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20/06/2013 13:30

Webcam worry - beware of cyber Ratting

New hack could expose you to the world


Webcam hacking (© Corbis)

The term 'Ratting' is trending worldwide, following a BBC Radio 5 Live report on the subject.

No, this isn't some small scale 'dogging' alternative; Ratting actually takes its name from the phrase 'Remote Administration Tool' and refers to a cyber attack whereby a victim's webcam is hacked.

Student Rachel Hyndman, 20, from Glasgow, is one such victim. She claims her webcam was turned on when she was in the bath (hopefully with her laptop unplugged or otherwise Ratting is the least of her worries).

She told the Beeb: "I was sitting in the bath, trying to relax, and suddenly someone potentially has access to me in this incredibly private moment and it's horrifying. To have it happen to you without your consent is horribly violating."

It's claimed that Ratters (we made that phrase up but we think it works) gain access using a remote-access Trojan and that stolen images are sold illegally on the web.

Childnet International is warning people to disconnect webcams when not in use - easier said than done though if yours is built into your laptop. It did, however, point out it only has anecdotal evidence of webcams being hacked and Joss Wright, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, said he was not aware of webcam hacking being widespread.

MSN Tech's advice is to keep your computer's security software up to date. We'd also recommend not using a laptop in a bath - get yourself a waterproof Sony Xperia Tablet Z instead.

Here's the Twitter talk...

@elizadonevan: Web cam horror story doesn't change the fact that the internet is a great and powerful thing that does lots of good.#RATting @bbc5live

@Lawrence_Jones: Is RATting the ultimate intrusion? The fact that you can be unwittingly recorded in the privacy of your own home is a huge concern

@UntamedBachelor: Its a warning to whoever is trying to hack my webcam, you'll get nothing but 16 hours of me poking finger in my nose session

 

77Comments
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Why the hell do you take a laptop in the bathroom???????????????

 

Switch it off, walk away, have a life-or privacy, both even!!  You can exist without them!!

20/06/2013 14:34
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ah yes the last minute list before settling into a nice hot tub.

book or magazine check

soap check

loofa check

laptop????? really in the bath i dont know about others but it's not near the top of my list of items needed for a bath.

If you cant go more than 30mins without a mobile phone or laptop or tablet then you indeed have a very sad life.

take time away from it all and just lie back and relax.

before someone starts banging on the door for you to hurry up.

 

20/06/2013 14:18
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I have a laptop and I have a pieve of paper I stick over its webcam when not in use- so even if it is hacked they can't see anything.
20/06/2013 14:34
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According to miss Morris, simple as 123,  switch it off to have nobody take a peek at you or expose your private to the entire world.  Prevention is better than cure. No Laptops in the Bathroom.   Simples!
20/06/2013 14:40
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Trying to relax in the bath... with a laptop? Really? There seems to be a generation evolving that cannot exist without a laptop /  iPad / phone attached to their person at all times. Everyone should be more aware that there is always someone somewhere with the ability to hack in and invade your privacy /personal details - that's the sad world we live in! Better to not put yourself in such a vulnerable position in the first place!
20/06/2013 14:25
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When your not using cam, cover the cam up with bluetac lools 
20/06/2013 14:39
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Why take a laptop into the bathroom anyway,do you also take it when your on the loo Mmm makes me think 
20/06/2013 15:21
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Webcams can't see through walls, what was her Laptop/webcam doing in the bathroom with her in the first place?
20/06/2013 15:44
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She took the lappy in to the bathroom to cyber with her boyfriend or girlfriend, it's obvious.  It seems to have backfired as she has displayed whatever it is she displayed to the wrong recipient(s).
20/06/2013 15:27
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Well it was like this, I accidently carried my laptop into the bathroom and accidently turned it toward where I would be totally relaxing in my bath, and would you know.................. the rest I leave to your imagination.

This person thinks we are as naïve as she is, I'm all for "a little bit of what you fancy does you good" stuff, but please, the poor window cleaner could have fell off the ladder with shock!!

20/06/2013 14:30
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I wonder if smart phones will be next.

 

Most of those have a camera built into the front. Trouble is, all you're going to see (apart from the inside of a pocket) is a face staring at the screen and texting away. Or possibly reading.

 

Hmm. Am I the only one who texts while sat on the bog.........

20/06/2013 15:42
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Laptop in a a bathroom seriously. Water and electric do not mix. One small piece of advice don't take laptop in the bathroom and cover the camera with bluetack.
20/06/2013 15:00
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Laptops, smartphones and tablets have many uses. Entertainment media is one of the common uses, Films, music, radio, tv, e-books to name but a few. I take my smartphone into the bath for music. If they manage to get the camera on the phone working, they won't get a pretty picture!
20/06/2013 15:53
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she will get over it when she puts a claim in because shes traumatized, wont be long before everyone will be on a new no win no fee bandwagon, a webcam in the bathroom what a joke
20/06/2013 16:23
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Very odd first why have the laptop anywhere near you while you are in the bath second why was it on and 3rd like most have said why didn't she cover the lens up.

 

I find it a bit hard to believe that she wasn't maybe on there with her boyfriend when someone hacked in that would sound more plausible and one last thing assuming this is true how would the hacker know she was in the bath in the first place I mean hackers don't just hack anyone Justin case  they might be naked just seems we are not been told all the facts here.

   

20/06/2013 15:45
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Actually doesn't she say  someone potentially has access to me,  not someone actually took pictures.  If they did, how did she know?   This article isn't very clear.  Is it there to warn people they can be hacked and lets face it how many people actually have their laptops in a wet bathroom. 
20/06/2013 17:21
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The only way you can get ratted is if you:
1. Download a dodgy program and install it on your machine
2. Expose your IP to strangers online
3. Setting up a dodgy RAT program similar to a fake version of Blackshades, etc.
4. Giving personal information or in some cases just connecting over an unprotected WIFI.

She has obviously installed "this_is_not_a_virus.exe" and expected it to be legit.

Put a sock over your webcam or better yet, don't use your laptop in the bathroom, you idiot!
20/06/2013 16:46
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Turn the damn machine off and get a real life!
20/06/2013 14:39
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where does it say she took the laptop in the bath?

she probably has an en-suite bathroom and left the laptop on her desk with the door open

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