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.