Cameras and Microphones

I enjoyed John Gruber’s response to the Wall Street Journal piece on the risks posed by webcams. In the article, Joanna Stern for the WSJ found a white hat hacker to try and break into her webcam on a Mac an Windows PC. On the Mac, getting access to the webcam required her to download an app outside of the App Store, turn off some of its security features, and then click OK on a dialog asking for camera access. That doesn’t sound like getting hacked to me as much as just being dumb.

Most interesting to me was John’s concern about microphones.

“I’ve never understood … the complete lack of similar paranoia over microphones, which cannot be blocked by a piece of tape and which have no in-use indicator lights.”

I agree with this 100%. If there is going to be a privacy breach through your Mac that does not include you doing something silly (like clicking OK to camera access), it is going to be through the microphone. I'd love to get some indication from Apple that they are addressing this vector as well as they’ve addressed the video camera.