Forces 2 retails for $10, it concludes, the game also serves to “fund terrorist operations”.

      Hezbollah is not, however, the only organizsation to have considered using games for recruiting. As the NSA document acknowledges: they got the idea from the US Aarmy.

      “America’s Army is a US army-produced game that is free [to] download from its recruitment page,” says the NSA, noting the game is “acknowledged to be so good at this the army no longer needs to use it for recruitment, they use it for training”.


  1. It’s OK if Obama can spy on us and use the IRS to destroy political opponents and use drones to kill people with no oversight because he is a nice guy. Whereas Bush was attacked to be watching the books people checked out of libraries, though he never did that.

    1. In case it escaped your attention many on the left have criticized his defense of abuses by the NSA and IRS.

      Where are/were those on the right who criticized Bush for his transgressions? I see a lot of “I voted for Obama, but what he’s doing is wrong”, almost never any “I voted for Bush, but what he did was wrong.” In fact someone on this very board called Bush Jr a RINO not long ago, meaning he wasn’t extreme *enough*.

      1. In case it escaped your attention Bush never did assassinations with drones on his sole command, he did not use the IRS to attack political opponents, he did not say he wanted to build a domestic federal army to control the people, and he did not have the NSA spy on Americans with no reasonable cause as Obama is doing.

        Please name those on the Left who are actually doing anything to stop Obama and his spying and war on the American people. Specify what they are doing to stop the guy in their party who is shredding the Constitution.

          1. Your party candidate was endorsed by the Daily Worker, the press organ of the Communist Party. I am pretty sure a centrist party does not use the IRS to attack political opponents. I am pretty sure a centrist party does not pass a 2500 page bill that nobody read putting the entire health care system under state control. Without a single vote from the other party. I don’t think a centrist party puts an innocent man in jail, blaming a video he posted, in order to support the President’s lie about why an Embassy was attacked and four Americans killed while he did nothing. I don’t think a centrist party makes its main accomplishment based on a 100% lie – if you like your health plan and doctor, you can keep them, and you will even save $2500 per year. Pure lie – from your centrist party. If a private CEO did that, he would be in jail. Just where Obama, Reid, and Pelosi should be for the massive fraud they have done.

            1. How many pages was the Patriot Act?

              DO you realize how many Americans died and how many of our installations were attacked on Bush’s watch: here is a hint, more than the current corporate stooge.

          2. Obama is as extreme left as they come. The only thing centrist about him is how he is deceptively portrayed. He came up the ranks as a friend to Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers. As his father was not around, he was practically raised by Communist poet Frank Marshall Davis. He was trained by groups founded by the late socialist Saul Alinsky and later taught Alinsky’s tactics as a college lecturer. As a senator, Obama compiled the most partisan ultra-liberal voting record among 100 senators of either party — even to the left of self-described socialist Bernie Sanders.

        1. Some people just need to hate, clearly you are one of them.

          Stop rooting for your “team” asshole, the NSA didn’t start on Obama’s watch, they were busy recording your phone calls long before BO. As a matter of fact, it was the piece of trash rushed through after 911 known as the PATRIOT ACT that really opened doors for all sorts of nasty business. (And federal spending, how conservative)

          I also seem to recall torture & indefinite detention (IE Kidnapping) on Bush’s watch. You really think they weren’t taking out whomever they wanted to?

          If you cannot see that this is not a R or a D issue (two sides of the same corporate coin anyway) you are a delusional fool.

          America has been fleeced, it is no longer beholden to the people. The sooner you stop hating half of America and unite with them to take this land back, the better.

          1. I am rooting for my country. Obama and the left hate America as founded. You are the haters. You are destroying America and the Constitution. But, for the record, I do hate Marxists.

        2. And I see you continue the fine tradition of not finding conceding a single fault in Obama’s predecessor.

          “Name those on the left who… blah blah blah” I will do no such thing. By saying Bush was attacked (criticized) for X while Obama allegedly gets a free pass for doing Y, you implicitly claim that no one criticized Obama for his actions. You are wrong, there’s plenty of criticism by the “left-wing” MSM. You provided no evidence to support your claim, nor did you start naming those on the right who did anything to stop Bush’s actions, so don’t even think to demand others do work you can’t be bothered to do yourself.

            1. Mark Steyn routinely criticized Bush and spending. Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh routinely criticized Bush expansions of the Federal Government. Ron Paul criticized and voted against the Patriot Act. Most conservative Tea Party types very much dislike Bush spending levels and Federalization of Education through the One Child Left Behind. Now, Bush’s encroachments on the Constitution were nothing compared to Obama, who explicity stated he intended to eliminate the Constitutional limits on his power.

              So, now name Obama Democrat critics.

