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For example, he demonstrated an attack last year on the software that controls Apple batteries, which causes the battery to discharge rapidly, potentially leading to a fire or explosion.

Another researcher was able to convert the built-in Apple keyboard into spyware using a similar method.

The researchers also provided us with a copy of their proof-of-concept software.

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But researchers figured out how to reprogram the chip inside the camera, known as a micro-controller, to defeat this security feature.

In a paper called “i See You: Disabling the Mac Book Webcam Indicator LED,” Brocker and Checkoway describe how to reprogram the i Sight camera’s micro-controller to allow the camera and light to be activated independently.

That allows the camera to be turned on while the light stays off.

Their research is under consideration for an upcoming academic security conference.

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If you've been here, you probably have an epic tale of sun, snow, friends, nightlife, day life, backcountry, backseat, sunrise, sunset, happy hour, magic hour.According to the researchers, the vulnerability they discovered affects “Apple internal i Sight webcams found in earlier-generation Apple products, including the i Mac G5 and early Intel-based i Macs, Mac Books, and Mac Book Pros until roughly 2008.” While the attack outlined in the paper is limited to these devices, researchers like Charlie Miller suggest that the attack could be applicable to newer systems as well.“There’s no reason you can’t do it -- it’s just a lot of work and resources but it depends on how well [Apple] secured the hardware,” Miller says. Brocker and Checkoway write in their report that they contacted the company on July 16.Attacks that exploit microcontrollers are becoming more common.“People are starting to think about what happens when you can reprogram each of those,” Miller says.Now research from Johns Hopkins University provides the first public confirmation that it’s possible to do just that, and demonstrates how.

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