New Malware Broadcasts Your Webcam Video to the World

New Malware Broadcasts Your Webcam Video to the World

New technology brings about new ways for hackers to get inside your computers and ruin your lives. One example of this is malware that can broadcast whatever is taking place in front of your webcam, without it even being on! All it takes is one candid moment in what you believe to be privacy to ruin your life.

From US News:

The Internet is flush with webcam videos of people who clicked unwittingly on a malware link and opened their computer to anonymous miscreants intent on mocking, blackmailing or simply spying on them, according to a report being published Thursday.

There’s not enough being done about such little-known but alarming invasions of privacy, the Digital Citizens Alliance says in its report on computer “slaving” by programs known as Remote Access Trojans, or RATs.

However, the organization says both corporations and individuals can take steps to address the problem.

“Tape your webcam,” advises Adam Benson, deputy executive director of the Digital Citizens Alliance. “I have tape on both my work computer and home computer.” He also suggests not clicking on links with uncertain destinations, and keeping anti-virus software and device operating systems up to date.

“The camera on your computer, when hacked, can become a tool to spy on you in your own home. And it’s easy,” the report warns.

While the scope of the problem isn’t clear, report authors found hundreds of victim and tutorial videos shared online, as well as chat forums through which amateur hackers share tips and programs that are “inexpensive and technically simple to use.”

“I don’t think people necessarily know how prevalent it is,” Benson says. “The clear and present danger can be lost on people sometimes.”

For those who don’t take the adequate precautions, or whose virus-detecting software has not kept up with ceaselessly innovating hackers, the consequences can be dire.

One famous victim of computer slaving, 2013 Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, fought back, informing the FBI and winning a prison sentence for a man who took photos of her using her webcam. But investigators believe many other victims don’t come forward or are unaware they were victimized.

“This could have been my face blurred out,” she said, “and it’s sad because they seriously have no idea. I mean I had not one clue of having someone watching me. It never passed my mind for the entire year.”

I’m lucky enough to have an external webcam that I rarely ever use, but for those people with built in webcams in their computers, you need to be sure to take extra precautions.

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