Why, they turn it around, unplug it, and put a towel over the monitor for good luck!
That approach may be a little extreme for some of us on our own computers, but when you use a PC or Mac in an environment where it is likely to have been used by strangers, you should certainly be aware that you cannot have much confidence regarding whether the device has already been compromised by malware.
(Abrahams has since pleaded guilty to charges of extortion.) Ars has an interesting overview of how Abrahams did what he did from a networking standpoint, though it’s unclear whether he managed to disable Wolf’s webcam indicator (or that Wolf just didn’t notice it was on).
That said, the Washington , writing about malware-based surveillance techniques earlier this month, revealed that the FBI has been covertly accessing computer cameras without tripping webcam indicator lights “for several years.” The Wolf piece drove tabloid headlines because of the Miss Teen USA angle, but it’s the unambiguous FBI claim that’s truly chilling.
Yücel pleaded guilty earlier this year to distributing malware, Although arrests have been made in relation to the Blackshades RAT malware, there are plenty of other tools and trojan horses in existence which can help strangers snoop upon you.
Well, you could follow the example of delegates at the recent conference held at a swanky hotel in the city of Miami Beach.
By attacking the device at this level, the researchers were able to convert the camera into something that looked like a USB keyboard to the operating system, which then allowed them to execute code from within the operating system.
In her case, Wolf was spied upon by one of her former classmates – Jared James Abrahams – who had installed the Blackshades RAT malware on her laptop in order to covertly take naked photographs of the beauty queen.
Make sure to configure with unique, hard-to-guess passwords just as you would for, say, your bank account.
In addition, it should go without saying that you should also update your webcam’s firmware regularly to protect against newly discovered security holes and vulnerabilities.
When it comes to your personal computer – be it Mac or PC – make sure that you are always running the latest anti-virus and other security software, have kept your software patches updated, and be alert about opening unsolicited email attachments and clicking on potentially dangerous links.
Also, if you have internet-accessible cameras elsewhere in your house – such as baby monitors or CCTV – be aware that many such devices are sold with default or weak passwords that are child’s play for hackers to crack.
Virtually every computer sold today comes with a dirty little secret. What’s more, if hackers can infect your computer with malware they can hijack your webcam and secretly watch you too – regardless of whether they’re based down the street or on the other side of the world.