Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New breed of spycams pose threat to privacy

A FEW YEARS AGO a security expert, enraged at discovering that his PC had been hacked, managed to trace the intruder’s computer and take remote control of it. He was astonished to find himself staring at the face of the culprit, courtesy of the machine’s webcam.

The case of the hacked hacker was an early example of how webcams can expose a home or office to the world. They have since proliferated at least as quickly as Britain’s public surveillance cameras, yet while two major reports in three years have warned that those present a serious threat to privacy and freedom - A Report on the Surveillance Society and Surveillance: Citizens and the State - the insidious perils of private webcams have received little attention.

Security firm Sophos tells the story of a Cyprus man who infected a 17-year-old girl’s PC with Trojan spyware that gave him access to her webcam. He was caught only after she contacted police when he tried to use his pictures to blackmail her into posing naked.


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