Apple Updates Safari to Fix Bug That Allows Hackers to Access Webcams and Microphones

Computer updates are a great inconvenience. No matter how quick they are, they always come at a bad time. Some updates are more important than others—especially when it comes to your safety.

Case in point: the latest Safari update. Apple has patched up bugs that may give hackers access to your webcam and microphone. So, don't even think about postponing it. Security researcher Ryan Pickren, who found the bugs, says that, when combined, the bugs create a web link that hands over all control via Safari.

"Safari encourages users to save their preferences for site permissions, like whether to trust Skype with microphone and camera access," Pickren tells Wired. "So, what an attacker could do with this kill chain is make a malicious website that from Safari’s perspective could then turn into 'Skype.' And then the malicious site will have all the permissions that you previously granted to Skype, which means an attacker could just start taking pictures of you or turn on your microphone or even screen-share."

Don't think you're safe if you don't have a Macbook or iMac. The bug can take over cameras and microphones on the iPhone and iPad, too. In fact, Pickren says the bugs go back from "years ago."

Luckily, Apple has taken care of the bugs with its latest January and March updates. So, you should be good if you've updated to the latest version. Pickren, who also reported the bug to Apple, received a $75,000 bug bounty.

All's well that ends well—if you update Safari, that is.

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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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