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Scary new Mac malware can control your webcam remotely

by Jacob Kleinman | July 6, 2016July 6, 2016 12:30 pm PDT

Maybe you’re not so crazy for covering up your laptop’s webcam after all. Newly identified Mac malware can take over your computer remotely and even control the built-in FaceTime camera.

The Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor malware, which was recently identified by Bitdefender researchers, sneaks onto your computer by posing as a harmless file converter called EasyDoc Converter.app. Once you accidentally download the software, it automatically installs an additional script, giving hackers the tools they need to control your Mac remotely.

Beyond accessing your webcam, the malware also gives hackers control over your file manager and the ability to execute commands remotely. They can even send emails with attachments from your computer.

“This type of malware is particularly dangerous as it’s hard to detect and offers the attacker full control of the compromised system,” said Tiberius Axinte, the tech lead at Bitdefender’s AntiMalware Lab. “For instance, someone can lock you out of your laptop, threaten to blackmail you to restore your private files or transform your laptop into a botnet to attack other devices. The possibilities are endless.”

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to avoid the new malware if you’ve exposed yourself. Just jump into your Mac’s settings, click on Security & Privacy, and then set it so that your computer can only download apps from the Mac App Store and other identified developers. This Gatekeeper setting is enabled by default, but it’s good to double check that it’s on just in case.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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