Can Malware Capture An iPad Camera?

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Richard Serkes
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Can Malware Capture An iPad Camera?

Post by Richard Serkes » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:01 pm

My wife is reading a mystery in which some bad guy drops malware on another person's computer and then uses that malware to control the USB camera. This allows the bad guy to see and hear what's in front of the computer. She asked me if this could happen in the real world. I said on a PC I know it can and I wouldn't be surprised if there were malware that could get control of a Mac's iSight camera. But I admit I really don't know concerning the Mac.

Her real concern was her iPad. Is there malware that can control the camera on an iPad? I have no idea. Does anybody know?
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Can Malware Capture An iPad Camera?

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:13 am

The problem is real enough in general.
There was a well-known case in which a school had set up student laptops to be able to remote control the cameras. Their excuse was that they thought they'd catch kids doing something bad. You can imagine where those administrators work now, or at least we can hope.

Macintouch had a discussion of this issue recently because some celebrity had been tricked into downloading and installing software to remote control the camera. I think the bottom line was that Mac cameras have a light that's hard wired to the camera power circuit so the camera can't be turned on without the indicator light. That, of course, is fairly minimal protection. Apple could do more.
http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports ... d16nov2013

I think all these exploits require software to be installed and running on the computer. The same would have to be true for an iPad. So the obvious course of action is to avoid jailbreaking. If you're writing a plot, you'd need the evildoers to jailbreak the iPad and install the software ahead of time. And I still don't know if there's any way to gain remote access to an iPad.
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planedoc
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Re: Can Malware Capture An iPad Camera?

Post by planedoc » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:03 pm

I know it can on the built in camera and mic on my samsung TV
Craig

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Stephen Hart
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Re: Can Malware Capture An iPad Camera?

Post by Stephen Hart » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:40 pm

I guess it should be said that tricking someone into downloading and installing software can be subtle. This is by far the biggest security threat on Macs. So be very careful about any activity where you might accidentally install malware.
For example, never click a link in an e-mail unless you're absolutely sure who the e-mail came from and expect such an e-mail. The expect part is important. Just this week I received an e-mail from someone I've met, and have exchanged e-mail with in the past. The e-mail contained a link (red flag 1). The e-mail was unexpected (red flag 2). It turned out the link wasn't to malware, just to an ad page. But the link URL, which seemed innocent enough, had been hijacked and auto refreshed to an entirely different site.

Never ignore the OS warnings about starting software for the first time.
Don't fall for ads on websites about software that's supposed to make your Mac run faster, etc. You can always ask here if you're not sure.

And don't walk across my clean kitchen floor!
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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