Is Someone Watching You?
Webcam hackers to watch on you!
Hackers are using a new threat called ‘Ratting’ to watch people, especially women in their own homes. They do this by hacking into victims computers and gaining control of their webcams. With the amount of users not using antivirus software growing, it is easy for hackers to take advantage and hack unguarded computers.
After hacking computers they can switch on webcams – built in to most computers – and watch people in the privacy of their living rooms, bedrooms and even bathrooms without the victims realising they are being closely observed.
A video camera that feeds images in ‘real time’ to another computer, computer network or the internet.
Investigations have found that the illegal practice is so prevalent there is a profitable underground market selling the ability to watch victims, who are dubbed ‘slaves’, for a small fee. The investigations have also found that paedophiles are using the new threat to target youngsters – mainly girls – who have computers in their bedrooms.
How does it work?
The victim is fooled into downloading software on to their computers. In most cases this is done by an email request. The email will contain information which tries to relate to teenagers. This would be something like a link to listen to a song or to view a picture. Teenagers are usually targeted with links advertising celebrity stories and gossip and even diet tips.
Once the ‘Remote Administration Tool’ (RAT) software is installed it allows hackers to take control of your machine at any time. This is basically the same way that IT workers, computer repair specialists and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) remotely fix computers.
Hackers can then use the infected machine much the same way as if they themselves are sitting in front of your computer, doing anything from looking through personal files and photos to switching on your webcam.
Some hackers are just opportunists, or those looking for a laugh, but when it intrudes on someone’s privacy and personal space that is a different matter altogether. It is also illegal. Most victims do not report the crime for fear of not being believed or worse still laughed at.
What can users do to protect themselves?
The public needs to learn about the methods hackers use to access the private lives of innocent people. There are a range of ways to prevent being spied on. Installing a good antivirus or internet security software will prevent most hacking attempts and delete RATs. Do not click on any links in emails, and even covering your webcam with a piece of paper will set your mind at ease.
The most at-risk computers are those running older software, and those without up-to-date antivirus software installed. Also make sure that your Operating System (OS) and other software are up-to-date with the latest updates and patches. If you have Windows installed, make sure it is set to automatically run Windows Update. Check to make sure you have antivirus, or an internet security package on your PC, laptop or Tablet. If there is one on there already make sure it is up-to-date. Free antivirus packages are good, but paid for products are more solid, with many more useful features to help protect you.
Don’t leave it until it is too late.