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A British man has been jailed for two years after police caught him using a notorious Remote Access Trojan (RAT) to hijack the webcams of young women, and spy upon them.
27-year-old Scott Cowley, of St Helens, Merseyside, was arrested last November as part of an international investigation into purchasers of the Imminent Monitor RAT.
Imminent Monitor (also known as IM-RAT) had been sold online since 2012, purporting to be a legitimate remote access tool.
Imminent Monitor’s claims of legitimacy, however, are somewhat undermined by some of its abilities – such as the ability to allow remote users to disable a subject’s webcam light while they are being monitored. One version of the software even introduced the ability to mine for cryptocurrency on victim’s PCs.
Security researchers at Palo Alto Networks claim that they have observed Imminent Monitor being used in attacks against its customers on over 115,000 unique occasions.
International law enforcement agencies were finally able to dismantle the infrastructure behind Imminent Monitor last November, in an operation that executed 85 warrants, seized 434 devices, and arrested 13 people.
And, of course, when police cracked the IM-RAT’s distribution network they were also able to seize records detailing thousands of purchasers, which resulted in the arrest in Merseyside of Scott Cowley.
At Liverpool Crown Court prosecutors described how the Cowley had used a PayPal account connected to his own name and personal email address to buy the IM-RAT software. Cowley successfully managed to have the software installed on the computers of three women, and seized remote control of their webcams in order to allow him to secretly film them as they undressed and had sex.
Specialist police officers from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) were able to forensically examine Cowley’s own laptop computer, finding the software as well as furtive video recordings of his victims.
The court found Cowley guilty, and sentenced him to two years imprisonment for computer misuse and sexual offences.
“Today we welcome the sentencing of Scott Cowley who used highly technological methods to obtain private videos and images of innocent victims for his own sexual gratification. This conviction demonstrates that despite the high tech nature of the Cyber Crime, offenders have no place to hide,” said Detective Sergeant Steve Frame from the NWROCU. “We take all reports of cybercrime seriously and are absolutely committed to tackling and undermining this evolving threat. If you have been the victim of a similar crime, or suspect somebody is involved in committing this type of crime please call 101 and report it to your local police force.”
No doubt police investigations into the users of IM-RAT will continue, and we can hope for more successful prosecutions for those who preyed on innocent computer users.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.
The post #cybersecurity | #infosec | Man jailed for using webcam RAT to spy on women in their bedrooms appeared first on National Cyber Security.
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Avast solutions help users control who can access their webcam to prevent unwanted spying.
In October, we conducted an online survey around webcam security awareness and found that 61% of Americans are concerned hackers could spy on them through their computer’s camera.
They have every reason to be concerned.
Tools that can hack a computer’s webcam are available on the regular web, as well as the darknet, in some cases even for free. Although many computers come with a light that indicates the webcam has been activated, tools can circumvent the light from being triggered.
The survey reveals that Americans are more aware that hackers can spy on them without activating their webcam’s indicator light compared to the global results. Globally, two in every five (40%) respondents are unaware of the threat, while two-thirds of Americans claim they know of the possibility.
Many people, like former FBI Director, James Comey, and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, cover their webcam to prevent unwanted spies from watching them. However, despite concerns being high, only 52 percent of Americans have physically covered up their computer’s webcam.
Covering webcams is a good start, but can be an inconvenience if you frequently need to use your webcam. We at Avast understand this inconvenience, which is why we give our users complete control over who can use their camera, without having to physically cover it up. – Ondrej Vlcek, CTO of Avast
Avast’s new feature, Avast Webcam Shield, which comes with Avast Premier, ends webcam spying for good by blocking malware and untrusted apps from hijacking webcams. Furthermore, users have the option of forcing all apps to ask their permission before they can access the computer’s webcam. The same feature is offered in AVG Internet Security, under a different name, Webcam Protection.
The post Three out of five #Americans concerned #hackers could #spy on them via their #webcam appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.
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A hacker terrified a Lee County man when he took over his computer and tried to extort him. Lee County sheriff’s investigators said they don’t know how the hacker got into the man’s laptop. The victim called LCSO’s fraud hotline to report the crime. He said he was talking with a relative on Skype one night last week, and after the conversation was over, he closed his laptop without logging off of Skype or turning off his computer. The next day, he went online. Within a minute, a number he didn’t recognize was calling his cell phone. He pick up, and a man who deputies said spoke with “a distinct foreign accent and claimed to be from Syria” called the man by name. He also had “very specific and private information about his finances, his family and friends that could have only been known by someone who had access to his computer,” deputies said. The hacker threatened to release the victim’s personal pictures and videos if he did not pay him $600.00. And that’s not all. “The hacker, who repeatedly threatened to ruin the victim’s life if he disconnected the call, was apparently able to see the victim in his home as he described the victim’s exact […]
For more information go to http://www.NationalCyberSecurity.com, http://www. GregoryDEvans.com, http://www.LocatePC.net or http://AmIHackerProof.com
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This miniature camera packs next-generation technology that records amazing quality audio and video in an average-sized USB flash drive! This truly all-in-one product records audio and video.
The post CamStickUC10SD: USB Webcam Camstick – Free 2GB microSD! appeared first on Dating Scams 101.
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Believe it or not, a hacker could be spying on you through your MacBook Webcam right now. Yes, right now. That’s because it’s possible for hackers or even the federal government to bypass the security feature in the iSight camera, researchers at Johns Hopkins University say. We first saw the news on The Washington Post. The […] View full post on Gregory d. evans