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The Black Hat conference (I wasn't there) had a session on "ratters" (RAT for Remote Access Trojan) who take illicit footage of users (usually female) by hijacking their systems.

The question I have is if this happens on a system or web-cam device that has an "in use" LED on it, is it possible for them to do this without turning on that LED? On my MacBook for example I would definitely notice the LED. Many USB cameras have the same thing.

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Yes, it is possible to deactivate the webcam active light. Here, here, and here all show examples of security researchers doing it.

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  • Would seem to be very hardware based. My Macbook should be Ok but not the Windows boxes I have.
    – AlanObject
    Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 1:01

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