Feeling Paranoid? Micro Snitch Tells You If Your Mac Is Spying on You

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2020/07/22/feeling-paranoid-micro-snitch-tells-you-if-your-mac-is-spying-on-you/

If you’re afraid that your webcam may be spying on you, Micro Snitch from Objective Development monitors your Mac’s webcam and microphone, alerting you when an app activates them and maintaining a log of all activity.

I’ve installed the latest version of Zoom and Epocam is running fine with it.

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Patrick Wardle at Objective-See has a similar utility called OverSight.

Patrick specifically mentions MicroSnitch when he lists 5 reasons why Oversight is unique among such webcam security utilities. Besides the fact that Oversight is free (I have been so impressed with various Objective-See products that I made a one-time donation via Patreon) the last item in the list caught my eye:

OverSight can detect secondary ‘consumer’ processes that may be piggy-backing off a legitimate webcam session in order to stealthily record the user without detection. (See: “Getting Duped: Piggybacking on Webcam Streams for Surreptitious Recordings” for details on this novel attack).

I did not read anything regarding this particular exploit in the TB article or at the MicroSnitch developer Objective Development website, so I want to mention it in case anyone has something to add about it or other differences between the two utilities.

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Did you have to use Kinoni’s unsigner app to unsign Zoom? I think that’s what I ran into when I tested it recently, and I was leery to recommend such a thing.

No, I’m running the current versions of Zoom and Apple OS’s on my devices and didn’t need to modify Zoom in any way. What did cause some problems was trying to run the camera (via WiFi) on my laptop after running on my desktop when both were connected to my home network. I needed to take the desktop offline in order for it to be seen by the laptop. Even quitting the drivers (via Activity Monitor), force-quitting the app on my iPhone and then starting up on the laptop didn’t move it. The only thing that worked was taking the desktop offline.

Epoccam needs to add a switch to the phone app to select which device it should be paired with on a network.

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Came here to mention OverSight (which runs fine on my iMac), only to see that @mojo had already beat me to it.

Reason why I comment nevertheless is just that I want to “ditto” for using this fine little free app :slight_smile:

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exactly why I don’t wear clothes at the computer.

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thanks for the oversight reference. one frustration with micro snitch is it has no mechanism for listing benign apps. thus every time i open sound source (a brilliant app, btw), micro snitch snitches on it. that gets annoying.

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I just want to mention that while Patrick’s utilities are provided gratis, he has a Patreon account for those who want to support his continuing development of current and future programs.

I now use 5 of his utilities and they have served me so well I made a one-time donation. (There are instructions for a workaround vs. the subscription model on the Patreon website.) I’ve been feeling a little guilty that I didn’t pledge more, so I’m going to do another donation.

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YES: https://www.patreon.com/objective_see/

(I’m a happy supporter)

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We’ve been using Micro Snitch religiously for a long time, it’s a little gem and has posed no problem whatsoever with everything we’ve used it with so far.