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back to article Pussy galore: Bubble-bath webcam spy outrage

“I can make money from it, so why not?” This was a soundbite from a Radio 5 Live phone interview with a “Finnish webcam hacker” who claimed to have “sold” the ability to watch women as they sit in front of their laptops. The reporter and presenters were suitably appalled at the callous and blatant admission, and everyone agreed …

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Laptops in the bath?

What sort of wally takes an expensive laptop into the bath with them to watch a DVD? Even if it doesn't fall in the bath, I doubt if spending time in a damp and steamy bathroom does the electronics much good. That's why I like cheap second-hand paperbacks - if they end up in the water they don't electrocute you and are cheap. Can't say the same for an e-reader or laptop.

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Re: Laptops in the bath?

My other half does this. Now, to hack into her webcam... oh, or I could just wait until she gets out of the bath.

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Coat

Re: Laptops in the bath?

I thought the scam involved telling the user that there was a problem, and that they needed to put the laptop in a humid environment (such as a steamy bathroom) to solve it.

So you see... not so stupid after all.

Oh, right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Laptops in the bath?

well actually I have done this...

BUT all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active... so if you see it on, get suspicious.. otherwise don't worry... to me its the invasion of privacy, I don't care if I am full clothed or naked!

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Happy

Re: Laptops in the bath?

You don't put the laptop IN the bath! just prop it up somewhere convenient to see the screen, like on the loo seat.

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Stop

all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active..

surely if the webcam can be turned on without your knowing, the light could also be disabled ?

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Stop

Re: all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active..

>> surely if the webcam can be turned on without your knowing, the light could also be disabled ?

Thankfully this is usually not software controllable, and the LED is hooked into the circuit that activates the sensor.

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Re: Laptops in the bath?

I have a number of webcams of varying ages. Only 1 has a light which goes on to say it's active. The others either have no light or it's simply a power indicator.

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Re: Laptops in the bath?

Pretty sure by the time they started being built in to laptops the LED became a standard feature.

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Camera LED's

Camera 1: LED can be controlled independently by hacking the firmware.

Camera 2: No LED.

If you want to be sure of privacy, use a lens cover.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active..

... But surely it is a requirement within the licensing package(s) for the "anti-piracy" measures that the LED is controllable by the content providers? To protect the children ....

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Re: all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active..

Nope, the LED is software controlled. Now it might be that the software driver doesn't expose the two features independently but the image sensor itself is quite able to start/stop image capture without any LED being turned on/off.

Actually none of the 8 laptops in my house have an LED that activates when the web camera is turned on, either.

Robin

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Anonymous Coward

Re: all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active..

I quite often use my laptop in the bath. It rests on the side and I can type into it fine, although I wouldn't want to do any serious writing or coding like that. If it fell into the bath (it never has because I position it so it can't) it'll probably be knackered, but it's all backed up and I'll get a new one from my employer.

I'm pretty confident this will never happen though.

I also join conference calls from the bath, and the bog for that matter. Handy thing, the mute button. Nobody ever knows.....

As for the webcam, there's a light which comes on, and even if someone could see me, they're not going to see anything exciting. Just my face watching the screen. Potentially a little screwed up if I'm squeezing one out.

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Re: Laptops in the bath?

"My other half does this. Now, to hack into her webcam... oh, or I could just wait until she gets out of the bath."

Strange notion. I would just join her in the bath.

Of course, that would end up necessitating another bath.

But then, we have a large bathtub and keep that ancient iron thing for just that reason.

No webcam needed. :)

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Re: Laptops in the bath?

"BUT all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active... "

Not really, I recall some ancient malware that activated a webcam and didn't turn on the indicator light. Memory recalls something about Yahoo messenger, though the years could be betraying me.

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Re: all webcams I know have a light on them to indicate if they are active..

"Thankfully this is usually not software controllable, and the LED is hooked into the circuit that activates the sensor."

Not the last time I saw driver software for a webcam.

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Re: Camera LED's

If I ever bring my laptop into the bathroom, I'll not bother.

The last stranger who caught a look at my bum turned to stone and remains that way still.

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Happy

"...Itani wins this month’s Spirited Away American Dub..."

Ah. You've never seen any of the BAD (Bad American Dubbing) anime compilations then?

My personal prize example is home-grown though. That's the (now very) old Crusader Video dub of "All purpose cultural Catgirl NukuNuku", which features the two henchgirl pilot types with comedy Brummie accents. Hysterical.

Many years ago, at an anime convention, one of the lads I'd been hanging around with proudly produced a copy of this which he'd just picked up secondhand, saving him the cost of the three individual NukuNuku videos he'd been thinking of buying. I pointed out that the woman who had been behind Crusader Video was on the other side of the room and I was sure that, if he asked nicely, she'd sign it for him.

I can be a right bastard at times......

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you don't want to cam your kids

Because you really don't want to know what they get up to, just that they get home in one piece.

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Re: you don't want to cam your kids

Might be useful to help with bullying though. Video evidence of the big bully billy beating britanny black and blue because her braids brushed his bacon bap.

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Re: you don't want to cam your kids

"Because you really don't want to know what they get up to"

You don't need to - you were doing it when you were their age.

( and if you weren't, why not?)

You survived - and what a great time it was, too.

My kids knew I'd not go apeshit if something happened but find out if they were O.K. first.

I was that parent my kids could ring to collect from a party and sober up a 15yr old who was crapping themselves due to over-protective parents.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: you don't want to cam your kids

"You don't need to - you were doing it when you were their age."

