Ex-NSA staffer reveals way to hack Mac’s camera and mic


Mac App Store
You might want to put tape over your webcam.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Security researchers discovered a new way to hack the Mac’s built-in webcam this week, and the method is undetectable by users.

Apple built a green LED light into every Mac with firmware-level protection that turns on anytime the sensor is tripped by unauthorized access. The security feature has become increasingly difficult for hackers to beat, but former NSA staffer Patrick Wardle found a way to piggyback on outgoing feeds and record them.

Apple exec reveals how your iPhone data is used to improve Maps


Hair Force One wants everyone to become a coder.
Craig Federighi oversees the development of both iOS and macOS.
Photo: Apple

In a new wide ranging interview, Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, revealed how the company fixed a lot of mistakes it made with the launch of Apple Maps in 2012 by utilizing data from the hundreds of millions of iPhones around the globe.

Cue and Apple software chief Craig Federighi sat down to talk about the troubles with Apple Maps, the difference between working for Tim Cook and Steve Jobs, Apple’s competition with Facebook and Amazon and learning from failure.

Apple boosts AI efforts by acquiring machine learning startup


Siri popularized digital assistants, but it's quickly falling behind.
Turi could make Siri smarter than ever.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest acquisition could play a big role in the iPhone maker’s future artificial intelligence products.

Turi, a Seattle-based startup specializing in machine learning and AI, was reportedly acquired by Apple for around $200 million. The startup creates software that gives developers the ability to add AI capabilities that scale automatically, which could certainly be an attractive addition to Apple’s platforms.

Apple is ready to pay hackers a big bounty for bugs


iOS 10
Apple needs help squashing bugs.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s head of security and engineering architecture, Ivan Kritic, revealed yesterday that the iPhone maker is finally creating a bug bounty program that will offer rewards of up to $200,000 to security researchers who find vulnerabilities on the company’s various software platforms.

The news came during a keynote at the annual Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas where Kritic also gave attendees a behind-the-scenes look at iOS 10 security as part of Apple’s effort to become more open about its architecture in hopes of improving it.