You’ve probably seen people covering their PC cameras with tape. The reason for the same might be possible hacking and security threat.
While it may seem a bit of a security overkill, even FBI Director James Comey recently said that everyone should put opaque tape over their computer webcams to protect their privacy. It turns out camera hacking and hijacking is a real thing, and it can affect smartphones as well.
Former Amazon Web Services security engineer and ethical hacker Ryan Pickren proved that your iPhone’s camera could be hacked and used by malicious third parties. Ryan decided to test Apple’s Safari browser for vulnerabilities last December.
Using a smart method that tested the browser with different non-conventional user behaviors, he found seven security holes in Safari for iOS and macOS. Three of these vulnerabilities allowed Ryan to take control of an iPhone’s camera and… well, do whatever he liked.
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There’s nothing to worry about, however, because Ryan (like every ethical hacker) reported the issue via the Apple Bug Bounty Program in mid-December 2019. Apple then fixed the critical vulnerabilities in the Safari 13.0.5 update released January 28 and Pickren was awarded $75,000 for finding and reporting the security breach.
“I really enjoyed working with the Apple product security team when reporting these issues,” Pickren told Forbes in an interview, “the new bounty program is absolutely going to help secure products and protect customers.” So you don’t need to put tape on your iPhone’s camera, at least for now.