Webcam scams

The Australian government’s Stay Smart Online advisory service is warning people about the possibility of webcam hacks:

In another type of webcam-based scam, malware installed on your computer can be used to operate your built-in webcam, recording images of you without your knowledge. This malware is known as a Remote Access Trojan or RAT and can remotely activate your webcam, at the same time, disabling your camera indicator light.  These images can also be used to blackmail you.

What should I do?
  • As always, make sure your software and systems are up-to-date, and that you are using up-to-date security software.
  • Be aware that anything you do on the internet, including video and voice calls, can be recorded.
  • Never use your webcam to video call someone you do not know.
  • Be cautious about people you meet online. People you meet online may not be who they seem to be.
  • Revealing personal details online is extremely risky.
  • Be aware that this type of scam is blackmail and it is illegal. The scammers are breaking the law.

If you have been threatened, you should:

  • Block their emails and their accounts from all networks. Cease all contact with the scammer. Scammers often seek soft targets, so they may move on if you do not respond. Some victims have reported no further consequences once they blocked the scammer and ignored their demands.
  • Be suspicious of any new or unusual friend requests, for example, someone you thought you were already friends with on Facebook.
  • Save the scammer’s details, emails, comment threads or any other evidence you have of them and the extortion attempt.   This can be done with screenshots or taking a photo with your phone.
  • If you think images or footage may be posted online (you can set up a Google email alert to look for this content every day), you can contact the host site to ask them to remove the files.
  • Contact your local police and notify them of the activity.
  • Report it to SCAMwatch.
  • The only leverage the scammers have is your embarrassment. You may consider accepting the disclosure.
  • Paying scammers and extortionists is never encouraged. Once you have paid, there is nothing preventing them from targeting you or your compromised computer again

Read the whole article here.

Public wifi warnings

Recently, Mashable wrote a piece warning users of public wifi, like that provided at Starbucks, could be the victims of hackers. Although there are very few Starbucks coffee shops in Australia, there are parallels we can draw with other fast food restaurants providing free public wifi.

According to ThreatMetrix, a provider of cybercrime prevention solutions, some hackers even leave malicious USB drives on tables for curious customers to plug into their devices. This allows them to retrieve personal information and even social network passwords. Although this may seem unlikely, ThreatMetrix says the scenario actually occurs.

 Cybercriminals can also use video cameras on a mobile device to capture what you’re doing nearby. This means if you are entering your credit card or email login information into a smartphone, you could be recorded doing so. Creepy, right?

 Read the whole article here.

The loss of an entire digital life

A few days ago, Wired blog author Mat Honan published a post on how hackers accessed his Amazon and Apple IDs, which led them to hack into his Twitter account and then to wipe his iPhone and computer. It is a little complicated, but certainly worth reading.

This story should serve as a warning to those of us who have accounts ‘in the cloud’ where our private data such as addresses and credit card numbers are stored.

Facebook Hacking Tool Clones Other People’s Friends, Steals Their Profiles

A few days ago, Security News Daily published a post about a new Facebook hacking tool doing the rounds.

The tool, called “Facebook Pwn,” lets Facebook criminals — and everyone else — steal personal profile information from any target of their choice on the massive social network. That’s the end result, but it’s the sneaky process you have to watch out for.

Facecrooks website says

The only defense that we can really have is to be extra vigilant about whom we add as friends.

Read more here.