A student at the University of Georgia Institute of Technology, United States, hacked the camera of an Apple Mac. This student, Ryan Pickren, who holds a Ph.D., discovered a dangerous security hole or bug in the Apple Mac camera. This loophole has the potential to be exploited by irresponsible parties to illegally access Mac cameras.

This illegal access is said to be harmful to the device because it can spread to a number of other platforms. Pickren shared his findings on the blog, as well as explaining how he was able to break into the Mac’s camera. Pickren explained, the bug exploited the iCloud Sharing service and the Safari 15 browser. According to his search, this bug stems from an iCloud file-sharing app called ShareBear. By using ShareBear, users can share access with each other for easier file sharing.

Once a user accepts an access request for file-sharing permissions to other users, the Mac saves those permissions. When a user shares files with other different users, the permissions will be applied automatically by the Mac without reconfirmation. This is where the security gap is located. When files are stored in the cloud instead of on local (device) storage, files can be exchanged at any time when permission is obtained.

In the worst case, according to Pickren, an image or text file could be modified into a file containing malicious code. Pickren also proved it by trying to change the file type and get full access to other users’ Mac devices. He added, this bug not only opens access to multimedia, but also to other platforms.

Files accessed via ShareBar can also be sent remotely at any time without user confirmation. That means, hackers can exploit this bug remotely by fully accessing the user’s device. After finding this dangerous bug, Pickren reported to Apple in July 2021. In return, Apple gave Pickren 100,500 US dollars. this is the biggest gift Apple has ever given through its security program.

update for mac hack

Apple itself fixed a bug in MacOS Monterey 12.0.1 in an update released October 25, 2021, a few months after Pickren’s report.

In addition to Macs, Pickren previously hacked iPhone cameras and microphones in 2019, for discovering the security vulnerability of Apple phones. Pickren relayed this to the tech giant by revealing a number of malicious vulnerabilities in Apple’s code. Because of this, Apple gave a gift of 75,000 US dollars at that time.

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