Better firewalls and anti-virus software can blunt some of these intrusions.
But hackers have been successful at making RATS harder to find — a problem that has yet to trigger widespread outrage among computer users, possibly because many people don’t know they’re being spied on.
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.
The woman was shocked when she received two nude photos of herself by e-mail.
“Malware or ‘bad’ software is prolific on the web, and nearly every type of device that touches the Internet is potentially susceptible,” said Lance Larson, assistant director of the Graduate Program in Homeland Security at SDSU.
Foreign hackers took over the “nanny-cam” of a Minnesota family and posted photos of their baby online.
A Temecula man was sent to prison for spying on women through their webcams, and trying to extort a victim with photos he took.
RATs can give a hacker control of a person’s webcam, and enable them to explore computer files and record keystrokes."Hacking webcams (is) not as easy as they make it out to be in the movies.
You have to get past a firewall or install some type of malware to infect a machine,” said Erik Knight, founder and chief executive of Simple Wan, a Phoenix-based tech company.“Places like the National Security Agency certainly have these abilities but, generally, hackers have to feed you something first.”Hackers can hide the RATs in applications that users download from the Internet.
There also are websites that publicly list private web and security cameras that aren’t firmly protected.