              Also, Obama now requires all US citizens to sign up for health care on Federal sites which require very detailed personal information (health history, bank accounts) and these sites have zero protection of the user data. Obama’s law will penalize anyone who does not sign up even though the process puts all their personal information at risk. Of course the entire process is government coercion, but that is a separate point. Obama has disdain for the rights of the citizens. He is the Tyrant.

            2. You can’t see the forest for the trees..

              If you really think the Affordable Care Act is worse than No Child Left behind (talk about stupid) and the Patriot act, you are drunk. Is it great, or even that good?, NO it isn’t.

              Comparing it to the others is pure farce. So is the assertion that BO intends or even has the ability to eliminate constitutional limits on his power. Methinks you listen to too much faux news propaganda.

              Since we are on the topic of presidential power, how many executive orders did Bush issue? How about Nixon and Reagan? Here is a hint, each one was more enamored with his own power than BO.

              Number of Executive Orders
              Number of Years in Office

              Barack Obama

              George W. Bush

              Bill Clinton

              George H. W. Bush

              Ronald Reagan

              Jimmy Carter

              Gerald Ford

              Richard Nixon

              Lyndon Johnson

              John F. Kennedy

              Dwight D. Eisenhower

              Harry Truman

              Franklin D. Roosevelt


            3. Obamacare is just destroying our entire healthcare system. And was done by lying to the people – “you can keep your doctor, you can keep your insurance plan, it will save money” . ALL LIES. Now, companies are laying off people and reducing their hours due to this awful law. The idiot Obama met with the Department head, Sebelius, who is responsible for implementing his signature legislation, exactly once in three years. Nancy Pelosi bragged that nobody read the law before passing it. You, being associated with this travesty, are a moron for trying to say it is not so bad. It is pure evil and incompetence taken to the max. And you are a complete buffoon for defending the tyrant who foisted this on us. Obama should be tarred and feathered. With Reid and Pelosi.

            4. I’m not defending him Kent, I’m exposing the double standard you have, and the blind hatred you seem to have for the POTUS. You are frothing, calling for violence, yet refuse to accept that your chosen horse did thing as bad and worse.

              Explain to me how being required to get health insurance is worse than the Patriot Act? There is NO reasonable argument to be made, one helps me get treatment, the other essentially authorizes secret agents and secret courts to do what they want how they want, regardless of constitutionality, under the guise of “National Security”. It started that boondoggle that TSA and laid the foundation for the PRISM program.

              You are worried about the encryption level on the sign-up page? Laughable if it wasn’t so sad. The government can already do what ever it wants to you, and they don’t even have to tell anyone before they do it. I don’t think that them reading about your hip transplant is something you should be worried about, it’s the black helicopters and indefinite detention facilities on other continents you should be concerned about.

              We have become worse than the Stasi, the KGB. Reconcile that without saying Barrack Obama and take a deep breath…

            5. The original purpose of the Patriot Act was to protect the country against terrorism. It included methods of searching records of suspected terrorists, with the approval of a federal court (secret court) to accomplish this. This was the Bush Patriot Act. Obama has expanded this to include secret surveillance of all American communications. This is an Obama expansion of the Patriot Act done via executive action. This is not complicated.

              Obamacare is the government deciding on its own with legislation and regulations exceeding 30,000 pages that no sane person would read, to dictate to Americans how to take care of their health insurance needs. This is Marxist doctrine – government coercion of private matters. Liberals used to always lecture everyone about how they stand for “choice”. No more. Now they accept Big Brother telling everyone what health care they will have, what light bulb they will have, how much salt they can eat. Obamacare is pure coercion. And unless you like slavery and a totally fucked up health care industry, you will hate Obamacare.

              Would you accept the Government requiring you to buy a Dell computer? I gather so from the stupidity of your questions.

            6. Michael Moore called Obama “worse than Bush” on civil liberties.

              Jon Stewart has torn Obama a few new ones over the IRS and NSA scandals.

              Matt Damon, an early staunch Obama supporter, now openly criticizes him over drone strikes and NSA domestic spying.

              Lots of Democrat dissension during the Obamacare debates, including almost three dozen of votes against the final ACA vote.

              Many Democrats would’ve voted against military action on Syria.

              An amendment to defund the NSA’s Domestic Phone Metadata program was proposed by a Republican. Against their president’s wishes, 111 out of 194 Democrats (57.2%) voted to support it, but a mere 94 of 228 Republicans (41%) voted to support a fellow Republican’s amendment, with 6 abstentions on each side. Won’t bother writing their names, it’s all here:

              Former Obama aides criticize drone strikes:

              House Democrats demand greater transparency in drone strikes

            7. All these people would vote for him again tomorrow with no change in the NSA spying, the IRS criminal activity, the sleeping while our Ambassador is raped and murdered. These people a all did all they could to get this imbecile Marxist elected.

