Webcam Security – Who’s watching you?
As technology becomes more involved in our everyday lives and being ‘online’ is part of our daily routines, Internet Safety becomes more prevalent.
Are you compromising your safety?
The majority of people do not believe that their web cams can be hacked.
Well they can!
Using various techniques, cyber criminals install hidden malware on millions of computers around the world. This allows them to remotely turn on your webcam and/or microphone without you ever knowing it…..
Most of these programs will take a picture from your device every few seconds, allowing the cyber criminal to save the images for later review.
Some hackers do it just for fun (because they can) others do it intentionally, often described as ‘Black Hat Hackers’ or cyber criminals. They can hack your webcams to obtain personal information, photo’s or just for peeping, which can then be used for blackmailing purposes.
Here are some examples of recent webcam hacking cases and headlines.
A middle-aged man has been arrested for hacking the webcam of a teenage girl, with the intention to take illicit and compromising pictures of the girl in her bedroom.
This computer technician infected the girl’s computer with a Trojan to spy on her. The suspect is said to have taken pictures of the girl and threatened her with e-mailing the pictures to all of her e-mail contacts if she didn’t stand nude in front of the camera. The girl wasn’t having any of it, though, and contacted the police.
This is not the first offence of its nature. Many are adopting similar techniques. A computer science student was fined for a similar offence like this.
Another one. But same intention!
A 23-year old student has been caught using his hacker skills, or more specifically, installing some dodgy software applications in order to spy on unsuspecting women using their own webcams.
Craig Matthew Feigin is a student at the University of Florida who was known for also fixing computers if they had a problem. One woman, named Marisel Garcia, had Craig recommended to her by a friend when her laptop started playing up. He took the machine away for the night and brought it back working the next day.
Everything seemed fine, except that every time she went near her machine a little light came on and it also started using the battery a lot quicker.
She got a close friend who knew about computers to come and check it over. They found 2 extra pieces of software installed on the machine called Web Cam Spy Hacker and Log Me In. Craig had clearly been spying on Marisel without her knowledge and uploading the pictures to a remote server.
A quick trip to the authorities and Craig confessed to not only spying on Marisel, but also up to nine other women whose machines he had fixed. In Marisel’s case, he had compiled over 20,000 pictures of her in different states of dress, as well as with her friends and boyfriend.
Craig is now in custody and faces a number of charges coming under the Florida Statute of Offences against computer users.
Some recent headlines
‘How ‘home hackers’ spy on you and your children… with YOUR webcam: The shocking evidence that shows how private lives are snooped on and streamed live on web
- Investigation reveals ‘home hackers’ are spying on people through webcams
- Vulnerable devices include baby monitors and domestic security cameras
- 350,000 such cameras are bought every year in the UK by individuals
- Many fail to change the default passwords leaving them open to hackers
- Experts say thousands may not be aware hackers are able to spy on them
‘Images of children’s bedrooms and living rooms in the UK are being broadcast on the internet by a Russian website.
But this hacking of hundreds of webcams in Britain is only the latest in a long line of such attacks.’