It looked like an urban legend, but it is possible to access the webcam of a computer remotely and without notice. According to research conducted by the Johns Hopkins University this is possible. A seemingly simple thanks to the RAT (Remote Administration Tool) computer software method to disable the indicator light built in camera, which would monitor and track a user.
A university research led by Stephen Checkoway and Matthew Brocker has been able to reprogram the chip of the MacBook camera, called iSight, to access its complete control.
The study was conducted by taking samples of previous models to 2008. The researchers say it is possible to illicitly access to existing portable camera on the market. Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the technology operations Division of the FBI in Quantico (Virginia) which ensures that the FBI has been able to activate a covert camera from a computer-that is, without activating the light that lets users know that recording is taking place, for several years.
Both authors have released a study entitled ‘I see you: Disable the MacBook Webcam LED indicator’ dated December 11, 2013, which is certified research describing how to disable the LED on a kind of Apple iSight webcams used in some versions of laptops MacBook and iMac desktop.
An FBI investigation process using software to monitor a suspect was rejected by a federal judge in Houston, who ruled that this technique is “very intrusive” and could violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that searches and seizures conducted by a government authority must be “reasonable”.