Mac Malware Can Spy on You Through Webcam: Ex-NSA Hacker

If you are a Mac user you need to be extra careful – Other than covering your webcam there is a tool that can protect your privacy when you are online on Skype or other video messaging platforms. 

An ex-NSA hacker and currently research department head at Synack, Patrick Wardle, has been trying to find flaws and vulnerabilities in Apple Mac and he has some alarming news to share.

According to Wardle, it is possible to spy on people via the webcams because Mac’s camera can be shared with multiple apps. Wardle has come up with the idea of a malicious app that uses a webcam and lets the attacker spy through Skype. Perhaps that’s why Mark Zuckerberg was found covering the webcam of his Mac notebook with a tape and the microphone with a mic jack.

Must Read: 11 easy tips to secure your Mac against hackers

The app would not use the camera like the other Mac Malware strains Crisis and Eleanor because the LED light would start flashing, which will warn the user. Wardle’s idea is that the app would wait until another app that uses the webcam on Mac such as Google Hangouts or Skype is started by the user and then the spyware would start recording the victim’s conversations.

Patrick Wardle

Wardle stated that the malware will remain undetected and this idea may already be in practice. Wardle states:

“It’s conceivable that there is malware out there already that is doing this.”

Usually, users discuss sensitive things while having Skype conversations, which is why the malware’s recording feature could be so dangerous.

“If you infected my Mac and recorded me all the time, you’d see me sitting at my desk, picking my nose, petting my dog, and occasionally swearing at my computer. However, when I jump on a Google Hangout to discuss a new zero-day vulnerability with a vendor – that’s when things get interesting,” says Wardle.

Also Read: iSpy Keylogger Targets Skype, Webcams and Passwords

To prevent this, Wardle has devised a tool OverSight that will alert Mac owners when and if any app asks for the permission of accessing the webcam. Then the user will have the privilege of accepting or rejecting this access. Moreover, this tool will record logs of the permissions user has already granted along with downloading most recent Mac OS X software and alerting users whenever they attempt to download apps from suspicious websites. Basically, the tool will protect the Mac machine from malware.


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