“Hackers” may be watching YOU, courtesy of your webcam. Even if your webcam light is off, the webcam itself may be on, and you possibly being watched. Where do you have your computer? In your bedroom?
This intrusion into your privacy is done using various common software programs called a Remote Administration Tool (RAT). In general, this software gives the “hacker” access to a computer’s screen, webcam, files, microphone, and more.
These RAT tools are far from new. Back in 1998, the notorious hacker group known as the Cult of the Dead Cow released “BackOrifice” at the Defcon hacker convention the same year, in 1998. Since then, RAT tools have evolved and advanced, for example “DarkComet” and “BlackShades“, allowing the user of the Remote Administration Tool to install and administer them on hundreds of remote computers.
As virus and malware scanners caught on and started to catch these RAT tools, the RAT software developers designed the software to become even more advanced, using “crypters”, encryption to disguise the code of the RAT software. Don’t think you are protected if you have one of the popular antivirus software packages installed on your PC or MAC, they can only do so much. Now today, most RAT software is “FUD”. Fully UnDetectable.
As aware as I am, in my profession as security analyst, It actually happened to me a few years ago, I noticed my webcam light kept coming on for no reason. I rebooted, a few minutes later, it came back on. I convinced myself it must be a driver issue, eventually I did a full OS reinstall to eliminate it.
Next time you are done using your webcam, don’t assume you are alone. You might want to point it up at the ceiling, or put some type of cover over the camera lens to put a physical barrier there.
You never know if you just might have an unwanted secret admirer out there somewhere, watching you.