We have been hearing so much about identity theft lately with the security breach of some major retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus.
To remedy the situation they have provided customers effected by this breach with a way to monitor their credit report activity. What if your privacy has been stolen?
If your privacy was invaded through your web cam because of a RAT (remote access Trojan) who is responsible? Who is watching out for you? Your credit report can be cleared if there is unauthorized activity. Who will erase those photos taken of you in your private setting?
As we learn more from Edward Snowden about Government spying activities, it seems we could be an unintended victim of webcam spying. Collateral damage if you will. According to a report concerning the spy program code named optic nerve, in a 6 month period in 2008 the agency collected webcam imagery from over 1.8 million Yahoo users globally.
Some were the persons of interest and the rest, regular citizens. The best thing you can do for you and your family is to be proactive. Cover your webcam! With this simple action you are sending the message that your privacy is NOT an option.
Women are typically prime targets for a RAT. Except in the case of Hector Hernandez, a 17 year old from Detroit, MI. Unbeknownst to him, he was being spied on through the webcam on his laptop in his own home. He began receiving threatening messages saying that he must send $1,100 cash to an account in the Philippine’s. He stole precious jewelry from his family in order to meet this RAT’s demands. For $100k in jewels, he received $1500 from a local pawn shop. He wired the money and hoped the threats would stop. Guess what? They continued to threaten Hector with exposure if he didn’t continue to meet their demands. It was then he had the courage to come forward and tell his family what he was going through.
By simply covering your webcam, you are not allowing your privacy to be compromised. This is something as a parent I am very adamant about with my children. When not in use, cover your webcam!
With the holidays around the corner, many will be asking for tablets, laptops and desktops. Most of these devices have built in webcams. Remember to include a package of Peep Shields with your gift. It makes a great stocking stuffer!
Fox 2 News Headlines
In my previous post I mentioned the “sexstortion” case of Ms. Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf. According to CNN, Jared James Abrahams, AKA cutefuzzypuppy, a 19-year-old computer science student from Temecula, California, surrendered on Thursday to the FBI on federal extortion charges. It turns out Ms. Wolf was not his only victim. He admitted to the FBI that he had 30-40 “Slave computers” that he had access to at any time. In actuality it was more like 150. His Mom and Dad posted his $50k bond and he was released.
More and more we are hearing new terms such as “Sexstortion” and “RATting”. These terms are as dark and secretive as they sound. Ms. Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf can attest. Recently while watching the Today show on NBC, I listened to her tell her story about being recorded through her webcam on her laptop in her bedroom. The RAT had pictures of her dressing/undressing. The RAT was even so bold as to email these pictures to her to let her know she was under the RAT’s control. With lots of bravery and support from her family, she denied the RAT this power over her and informed the authorities.
Hearing this story led me to create my product Peep Shield ™. It is a webcam cover that you physically place on your computer and/or tablet’s webcam. If there is nothing to peep through, then your webcam cannot be compromised. This is not a replacement for running your antivirus, anti-malware programs. Always keep those updated. It’s just simply a physical way of protecting your privacy. Much like closing your curtains.