A Hacker Found a Way to Take Over Any Apple Webcam

A Hacker Found a Way to Take Over Any Apple Webcam

by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

The Safari vulnerabilities have been patched, but they would have given an alarming amount of access.

Apple has a well-earned reputation for security, but in recent years its Safari browser has had its share of missteps. This week, a security researcher publicly shared new findings about vulnerabilities that would have allowed an attacker to exploit three Safari bugs in succession and take over a target’s webcam and microphone on iOS and macOS devices.

Apple patched the vulnerabilities in January and March updates. But before the fixes, all a victim would have needed to do is click one malicious link and an attacker would have been able to spy on them remotely.

“Safari encourages users to save their preferences for site permissions, like whether to trust Skype with microphone and camera access,” says Ryan Pickren, the security researcher who disclosed the vulnerabilities to Apple. “So what an attacker could do with this kill chain is make a malicious website that from Safari’s perspective could then turn into ‘Skype’. And then the malicious site will have all the permissions that you previously granted to Skype, which means an attacker could just start taking pictures of you or turn on your microphone or even screen-share.”

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