From spyware to hackers, even sextortionists. What is this? Webcam exploitation. It’s becoming a major security risk. Some of the latest details in different news stories show that people are taking advantage of webcams, just as many had feared in the past.
Recent reports show that male computer users in are being extorted by women through the use of webcam shows. Women are coaxed in to stripping for a specific male, and then the female ask men to strip for them back. However, the females are recording the male strip show and then using it to threaten and extort the male. The threats include sharing it on YouTube, Facebook, and other related social media. In order for the female not to post it, the male must pay her.
This has been on the reversal as well, where men do the same to women when it comes to selling the taping of a live strip.
The rules with this type of situation include that you should always be wary of strangers whom befriend you on a social network, especially if showing a sudden romantic interest in you. Usually, after the sudden onset of romantic interest, the women invite the men (or the other way around) to a webcam show. Then, the extortion takes place.
Never put yourself in a compromising position when it comes to a webcam. Keep the clothes on, as much as it is an idea to take them off…don’t do it.
If the extortionist threatens and tries to get money from you, contact the police immediately to help remediate the situation. It may be a bit embarrassing for what the person may post on a social network, however, it’ll be better if the police handle it.
Don’t click on any links to payment systems, in case any extortion occurs, or in any case of any chat system. Untrusted links could lead to malicious software and/or scam.
Is someone spying on me?
Webcams are standard equipment now, and video chat is getting to become very popular. Whether it’s the photo-megacity online, or the video-sharing extravaganza, webcams are pretty popular. Have you ever stopped to think if anyone was watching you?
Many times there are indicator lights that supplement a webcam. These tell you if any current activity is detected within the webcam. However, there are techniques that hackers can use to disable the indicator light.
What do we do? Cover up the camera with some tape, put something in front of it, etc. Hackers can’t reach in through your computer and move it, can they? No way! Therefore, grab some electrical tape or some other very dark, opaque tape to cover up the camera.
If you have a USB webcam, that gets attached to the monitor or put onto the desk, it can simply be unplugged when not in use.
If it is a built-in webcam, then the tape above will do well, or if it’s a notebook computer – close the lid when not using.
Paranoia has existed for a long time, and it is no surprise issues happen with webcams.
- Rossen Reports: Webcam hackers can spy on you in secret (todaynews.today.com)
- Naked scammers blackmail men online (cnn.com)
- FBI Report: Hacker Blackmailed over 350 Women to Strip on Webcam (secureconnexion.wordpress.com)
After all of the latest attacks on government, corporate, and social networking organizations, Twitter the most recent, it appears Facebook had their share this year.
Facebook revealed yesterday that it was hit in January from an unidentified group of hackers, however, no user information was compromised during the attack.
Here is a snippet from the note issued:
Last month, Facebook Security discovered that our systems had been targeted in a sophisticated attack. This attack occurred when a handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that was compromised. The compromised website hosted an exploit which then allowed malware to be installed on these employee laptops. The laptops were fully-patched and running up-to-date anti-virus software. As soon as we discovered the presence of the malware, we remediated all infected machines, informed law enforcement, and began a significant investigation that continues to this day.
It was said also that a zero-day Java exploit was found, when the suspicious domains in their logs revealed in the Java sandbox many vulnerabilities. The update was provided to Oracle who shipped patch(es) for the specific vulnerabilities found.
The company also stated, “We will continue to work with law enforcement and the other organizations and entities affected by this attack. It is in everyone’s interests for our industry to work together to prevent attacks such as these in the future.”
Other websites were additionally affected by this, and that the computers affected at Facebook were fully patched and clean before the attack.
Seems like a lot of US companies, particularly media companies, are being attacked recently. Some of the recent slew of attacks in the past year include the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as the Washington Post even. Now, looks like Twitter has had a bit of a compromise of approximately 250,000 accounts.
Bob Lord, the Director of Information Security at Twitter stated that any accounts that were compromised, the data at risk includes usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted passwords:
“This week, we detected unusual access patterns that led to us identifying unauthorized access attempts to Twitter user data. We discovered one live attack and were able to shut it down in process moments later. However, our investigation has thus far indicated that the attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users.”
They have reset passwords and reset session tokens for the accounts that were compromised. How do you know if your account is compromised?
Some last words in the blog by Bob Lord include, “This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident. The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked.”
We’d agree with him, it had to be pretty darn sophisticated. Even though that would be a small number compared to their extremely large userbase, that is still a lot of accounts statistically speaking. No doubts.
Read more about this on the Twitter blog.
Messages are spreading between Facebook users, claiming that members of the social network have lost all respect for popular songstress Rihanna after watching a video.
However, if you’re careless enough to click on the link you will find yourself lured into a survey scam that attempts to earn affiliate cash for fraudsters.
A typical message trying to tempt users into falling for the scam looks like this:
If you were fooled into participating in this scam remove the message from your newsfeed, and delete any messages you may have inadvertently shared with your friends. That way at least you are no longer spreading it with your online chums. You can also report the link as spam – hopefully if enough people do it, Facebook will begin to stop the scam from spreading.
Prevent scams like this and other social network scams/issues:
Get the review of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware
Common Twitter scams have been highlighted over time by many security organizations. Please take note of the intro below, and then see the full investigation by Sophos:
If you are a Twitter user please be very cautious of clicking on links that claim you are pictured in an online photo.
Thousands of malicious links are being spammed out, targeting innocent users of the micro-blogging network.
The links point to Russian webpages that ultimately attempt to infect your Windows PC using the notorious Blackhole exploit kit.
Whether or not users like it, Facebook is evolving…big time! If they don’t, like it or not, it’s time to wave goodbye to them. But, since Facebook founders have the gift of social networking, they will conjure up something in a hurry. In the meantime…guess what? Privacy issues!
Voters on Friday morning rebuked the new privacy policies posted by Facebook. Apparently a turnout of 13% signaled to Facebook that it was way off key. Obviously, Facebook executives are way too hasty this year (IPO issues, privacy issues). What is even more sad: they are bound to regulators and cannot fulfill user experience to the maximum. Looks like their priorities are incorrect.
Feel free to read the full text on the privacy changes.
This round of privacy changes supposedly were put intact so they could generate more revenue by selling personal information to third parties, otherwise known as data theft (unless the user is allowed to opt-out). No wonder why their little bill was shut down by voters.
It is time for Facebook to seriously re-evaluate their business and find a better business plan, well suited for the new economic needs. And in the meantime, opt-out and never sell-out!