Among the NSA’s Own Tips for Securing Computers: Remove the Webcam

Seems like everything gets hacked these days. Baby monitors. White House employees’ personal email. Toilets.

If it’s connected to the Internet, it seems at least a little vulnerable.

But surely we can trust that workhorse selfie-generator, the iSight webcam built into the top bezel of Mac laptops. Or… Maybe not. Yesterday, security researchers Steve Glass and Christopher Soghoian were passing around a National Security Administration factsheet with a little bit of advice for Mac users on how to “harden” their computers to attacks.

Among the tips, we find the following suggestion: “Disable Integrated iSight and Sound Input.”

“The best way to disable an integrated iSight camera is to have an Apple-certified technician remove it,” the NSA writes (emphasis added). Then, you might try “placing opaque tape over the camera” or try the software-only method of removing one of the components of Quicktime’s files. And if the NSA doesn’t trust a particular piece of hardware can’t be used for surveillance, it’s probably safe to assume an average user shouldn’t either.

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