  2. I was under the impression that the indicator light on the Mac is hardwired to the same power source as the camera, therefore if the camera is ever activated the light will always come on. Am I wrong?

    1. If you look at any of the macs (iMacs or portables) built in camera circut board they are on the same power circut. The video function and light are physically attached. Can’t have one without the other. Designed that way for more than a decade.

      Now the audio is completely seperate..

      Read up on your security settings, be aware of what’s running on your system and you’ll be fine.

      Just like being aware when out in the world, walking down the street, in parking lots etc.

      Basic security is awareness in any situation, including your cyber life.

    2. It looks as though this is a story about PCs. iMacs are not susceptible to this problem due to the way the LED is wired to the camera power supply itself.

      If anybody has reason to believe otherwise, I’m sure that we would all love to hear evidence.

    1. Yes and yes they can.

      I discovered that a (no longer here) system admin at my org had done this very thing. (two years ago) He was grabbing still shots on a timed interval and uploading them to a server in the background. All it took was a little scripting, not very sophisticated at all.

      It would be relatively easy to include the script install with some pirated software.

      1. Because the country elected a Marxist as President and he is helped by thug/goons like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, who lead a party that embodies the idea that the ends justify the means. Obama said he wanted to transform the country. He has. We used to be a country of limited government and rule of law. Now, we are somewhere between a banana republic and a Soviet style oligarchy. It is hard to restore the virtue of a limited government when totalitarians take over.

        1. No, it is because America’s two political parties are owned by the same bunch of corporatists. Neither party is beholden to the people for more than wedge issues, which keep them fighting while the fleecing continues.

          Wake the hell up idiot.

      2. Because the people are weak. Look at the protest difference between say the Vietnam conflict and the protest with the Iraqi conflict.

        From an outsider’s point of view, the US government is giving it thick and deep into the US citizens with very little complaints. Perhaps they like it that way.

    2. I like your question, “can normal hackers figure out how to do this too? Or are they already able to?”

      The answer is of course yes they can. The FBI’s elite hacker team doesn’t come from their training, rather the other way around. Remember what Frank Abagnale Jr. was doing before he joined the FBI. It’s tough to figure out who is who, but the Mo’s are the big pricks trying to blow everything up. The mini Mo’s are the agents that neglected to put on duct tape over their web cams during surveillance and will have trouble getting dates for quite some time . It should be apparent by this time the maxi Mo’s have not put duct tape over their mini cams thinking that this would increase their ability to get dates. Unfortunately that pretty well back fired when a Madame was is a position to reveal much much more through the use of two way mirrors, and as everyone knows, no one wants to hang out with an FBI agent that is a Ho’ Mo.

  3. … Which is why I cover both my camera and microphone when they are not in use.

    So F*CK YOU FBI for destroying the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    NO blanket surveillance of US citizens on US soil is EVER legal. It is, in fact, TREASONOUS.

    1. “F*#k the FBI” ??

      That is rather impersonal. I think the F*@k part should be directed to the man who has been President for the past 5 years and who dislikes the Constitution, and has so stated, because it limits his powers. Or it was intended to. But then, he is now a Dicatator, not a President, so he is not constrained by details like the 4th Amendment.

      1. Seek help, you are clearly unhinged and a danger to yourself and society.

        No rational person believes for a single second that this whole NSA program is some private program of the POTUS, in fact it is quite clear to anyone paying attention that the NSA, CIA, and FBI are largely acting without oversight by any branch of the government.

        Thanks to the patriot act, they just have to make it need to know and no-one needs to know.

        1. I am
          Pretty sure if Bush were President and the NSA were doing this you would not think the President was such a passive bystander. I think you need a bit of actual intellect. I understand you voted for this tyrant twice but still, grow a pair and hold the President accountable. After all you thought Bush was watching what books you checked out of the library.

          1. Ah, but I didn’t vote for the current POTUS twice. I’m not a Democrat. In fact, I think the R & the D are nothing more than tools of the corporate masters, leveraged for maximum effect. I vote third party or write in myself.

            WEDGE ISSUES, look it up. They play you against your neighbor, the whole while they are taking us and this once great land for everything it is worth. You are the poster boy, their greatest success, you play right into their hand.

            The NSA were doing it when Bush was president, they will likely be doing it after Barrack is long gone too. Doesn’t make it right, doesn’t mean I agree with it.

            I can however see past blind partisan rage and hate, which clearly clouds your every thought. Unlike the tea baggers I do not want to return to Victorian Era “values” nor do I care exactly what the framers meant. They had no way to envision what the world would be come. They were not infallible, perfect men. I bet they would think it insane that America can not move forward because we are so busy restricting everyone and fighting over what they meant. It was meant to be a living, breathing document to serve the people. We have always be free to change it.

