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

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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.

Hackers can make $1.5 million jailbreaking iOS 10

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iPhone 7
You can make big bucks hacking the iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith

Looking for a quick way to become a millionaire? Just try hacking the iPhone.

Software security firm Zerodium revealed today that it has raised the price of its permanent bounty on iOS zero-day exploits, giving hackers a chance to earn up to $1.5 million if their exploit meets all the requirements.

Apple is ready to pay hackers a big bounty for bugs

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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.

Cops 3-D print murder victim’s finger to unlock iPhone

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The iPhone 6's Touch ID sensor is greatly improved over the 5s &mdash for me, anyway.
At least they didn't cut his finger off.
Photo: Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Instead of running to Apple to unlock iPhones involved in criminal case, cops may have found a new path to get past Touch ID’s security: 3D printing fingers.

Police officers asked for aid from the lab of professor Anil Jain at the University of Michigan this year to help them recreate a murder victim’s fingerprints by 3D printing each digit so they can attempt to unlock the device, which they think may contain clues that would help solve the case.

FBI promises more litigation in its anti-encryption vendetta

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iPhone hack
The FBI isn't backing down in its war on end-to-end encryption.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Fighting Apple may, according to some, have been the FBI’s worst PR disaster in history, but even its failure to convince Congress of its goals isn’t stopping its war on encryption — with FBI director James Comey telling reporters this week that more litigation can be expected as the feds seek to hack devices.

iPhone hacking is easy, claims Indian telecom minister

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iPhone India
Has India come up with a fool-proof way to hack iPhones? Apparently so.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

So far this year, vulnerabilities have been exploited to help unlock the older-generation iPhone 5s and 5c, both as part of murder investigations. However, the newer iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus remain secure devices no government has been able to break into.

Although that record may have been broken in India, according to the country’s telecom minister.

Apple denies giving China its source code

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Bruce Sewell
Apple's top lawyer went back to Congress today.
Photo: House Committee on the Judiciary Hearings

Chinese authorities have demanded Apple give the country complete access to its source code within the last two years, but Apple says it has refused to comply with the government’s demands.

Apple’s top lawyer, Bruce Sewell, defended the company’s position before U.S. lawmakers at a congressional hearing today, after the iPhone-maker was accused by law enforcement officials of refusing to help the U.S. government while at the same time freely giving information to China for business reasons.

Apple claims FBI hasn’t exhausted all options to hack Brooklyn iPhone

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iPhone SE 14
Apple's hacking battle with FBI rages on.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is pushing back against the federal government’s demands to unlock another iPhone, this time related to a drug case in Brooklyn.

In a new filing posted on Friday, the iPhone-maker has asked a New York judge to dismiss the federal government’s appeal against Apple, claiming the DoJ has not proved that it has exhausted all resources to unlock the iPhone in question.

Feds can’t tell Apple how they cracked San Bernardino iPhone

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iPhone 6s
The FBI may not legally own the process used to crack the iPhone 5c under investigation.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

We’ve heard plenty of bluster about how the FBI won’t tell Apple how it cracked the iPhone 5c at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case, but there’s another possibility, too: that the Feds can’t tell Apple how it did it.

Why? Because according to a new report, citing Obama administration sources, it may not actually have legal ownership of the method in question.