I once made that observation to my sister over some rather rigid proscription she had introduced for her kids. Her response was "Yes - and that's why they not allowed to do it".

A friend had a similar attitude. Her teenage children used to "confess" to me - rather than put their father in the awkward bind of knowing the transgression. They would also say "but don't tell Mum". To which my answer was "as long as you never tell her I knew".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: you don't want to cam your kids

You need to give your kids the freedom to make their own discoveries, and the protection to make sure those discoveries don't kill them.

If your kids don't occasionally give you a heart attack you haven't lived, or don't have kids at all :)

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Re: you don't want to cam your kids

"You don't need to - you were doing it when you were their age."

Not I. Back then, we were pure personal interaction only. Indeed, cameras only used film back then, there was digital image processing was in its very infancy.

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Re: you don't want to cam your kids

"You need to give your kids the freedom to make their own discoveries, and the protection to make sure those discoveries don't kill them."

True enough, though the first lesson is "tell him to vulcanize that vagabond".

A lesson my sister in law didn't impart, resulting in a teen pregnancy and her now incessant babysitting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: you don't want to cam your kids

"You don't need to - you were doing it when you were their age."

"You need to give your kids the freedom to make their own discoveries, and the protection to make sure those discoveries don't kill them."

Why I refuse to have kids in the first place, otherwise I agree, has the harm happened,you got a kid, you need to do the best of it.

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Unhappy

/I/ wasn't doing /that/ at that age.

Boy did I miss out!

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Goddamn

I hate cats.

That is all.

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Re: Goddamn

"I hate cats."

Cats taste good.

At least, that is what my cats convinced themselves of when they stepped into my snoring mouth in the middle of the night. :/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Soft fluffy paws

They use them to bury their poop.

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Trollface

Or in summary...

‘Pics or it didn’t happen’…

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Re: Or in summary...

I thought that was a reply to Goldmember's comment

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Facepalm

All this controversy about Google Glass

And cats have been secretly filming us for ages.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All this controversy about Google Glass

It must've been quite bad actually. The amount of times cats have tried to follow me into the bathroom is unbelieavable. How many hours of footage did they have of a cat staring at somebody trying to drop a duece.

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Coat

Re: All this controversy about Google Glass

How many hours of footage did they have of a cat staring at somebody trying to drop a duece.

However, this may explain why people have been patenting plop filters..

The dirty Mac, thanks.

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Re: All this controversy about Google Glass

"The amount of times cats have tried to follow me into the bathroom is unbelieavable."

I let them. They beat a hasty retreat once I began to, erm, produce.

Regrettably, my bum insisted I remain with it during the process, to admire the newly peeling paint...

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Re: All this controversy about Google Glass

The amount of times cats have tried to follow me into the bathroom is unbelieavable.

Tried? Mine wander in all the time. When I lived on my own, they figured out that it was a perfect time to pester me for attention; captive audience and all that.

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Anonymous Coward

Friday

I understand that concept, even though it might be somewhat blurred for all of us (?) freelancers, contractors, outsourcees, etc.. Still, I lost the plot over the point of the text. Was there any point? Like... there's no hacking via webcam, it's an urban myth? There is webcam hacking, but it's blown out of proportions? Is the heroine (attractive, isn't she?) talking pants, innocently, or on purpose, to gain her 5 milliseconds of fame? Is is a part of a quiet government PR campaign to censor the internet (further)? Or am I looking for a point, where there's none, because it's like, Friday?

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Coat

Re: Friday

More likely, talking lack of pants.

I'm not wearing a coat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Friday

> I lost the plot over the point of the text. Was there any point?

Yes. It's about pussies on camera.

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Re: Friday

"Yes. It's about pussies on camera."

Or more often, granny panties on camera.

Or worse, my hairy bum. One that has grown, along with my waistline since my retirement from the military and my muscles retired downward.

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Re: "...kick it under the fir tree and urinate on it..."

It's an imperious feline. It would have you do the kicking and the urinating.

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Mushroom

Senses working overtime

My own personal fear of Google Glass is not so much that I might leave them on while having a post-coital bath so much as while having a post-curry dump

It could be worse - at least they only deal with vision rather than all five senses (or at least don't include smell-o-vision).

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Pint

"Can you straighten the camera a bit? I'm getting an awful crick in my neck, and it's playing havoc with my fapteknik"

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Meh

blah

no new laws required covered by existing hacking laws isn't it ?

IANAL

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Happy

integrated webcam

My company laptop has an integrated webcam and even though it has a light that shows when it's on and i'm confident i can't be spied on, i still cover the lens when i set it up at home. A healthy dose of paranoia is a good thing when you're online.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: integrated webcam

It is always wise to remember Murphy's Law - "If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong - at the worst possible moment".

There is a corollary - "Anything you consciously do to avoid a problem is likely to increase the chance of it happening".

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Re: integrated webcam

Yes, a bit of duct tape over the lens, and perhaps over the microphone are a cheap way of helping to secure your privacy. Another idea is to get a Raspberry Pi computer and set it up as a logging device on your internet connection. place it in the line between your internet connection and router and log all the packets, IT might be interesting to see what is really in the traffic.

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Nothing to do with the article..

Corollary - New word of the week.

Cheers!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: integrated webcam

"IT might be interesting to see what is really in the traffic."

Unfortunately the amount of network traffic generated by PCs these days bears no relationship to the apparently idling UI state. Just about everything wants to phone home on a regular basis. Even with a good abstraction analysis it is hard to sort the wheat from the chaff unless you know specifically what you are expecting for a particular function.

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