            What I do want to see is an America, FOR the people, BY the people, not one bought and paid for with corporate money.

      2. I entirely agree. But I also like to get to the source of each event and situation. In this case we are only talking about the FBI.

        But as you’ll see if you search around for my stuff, I’ve called for the impeachment of President ‘Constitutional Scholar’ Obama (and GW Bush) on many occasions and will continue to do so. Letting these treasonous crimes slide is a great way to contribute to wrecking my country.

        1. You are right on with the impeachment call. Obama is obliterating the Constitution and destroying our economy and healthcare system. With the help of the entire Democrat party.

          1. My favorite presidential quote these days:

            To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

            -Theodore Roosevelt – Kansas City Star (7 May 1918)

        2. Derek Derek Derek, doing calls and protests is what the government wants, it’s what it’s trained to deal with.

          You got to go back to the purity of the source the Boston tea party. It’s no longer a call for reason, it’s a call for action.

          Now a team that is ready to detour G.W. Bush (as he is leaving the country soon) and take him to the Hague and answer for war crimes against humanity. THAT’s action, that will get results. Of course that particular action may not happen yet, but there will be a reckoning coming. The big question for me is whether or not it’s going to be done by the citizens or for the citizens because quite frankly the US is a wannabe threat to global security.

          1. Action is great with me! I participate locally in several organizations, including the sane elements of TWO alternative third parties to the two scum parties we have now.

            There have been hopes and dreams of arresting Cheney in Canada. That didn’t happen, and we all know why. It would be great to have the two of them, or nearly the entire GW Bush cabinet put in front of the Hague. But then there is that darned participation of much of Europe in those international crimes! So darn. That won’t happen either.

            Yes, ‘the US is a wannabe threat to global security’. I tend to find the USA takes what their enemies do to them, then turn it back on them at RAMMING SPEED, even worse than the original crime. And that’s great for showmanship! Stupid for a country that pretends to be anyone’s model for world democracy. Now everyone laughs when the concept of US ‘democracy’ being spread across the world. ‘No Thank You’ is of course the reply. ‘We can screw up democracy just as well as the USA has done. I think we’ll go it alone.’

            1. Something along the lines of traditional punishments for treason would be fine with me. There is no call for cruel and unusual punishment, at least in my favorite rendition of the USA. However, the thought is inspired…

            2. And you call him a tyrant?

              Bush’s crimes were worse, admit that much and we can call it progress. say it with me: P-A-T-R-I-O-T–A-C-T. He enabled all this unconstitutional madness.

            3. You seem to have this mental block about the fact that Obama has been President for FIVE YEARs. It is Obama, not Bush, that has his NSA and his FBI and his DOJ doing all this spying on us. Obama is where the buck stops. He could order it stopped, except he is the one who wants to spy on you. Why are you so dense?

            4. The authorization to use military force was voted on by the entire US SENATE with only one NO vote and one abstention. ALL the data seen by Bush and the intelligence agencies of the other nations in the alliance all agreed there were weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam had used them against his own people. He was in violation of over 17 United Nations resolutions, all demanding he capitulate or face violent response. Every Democrat who claims Bush lied, was clamp ring for the action he took. 500 tons of Yellow cake Uranium (partially processed) were found, as were sufficient equipment to finish the conversion to nuclear weapons. Buried weaponry WAS found. Miles long convoys of trucks loaded with unknown somethings trekked into Iran for two months prior to the deadline before the onset of hostilities. Eight mobile biological generators were discovered and destroyed, each capable of “cooking” sufficient viruses and bacterial agents to kill large populations. (these were obfuscated as “hydrogen generators for weather balloons”, an obvious lie as none of the had tanks for hydrogen storage, and no known biological hydrogen generation technique is anywhere near efficient enough to generate hydrogen in sufficient quantities to fill a child’s balloon in real time, much less a Multi-story or large diameter weather balloon! Patently absurd, but it was good enough for our stupid news media to swallow.) Where, exactly, do you think that Iran got their chemical weapons we are supposed to destroy now????

            5. Speaking of authorization to use military force, I would like to know who refused to authorize military force to help saves the lives of our people in Libya. We have the most powerful military in the world, yet when Obama’s ambassador and staff were under military assault and pleading for help our military was silent and invisible. No air assistance, no on the ground assistance. We could have supplied both. Someone ordered the military to stand down, because left to its own it does what it can to defend Americans under attack. Since the question has been avoided all along, the assumption must be that President Obama issued the order to stand down and then went to bed while his people were murdered and his ambassador raped and murdered. He had no problem sleeping. Then he went to Las Vegas to raise campaign money from rich fat cats.

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