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26 Jan

The authors "were not malicious guys," says Frank Heidt, CEO of Leviathan Security.

"They thought it was funny as hell." Webcam scams do occur, though they're far less common than other types of online extortion.

Fortunately, the FBI was able to identify a suspect: her high school classmate, a man named Jared Abrahams. W., later identified herself on Twitter as Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf.

The FBI says it found software on Abrahams’s computer that allowed him to spy remotely on her and numerous other women. While her case was instant fodder for celebrity gossip sites, it left a serious issue unresolved.

This attack is specifically targeted at the victim's webcam, and hence the name camfecting, a portmanteau of the words camera and infecting.

Typically, a webcam hacker or a camfecter sends his victim an innocent-looking application which has a hidden Trojan software through which the camfecter can control the victim's webcam.

As a result, she had no idea she was under surveillance. While controlling a camera remotely has long been a source of concern to privacy advocates, conventional wisdom said there was at least no way to deactivate the warning light. Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years.

Once installed, the camfecter can turn on the webcam and capture pictures/videos.The remotely activated webcam can be used to watch anything within the webcam's field of vision, sometimes including the webcam owner themselves.Camfecting is most often carried out by infecting the victim's computer with a virus that can provide the hacker access to their webcam.Stealing documents and logging keystrokes—that I understand.You can get all sorts of useful information reading someone's e-mail or looking at their bank records. That seems creepy even by the standards of shady cyber-spying rings.