1. The Topic of the Month for October is "Make this the Perfect Bugout Location". Please join the discussion in the TOTM forum.

WebCams are FBI tap-able......

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by BTPost, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator


    The FBI can secretly activate a computer’s webcam to spy on an individual without turning on the indicator light, a former official revealed to the Washington Post in an article published Friday.
    According to the Washington Post’s account of what Marcus Thomas — former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico — said, “The FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years, and has used that technique mainly in terrorism cases or the most serious criminal investigations.”
    “Because of encryption and because targets are increasingly using mobile devices, law enforcement is realizing that more and more they’re going to have to be on the device — or in the cloud,” Thomas added, in reference to remote storage services. “There’s the realization out there that they’re going to have to use these types of tools more and more.”
    TheBlaze has previously reported on hackers using remote access tools to activate an individual’s webcam and spy on them.

    This post has been updated to reflect that Thomas is an ex-FBI official.

    Just a few NOTES, here:
    1. Unless the WebCam is part of a Computer that is DIRECTLY Connected to an ISP, (not thru a
    local Router) it REQUIRES the computer to to be violated, with a Virus, or other MalWare, that causes the computer to initiate a connection back to the Viewing Source. This is due to most Home Routers to NOT Allow Port Forwarding, by Default Settings.
    2. Very very few Computers these days, are Directly Connected to the Internet via an ISP.
    3. In the Apple Products, the Light next to the Internal WebCams are Part and Parcel of the hardware Power Input to the Camera Subsystem, itself, and it is NOT controlled seperately by the computer itself. The Camera subsystem is either Powered, (with the LED On), or it is NOT Powered. (with the LED Off)
    4. The definitive way to deal with this Issue, it to put a Piece of Black Tape over the Camera Lens, when you do NOT want it to operate. Also NOTE, that the Internal Microphone in the computer is also availabe to be subverted, and Room audio Sent out, and collected using the SAME Subversion Routines, and MalWare.

    ..... YMMV......
  2. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    When you say a virus/malware thing has to initate a connection back to the viewing source, does that mean there has to be some kind of online connection in the first place on the 'hacked' computer? Because we have a webcam on the laptop, but we have it offline here at home. Its only internet activity is when we go to the library and use their wifi.
  3. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

    People call me paranoid when I tell them why(company surveillance) there is black electrical tape over the built in web cam my company laptop .. But more lately are asking if they can use my black electrical tape.:)
    BTPost and Silversnake like this.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Well that is correct, as far as it goes, VH... It is possible that one "could" compromise a computer with Malware that collects some audio/video while Powered Up, but just stores it in Hidden files until the next time it is connected to the Internet, and then upLoads those stored files to the Snooper, and then erases the sent, hidden, files, and starts all over again. Now I am not saying that this type of Malware exists, just that there is NOTHING stopping this senerio from being used. ..... YMMV....
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary