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January 25, 2012 7:08 AM   Subscribe

GQ reports on paraplegic web cam hacker Luis Mijangos

Web cam hacking has been known about for a while, but it may be getting easier and more prevelant.
posted by Potomac Avenue (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:30 AM on January 25, 2012


Very interesting article. Some bullshitty claims by Mijangos, but forgivable.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:31 AM on January 25, 2012


“Mr. Mijangos invaded the sanctity of many personal digital worlds and used intimate content to victimize and prey upon unsuspecting victims.” said U.S. Atty. André Birotte Jr.

Curiously, this seems to be legal if done by the government and/or corporations.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:32 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeepers, creepers, how'd you get those peepers?
posted by Slackermagee at 7:33 AM on January 25, 2012


Pics or it didn't...oh, wait.

It sucks this guy is in a wheelchair. I don't like feeling any sympathy for criminals. I don't feel much, but I'd rather feel none. What an asshole.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:35 AM on January 25, 2012


Some bullshitty claims by Mijangos, but forgivable.

Are you talking about the bit about figuring out how to turn on the camera w/o the LED? That one seemed a bit far-out to me, but what do I know?
posted by jquinby at 7:53 AM on January 25, 2012


This sort of thing is inevitable (as pointed out by Mr. Mijangos) now that we've all gotten so comfy-cozy and casual with all our gadgets. Doesn't make it any less disturbing. And if there's one, there will be more, if there aren't already.

Makes me glad my computer is nowhere near my bed or bath.

Interesting piece, Potomac Avenue, thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:06 AM on January 25, 2012


Early computer cameras all had little plastic privacy covers you could slide over the camera. I sure wish Apple would add those; it's not even particularly difficult in the iMac. Because having a crooked post-it note glued to the frame of my beautiful aluminum 27" screen is kinda déclassé.

Related, Is my MacBook Pro always listening? which claims there's no way to effectively disable the microphone with the System Preferences settings. My hope is he's mistaken and the VU meter is just showing feedback as a debugging tool during preferences, but I don't know for sure. A simple "no microphone" button would be welcome.
posted by Nelson at 8:06 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep my web cam unplugged and plug it in only when I need to use it. That's one habit I will be continuing.
posted by COD at 8:48 AM on January 25, 2012


Early computer cameras all had little plastic privacy covers you could slide over the camera.

They're called "Post-It" or "Masking Tape."
posted by eriko at 9:12 AM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to watch a remake of Rear Window with webcams instead of windows.

Please?
posted by miyabo at 10:12 AM on January 25, 2012


I put a googly eye over my camera. It makes the laptop impossible to fully close, but frankly, it's worth it.

hi, little guy!
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:14 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not sure why the author focuses on his ability to get an erection, as if that is the definition of "getting off".
posted by dhartung at 11:23 AM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are you talking about the bit about figuring out how to turn on the camera w/o the LED? That one seemed a bit far-out to me, but what do I know?
posted by jquinby


The breadth of his attacks indicate that he was probably using the Metasploit Framework, a user-friendly tool and not some assembly-cthulu-invocation from the old ages. There are tutorials online for everything he did. This is a person that was hosting his blackmail infrastructure on domains he registered in his own name. Basically the cops just had to look him up on the (DNS) phone book and go pick him up.

The camera LED thing can be trivially overcome but I think for once I'll bet a little bit on security through obscurity. This is some nasty stuff to do to someone.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:42 AM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even before these stories started popping up, I've been shocked at how no one seems to care that their Macs are staring at them with a camera all. the. time.

This, paired with our status-update-every-inhalation-and-every-exhalation-i-make disease (which will obviously not go away) makes me honestly wonder:

While some of our great-grandparents no doubt found it unthinkable to talk to someone through a contraption instead of in person, will our great-grandchildren eat, shit, shower, have sex, give birth, and die in buildings with glass walls and cloud-wired cameras covering every surface like glitter?
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:42 PM on January 25, 2012


Could you all speak a little bit more clearly and stop moving around so much?
posted by mmrtnt at 1:20 PM on January 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've noticed my webcam coming on inexplicably occasionally. I'm not sure if it's a hacker or not, but if anyone (mmrtnt :) likes watching a guy in a bathrobe with bed head move a mouse around, they would be in seventh heaven.

This sort of thing is why I periodically say, "By the way, I know you're listening," when I'm alone in my office or in my car.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 1:35 PM on January 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


That's a pretty interesting story... thanks for posting it...
posted by ph00dz at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2012


Dodecadermaldenticles your tea is ready!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:11 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


jquinby: "Are you talking about the bit about figuring out how to turn on the camera w/o the LED? That one seemed a bit far-out to me, but what do I know?"

If you're quite good I bet theres a few models of webcam that forget to turn off firmware upload and could be reflashed to replace the command to turn on the LED with noop. I suppose some could be engineered to somehow know when recording is "on" but I know, by virtue of having the source code, that the red recording LED on my phone is simply controlled by software.
posted by pwnguin at 11:02 AM on January 26, 2012


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