22 votes

FBI can secretly turn on laptop cameras without the indicator light..

Scary. Insane. Ridiculous. Invasive. Wrong. The Washington Post reports that the FBI has had the ability to secretly activate a computer's camera "without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording" for years now. What in the hell is going on? What kind of world do we live in?

The whole Post piece about the FBI's search for a bomb threat suspect is worth reading. It shows how far the FBI will go with its use of malware to spy on people and reveals the occasional brain dead mistakes the FBI makes to screw themselves over (like a typo of an e-mail address that the FBI wanted to keep tabs on). Good to know these completely competent folks are watching over us by any means necessary.


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Washington Post story made up?

this mo guy was in the United States,FBI cud have just arrested him. No need to desperately try to surveil his online activities via his computer if he is actually going to blow up bombs at universities

dont forget the mic

dont forget the mic


Yeah. I've seen a lot of

Yeah. I've seen a lot of students on campus with a post-it-note (or piece of thick tape or something) covering up the laptop camera. I assume it's for that reason.

once again

jones was right.


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If they made a device SPECIFICALLY to watch people

and called it the "Spy On You" but it had great "apps" and got service everywhere, people would buy it and complain about being spied on. Even I'd say 95% of the people on the DP would buy it and complain even louder. You see, consumer electronics are so nifty and neato that even though they open your life up like a book to anyone with an interest they are impossible to resist because they do such neato things. I wish I had a smartphone or a laptop or a facebook page to share my every move with the world, but I'm an old fogey. Better get going to sign up for my Obamacare and see if my welfare check has arrived. Damn government and their shenanigans!

deacon's picture

spying,you say?

Use a piece of tape,or better yet,tape a view master picture over the camera lens
Just a suggestion

setting your expectations to high,can cause depression

Camera Spying on You?

Here's ONE solution: Raxco PerfectGuard.


Try the demo. It will freak you out! -m.

(I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken)

First, the title is a bit

First, the title is a bit off. You should link directly to the address whose topic is specifically the camera: http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/business/texas-court-r...

A schematic for a laptop webcam is suprisingly hard to find. I am wondering why they wouldnt just take the simple step of putting the LED in parallel with the rest of the circuitry so that anytime power is being applied the LED would be on with no way to bypass it. That makes it dead simple with no software required. The only reason I can think of why they didnt do this is so that there is an option to use the camera for spying. There isnt any other reason you would turn that light off. It isnt exactly bright or annoying.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

you see, what camera

you see, what camera software engineers SHOULD be doing, is figuring out how they do this, and patch the exploit, you know, for SECURITY

And the hardwere engineers SHOULD be putting physical switches/barriers between motherboard and sensors, ......mic, camera, motion etc etc.......to complement the software firewall for sensors the software companies should now be mandatorily implementing in their programs

THATS security, opposite of what our governments are doing

Use linux with open source

Use linux with open source drivers for your webcam. Problem solved.

is it actually impossible, i

is it actually impossible, i just thought that linux meant that if your capable you can actually see the code as long as its open source, and see for yourself if there is any malicious intent, and what about exploits, a function that was not its original intent.........am i wrong, or is linux alot more secure then i originally thought

My original answer is a

My original answer is a little simplistic, but I'm glad you followed up. Linux is what you make it, it can either be really secure or not secure at all. You need a bit of technical know how in order to run it in the most secure way but at least it provides an option for secure computing whereas Microsoft Windows comes pre-installed with known back doors.

You are right that gnu/linux software is pretty much open source. For example, if someone tried to commit a backdoor or virus to an open source program it would probably be recognized, but maybe not (http://slashdot.org/story/13/10/09/1551240/the-linux-backdoo...)

Ubuntu is a great bridge from the windows world to the linux world. You can try booting it from a USB stick or CD-ROM if you want to use it selectively.

Drafting tape

Won't leave residue, works perfectly!


a bandaid or folded biz card works good too.