"Big Brother" isn’t the only one watching you. "Uncle Nasty" is out there prowling the Internet too!

image Widespread publicity, generated by the use of so-called “legitimate” spycam software in the ongoing “Pennsylvania High School Caught Filming Naked Teenage Students In Their Bedrooms”, class action lawsuit, and more recent reports from around the world of stealth webcam-activating malware being used to spy on young girls and boys, should be waving a bright red flag warning about the potential for webcam misuse. But, statistics show that most people pay little, or no, attention.

Average PC users don’t seem too concerned about webcam vulnerability, or worried by the fact, that some lowlife grub could be watching them as they read this page.

“It can never happen to me because I have the free version of AV-Poopscan installed” … right ?

WRONG!

“No LED / No Warning” Trojans, that switch on your webcam by stealth, were once a closely guarded secret. So closely guarded, that some “computer security expert” journalists, refused to believe they existed, and filed reports about them in the urban myth basket, along with hardware-destroying viruses, and alligators in the New York sewers.

But the fact is, organized gangs of professional cyber thieves have been using surreptitious webcam activation to steal identities, personal information, banking information, credit card numbers, etc for years. “Uncle Nasty” jumped on the bandwagon when stealth webcam Trojans turned up as free downloads on underground websites, last year.

Their use as “perv cams” has skyrocketed in the past few months, and now, hardly a week goes by without another privacy invasion horror story – some of them involving hundreds of unsuspecting teenage victims.

A few weeks ago, Audrey wrote to me:

Hello Bill,

I think your readers need to know about this. I downloaded the free Zemana Antilogger program you offered last month.

After what happened tonight, saying I’m impressed with it would be the understatement of the 21st century.

My 12 year old daughter uses her laptop in her bedroom (don’t they all?) and earlier tonight she called me in and showed me that Antilogger was blocking her webcam from starting.

When I let it run to see what it would do, someone, or something, activated the webcam without the warning LED lighting up to show that it was switched on.

With a bit of fiddling, I was able to bring the video of me looking at myself to the screen, but there was still no indication that the webcam was running.

I deleted the Antilogger allow rule so whoever or whatever it was is blocked in future, but I’m stunned that someone, or something, could remotely switch on the webcam like that.

They might have been trying to steal credit card numbers, which seems to be quite common these days, but what if it was some sicko pervert?

My daughter gets out of the shower and gets dressed in full view of that webcam. She could have been plastered naked all over YouTube and FaceBook by morning.

This sneaky webcam stuff takes “upskirt” to a whole new level.

That says it all.  Perv cam is the new Upskirt!

Just yesterday, here in Toronto, a pervert was arrested and charged with peeking up women’s skirts with a video camera, in a busy downtown subway station and mall. (Source: Toronto Star)

To protect your kids from “Uncle Nasty”, Zemana is offering Tech Thoughts readers a free 60-day AntiLogger license. Grab it while it’s hot!

Download the program from Zemana, here.

Then, download your free activation key from this special page Zemana has set up especially for Tech Thoughts readers.

This offer will expire at the end of this month. So, grab it while it’s hot!

To read my full review of “Zemana AntiLogger – An Ounce of Prevention”, go here.

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38 Comments

Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Child Safety Internet, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Internet Safety for Teenagers, Internet Security Alerts, Online Safety, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Security, trojans, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

38 responses to “"Big Brother" isn’t the only one watching you. "Uncle Nasty" is out there prowling the Internet too!

  1. Siam

    Wow Bill. This is really shocking. You always know how to scare me. You’re better than a Halloween movie fest. This is hideous. Insidious. Just when you think it can’t get much worse … then, bang, people descend to even lower levels.

    • Hmm, maybe I might have a future as a scary movie script writer, Siam. 🙂

      Seriously though, there certainly is a class of people who have no moral code. The Internet just gives then the opportunity to act out and be disruptive.

      Always happy to see your thoughtful comments.

      Bill

  2. Liam O' Moulain

    Bill,

    There’s no doubt about it, technology has given perverts a far freer hand than ever.

    Thanks for this.

    Liam

    • Hi Liam,

      It would be hard to disagree with your observation. There will always be those who will pervert technology, unfortunately.

      Bill

      • Siam

        That is, sadly, a fact. But are things getting incrementally better or incrementally worse? I love reading your articles – at least there are people like yourself out there who are fighting the good fight. Is it an uphill battle though?

        • It is an uphill battle, Siam.

          Certain cyber criminal gangs operate at a level of technical sophistication that rivals, or even surpasses, in some cases, that of the major players in the Internet security community. Given that the target group is undereducated computer users (most users), who treat a computer as if it was simply another appliance, like a TV, or washing machine, the outcome is preordained.

          In my view, the worst is yet to come, unfortunately.

          Best,

          Bill

        • Dave B

          No question at all, things are and will continue to get worse.

          • As a front line IT professional, you deal with the results of cyber crime every day, Dave. Your comment, based on your unique background and exposure, needs to be taken very seriously.

            Thanks for your support on this.

