Another webcam security threat uncovered as police launch computer hijack crackdown

‘Rats’ allow hackers to spy on computer users through webcams, without their knowledge

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The Independent Online

Police undertook a Europe-wide action on hackers who had allegedly gained control of internet users’ laptops to spy on them — just a day after it emerged that hundreds of cameras had been unknowingly broadcasting from British homes.

Police say that the arrested people, four of whom were in the UK, had been using software to remotely control computers, known as ‘Ratting’.

Once into the computers, hackers can use them for criminal activity, or watch through cameras and use the pictures for blackmail. Keeping computers updated and not clicking on suspicious-looking links can keep hackers from gaining access.

Two men and one woman from Leeds, one man in Kent and another in Darlington were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday, with another man from Liverpool being brought in for voluntary questioning this morning.

Police also arrested 11 other suspected hackers in Estonia, France, Romania, Latvia, Italy and Norway.

All are suspected of using software designed to remotely take over, control and steal information from computers, police said.

The UK part of the operation was led in the by the National Crime Agency.

 

Remote access Trojans, commonly known as RATs, allow hackers to control a computer remotely. They can then use that access to access personal information, use the computer for other criminal acts such as distributed denial of service attacks, or to watch victims through computers’ built in webcams.

“The illegal use of Remote Access Trojans is a significant cyber crime threat, demanding this kind of strong, coordinated response from international to local UK level,” said Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit.

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