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My iSight light turned on randomly. Just once like 5 minuets ago, can this just be a bug or am i getting hacked?

4615 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Sep 13, 2013 7:32 AM by EZ Jim RSS Branched to a new discussion.
celestefromwilmett Calculating status...
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Jan 23, 2013 6:07 PM

I was Watching netflix and it just turned on randomly. I freaked out and unplugged my computer. As far as I know it was only this time. I don't know how long it was on for. I also have parental locks on my computer.

 

My computer is an 08

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)

    celestefromwilmett wrote:  I was Watching netflix and it just turned on randomly... I don't know how long it was on... I freaked out and unplugged my computer...I also have parental locks on my computer.

     

    (1) If you really don't know how long the green indicator light was on, you probably cannot be certain when it turned on (while you were "watching netflix") or that it was truly random.

     

    If you are right that the problem is random, and if you have no other problems with your Mac, there is no bug.  If you are certain you have no camera enabled app running, merely restarting your Mac will extinguish the indicator.

     

    If there is a bug, it is likely from some third-party software.  My Macs never exhibited any indicator light bug while I used Lion OS X 10.7.5.   If the indicator lights again, watch carefully after using any third-party apps.  Any bug will be repeatable rather than random.

     

    (2) Hacking of webcam control should not be a concern for Mac OS X users.

     

    If you are using Windows, you are wise to be cautious and take every possible precaution against Windows' security weaknesses, whether running on a PC or on a Mac (and whether via OS X Boot Camp or one of the PC emulators that runs inside OS X.)

     

    For OS X Macs, the only way I know to make the webcam controllable by someone else is for you (or someone else who had access access to your Mac) to modify or somehow damage your Mac or its software. Unless an "administrator" of your particular Mac has installed, activated, and authorized Apple Remote Desktop or some other software for remotely operating your Mac, it is highly unlikely that anyone can be using your cam without your explicit permission and action.

     

    However, if you are convinced that your Mac has unwanted software that you cannot identify, securely erase your entire startup disk.  Then reinstall a fresh copy (not from your backups) of OS X and all necessary apps and updates.  Finally, copy your important user data files to the fresh system from your backup to your fresh system.

     

    (3) If you've not already done so, you should Safe Boot your Mac. Safe Boot forces an automated OS X disk check and repair routine. If your disk needs significant work, Safe Boot may take several minutes to finish. Do NOT try to use your Mac while in Safe Mode. When your desktop appears in Safe Mode, immediately restart your Mac normally. Use the Safe Boot procedure the first time you start your OS X Mac after any hard shutdown (such as whenever you turn off your Mac with its power button or by unplugging it.)

     

     

    (4) Parental controls is part of the OS X Lion operating system.

     

     

    If you use third-party parental lock software that you control, you can test for a repeatable bug as suggested above by disabling or removing the added software.  If your problem goes away but returns as soon as you re-enable the locking software, this software is the source of the bug.


    If your parents control the third-party parental lock software, talk about your concerns with them.  They will be at least as concerned as you are about any unexplained functions in your Mac.

     

     

    Message was edited by: EZ Jim

     

     

    Mac OSX 10.8.2

  • Wits_Lost Calculating status...

    I've seen this happen, very recently.  Netflix runs microsoft silverlight to stream video.  I think there may be an exploit there.  If you open silverlight you will see option for the camera and mic.  I was not running the most recent version of silverlight when this "hack" happened.  I have since upgraded the version.  Don't know if this has fixed the issue.  I'm streaming netflix on other devices just to be safe.

  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)

    The kind of problem you describe is the reason I have never installed Sliverlight.  I try to run as few third party add-ons as I can.  Silverlight is one I can avoid for what I need to do.  (No, I am not using Netflix on Mac, either.)

     

    I hope your latest version upgrade keeps you Mac safe and remedies your previous concerns.  However, if you continue to believe there is an exploit there, and if you have anything of importance on your Mac, I suggest the secure erase process I described above followed by installation of software that excludes your Sliverlight or other Netscape items that make you suspicious.

     

     

     

     

    Message was edited by: EZ Jim

     

     

    Mac OSX 10.8.4

  • Kit Tigwell Calculating status...

    I've started having this problem after updating Silverlight and Flash. Since I did both together I'm not sure which was responsible, if either. I've uninstalled them both, done a safe boot (the iSight light didn't turn on then, but did once I returned to normal settings and is still on) and a full antivirus scan which found nothing.

    What else could be causing this? Thanks.

    I'm running 10.8.4 on a Pro.

  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,255 points)

    Kit Tigwell wrote: ... a full antivirus scan which found nothing.  What else could be causing this? Thanks.  I'm running 10.8.4 on a Pro.

     

    Perhaps your full antivirus software?  What are you using?  If you use the method below, don't reinstall it after zeroing your disk.

     

    Perhaps remnants of Sliverlight or some other software conflict.  Some software uninstallers do not remove all of the files they installed or created by running the app.   If you believe that software may be causing your trouble, backup all important files, zero (secure erase) your disk, reinstall Mac OS and applications, and then copy only known good and necessary data files back.  This will ensure that any hidden or forgotten files that may be causing your trouble are gone forever.  If software doesn't fix it, contact Apple or your Apple Authorized Service Provider for a hardware check.

     

     

     

     

    Message was edited by: EZ Jim

     

     

    Mac OSX 10.8.4

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