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New Virus Lets Hackers Watch You Through Your Webcam

PC Pro | August 23 2004

'Is your webcam watching you?' That is the question posed by security company Sophos as it reports that the virus Rbot-GR has the capability to use the webcams and microphones that are attached to infected machines in order to spy on users, whether they be in their home or workplace.

'More and more hackers are interested in spying on the people they manage to infect with their worms and Trojan horses,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. 'In the workplace, this worm opens up the possibilities of industrial espionage. At home it is equivalent to a Peeping Tom who invades your privacy by peering through your curtains.

'If your computer is infected and you have a webcam plugged in, then everything you do in front of the computer can be seen, and everything you say can be recorded,' he added.

A worm with backdoor Trojan functionality, Rbot-GR spreads over network shares courtesy of weak passwords, and also through the exploitation of a number of Windows vulnerabilities. Sophos believes it may be used to steal passwords and product keys from a number of games and applications, as well as retrieve confidential information. It also leaves infected machines vulnerable to remote control.

The prevalence of this rather novel attack, however, is reported as being low.