By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0
Saturday Afternoons at 5 here on The Answer

ISSUE: Security Flaw Allows Hijacking of Camera/Microphones on Apple Equipment

If you’re working on a Mac at home or using an iPhone, you’ll want to be sure you have the latest security updates. Security researchers have detailed recently patched Safari vulnerabilities that allowed intruders to hijack the cameras and microphones on iOS and macOS devices.

This flaw means that someone could be eavesdropping on you or your children and you wouldn’t even know.  Creepy to say the least.

It is always important to consider a physical level of protection when using devices that can “hear” and “see” everything you do.  As an example, putting a cover on a webcam is a good idea. You might not want to use anything sticky since that can damage the camera.  There are several options for slide covers that attach to your video camera and allow you to physically close it.

Microphones are a little more touchy since it isn’t as easy to block them.  There is a device that physically plugs into your microphone input and simulates a live signal.  This usually will turn off the built in microphone and add a layer of security. It is not 100%, but better than nothing.


A maliciously crafted website could trick Safari into believing the page had the same camera and mic permissions as one you’d already cleared, such as Skype. The attacker just needs a combination of specially-made web addresses with scripts to perform a “bait-and-switch.”

If successful, the perpetrator could quietly capture audio and video and eavesdrop on victims. That could be a particularly serious issue when many are relying on webcams for remote meetings and classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple has issued an update to fix these issues.  The patches were released in January and March. The biggest issue is if you don’t update.

Some computer users assume that iMac and iPhone don’t have the same security problems as you may find on a Windows PC.  It is important to realize that threats are out there.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw