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Interpol announced the arrest of 58 persons in the Philippines for sextortion, including one case where a 17-year-old victim committed suicide in July last year following blackmailing by the group.
While not all webcams have indicator lights, and many laptops do not have them at all, the indicator light is a nice security feature that tells you when the camera is active.'Sextortion," the secret control of webcams or smartphone cameras to run extortion rackets against people, is also a growing problem.A major case gained notoriety in California where a now-20 year old Jared Abrahams "illegally hacked into the laptops of several young women in the U. and abroad, then took control of their webcams in order to film and photograph them while they undressed." According to the FBI, the scam included web cam pictures of Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who was a classmate of Abrahams.By being able to activate either a webcam or microphone on a PC, laptop or smartphone, intruders can listen in on sensitive meetings and conversations and even know where the meetings are held, who attended, and everything about what was discussed. It is of course illegal to record a conversation without obtaining permission of the person or persons being recorded, but keep in mind even web conferencing software allows for proceedings to be recorded and no permission is asked.There are plenty of vendors selling spy software, some designed for "professional" business use and marketed as a way to track employees, such as a product for employee monitoring made by Inter Guard. These days, there are hundreds of spying products to choose from, and the best of them facilitate surreptitious webcam and mobile cam spying.Szymon Sidor is a Polish-born software engineering genius currently working for Dropbox as an intern.
Before that, he served two internships with Google working on Google Chrome and Google Analytics.
Webcams and phone cams are also an important source for corporate spying.
This works in two ways: companies and organizations spying on their own employees, and competitors and thieves spying on corporations.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that it is legal to sell spy software.
It's just illegal to use it without permission outside the workplace, unless it is used by parents to spy on their minor children.
Webcam spying is part of a suite of so-called Remote Access Tools or RATS.