Webcam hacking exploits Chrome Inbuilt Flash player for Camjacking

Pierluigi Paganini June 20, 2013

Researcher Egor Homakov demonstrated the possibility of Webcam hacking exploiting Chrome Inbuilt Flash player, a flaw that represents a serious threat to privacy.

Webcam hacking, hackers are increasing their interest on millions of cams that surround us. These prying eyes are everywhere, in the street as in our home, gaming consoles, smartTV and PC are all equipped with a camera.

The impressive diffusion of mobile devices equipped with web cameras makes Webcam hacking very attractive and it is considerably a serious menace for users’ privacy, these attacks are silenced and could cause serious problems. Think for an instant of the implication related to Webcam hacking made by cybercriminals or by a government for surveillance purpose, we have seen it in the movies but today it is a reality.

Let’s start from domestic webcam, the Webcam hacking is a reality according to a recent post published by Egor Homakov that highlighted a serious flaw in Google Chrome’s integrated Flash player.

Egor Homakov demonstrated that just pressing the play button a user could authorize an attacker to access his webcam giving him the possibility to capture video and audio without getting permission.

I’ve heard a hacker could access my webcam and watch me in front of my computer. Could this really happen?” YES, it is possible exploiting new Flash based flaw in Google Chrome.

This works precisely like regular clickjacking – you click on a transparent flash object, it allows access to Camera/Audio channel. Voila, attacker sees and hears you,” Homakov said.

This type of attack dubbed is known for several years as Clickjacking, a known vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager.

Adobe is aware of Clickjacking attacks and it resolved the flaw with a change to the Flash Player Settings Manager SWF file hosted on the Adobe website.

Differently for Camjacking attacker could hide the Flash Player security message when the flash file is trying to access a web camera or to a microphone.

According the researcher the Webcam hacking is possible exploiting an invisible Flash element present on the page, it is enough that victim using Chrome Browser clicks on it is.

“That’s what I thought as well. written a simple page with the opacity and flash container (flash requested access to the web-camera), it was observed that 21 Firefox, Opera 12.15 or ignore transparency flash animation, or just do not handle. But IE and Chrome 27.0.1453.110 10 well treated transparency and allowed to place himself on top of the text and / or image. That, no doubt, would have gone into the hands of web designers. But to remain on its laurels were just not interested, and I started to dig deeper, taking the idea of Clickjacking attack, but to remake it to fit their needs, ie to borrow all the “useful” function for the attacker. I chose access to the webcam (of course, yet we can get access to the microphone, but it was important, then?) So, I wrote a simple USB flash drive, take a picture with the help of a web camera and sends it to the server. “

Homakov verified that Webcam hacking with Camjacking doesn’t work with semi-transparent on IE.

Webcam hacking

An Adobe security team representative has confirmed the bug related only to Flash Player for Google Chrome.

Will Google solve the problem in the seven days established for fixing the bug to its products?

But the concerns do not stop at home webcam, Craig Heffner, a former software developer with the NSA declared to have discovered the previously unreported bugs in digital video surveillance equipment from firms including Cisco Systems Inc, D-Link Corp and TRENDnet.

“It’s a significant threat,”

“Somebody could potentially access a camera and view it. Or they could also use it as a pivot point, an initial foothold, to get into the network and start attacking internal systems.” said the specialist.

He announced his intention to demonstrate it during the next Black Hat hacking conference, on July in Las Vegas.

Heffner revealed that he has discovered hundreds of thousands of surveillance cameras exploitable by attackers via Internet.

This is not a movie, neither an episode of the television serie Person of Interest … This is reality and maybe the Big Brother is already exploiting it!


Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Webcam hacking, Privacy)

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