            Best,

            Bill

            Note to readers: Dave is a very popular guest writer here, on security related issues.

  3. Bill,

    Cell phones with video capability is another avenue that is being used by the pervs and thieves.

    This is really a super, duper, article… May have to do a web clip on my blog to this article.

    Rick

  4. Ranjan

    Agree entirely with Rick. In fact, mobiles phones (with video capabilities) poses a bigger privacy risk than webcams. Being, so handy and mobile, it can be so easily used to spy on others i.e. breaking in into their privacy..
    And Bill, what’s the read count of this article till now? This one is a great article, a real eye-opener.

    • Hey Ranjan,

      While I don’t disagree that video phones can pose a risk to privacy, I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here. Instead, we’re talking about a user’s own web cam being used surreptitiously against them; to invade their privacy in an area where the expectation of privacy is absolute – their own private space. A rather considerable difference from the level of privacy one can expect in a non private environment, I should think.

      In terms of read count, low/average would best describe it to this point. But, that’s not a reliable indicator of popularity. It can often take a day, or two, before popularity can be gauged.

      Bill

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  6. Murphy

    Hi,
    Thank you for this article and …. promo.
    Best regards !

  7. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Fortunately, I don’t have a webcam installed. Even if I did, and somebody secretly saw me in the nude, they would probably switch off immediately lol. But still, all the other features of Zemana help me feel a whole lot secure.

    Cheers

    • LOL! Same here Mal.

      Pass on Zemana’s offer to all those friends of yours who shouldn’t be seen naked either. I’ll do the same with my friends, and that way we can start the “You Shouldn’t Be Seen Naked” club. 🙂

      Have a great weekend.

      Best,

      Bill

      • I’m so ugly that if someone posted a webcam snap of my naked face on YouTube I’d be arrested for indecent exposure! 🙂

        On a more serious note … I learned today that webcam-based cybercrime has now become so prevalent that some law enforcement agencies routinely refer to it as “webscam”.

  8. dar

    g’day All,
    -You know those pesky car ‘check engine’ idiot lights that come on:
    electrical tape works great !
    cheers

  9. Bill,
    Excellent article on this issue. I’m afraid the Pennsylvania School District violation and the ensuing widespread media coverage you point out will bring out the script-kiddies (young and old) to do some “peeping” too…in addition to the organized cyber-criminals. Thanks for spotlighting this important issue.
    Best,
    Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      That’s a perceptive analysis, and I quite agree. When the creepy crawlies sense opportunity, they go on the hunt.

      Your thoughtful comments always add another layer to the discussion. Thank you.

      Best,

      Bill

    • It already has, Paul … after the Pennsylvania School District story hit the headlines, pervcam use exploded.

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  12. John Bent

    Hi Bill

    Downloaded the software and sent off for my licence, only to discover that it will not run on my 64bit OS (when all else fails, read the instructions).

    As I won’t be able to use the licence I’m concerned I may be depriving someone else. Is there a limited number of them?

    Kind regards

    John

    • Hi John,

      No, there’s no limit on the number of these licenses, but I certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Life would be a little easier for all of us, if more people though like you. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

    • Great attitude you have there, John! The world could do with more guys like you.

      Our view is that protecting your kids from perverts is too important to put a ceiling on the number of licenses Bill can give away (sorry we can’t help you with a 64bit version) … but we did set a limit of one license per email address.

      The same few “disposable email address” maggots trying for high points on leech sites by uploading lots of freebie keys are likely to take advantage of any giveaway, and they’re always “early birds”, so if the numbers are limited, many people miss out.

      Two of those miserable bloodsuckers generated more than 30 licenses between them within 20 minutes of Bill’s article anouncing the giveaway going online.

      “Greed” is a four letter word!

  13. John Bent

    @Rodzilla – Thanks for your comments. Shame about the 64bit version. Don’t suppose I can get around this by installing it in the (x86) programs folder? Otherwise will just have to wait for MS to change lol.

    Kind regards

    John

    • That won’t work reliably, John … the whole machine runs on the 64bit kernel.

    • Dave B

      As Rod stated, there is no difference between the Program Files and Program Files (x86) directories, other than the name and the fact that one holds 32 bit apps and one holds 64 bit apps, neither one has any special powers over the other. If an app doesn’t work on a 64 bit OS, installing it to the x86 folder will result in it still not working.

  14. good idea thank’s.. 🙂

  15. Hi rod, Greed is five letter word… lol just kidding

    Thank you for the share, just download one for me. let see how it works 🙂

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  17. Another grand-slam home run of an article.

    This kind of ‘scare’ might be just ‘scary enough’ to get those “average computer users” to wake up to this little cybercrime epidemic… Certainly lurid enough for the mainstream media to run with..

    Great job, Bill. I will be pointing my readers to this terrific, though-provoking piece.

    • Hey Paul,

      It’s interesting how mainstream media approaches computer security related issues. Talk about 100’s of billions of dollars in losses caused by cyber crime, and it’s a non-issue – virtually ignored. Through in a little T and A though, and they’re all over it.

      Thanks for this.

      Bill

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