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 …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: integrated webcam

Apparently there's this thing called Wireshark? ;)

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Re: integrated webcam

"Apparently there's this thing called Wireshark? ;)"

You Wireshark. I'll Snort. Far, far, far, far, far less storage necessary.

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Mushroom

Ratters

Only found out about these wastes of skin a little while ago. Hanging's too good for 'em, evil f*ckers.

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Re: Ratters

The scope of this problem came to my attention a few months back:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/03/rat-breeders-meet-the-men-who-spy-on-women-through-their-webcams

Having young daughters myself, I decided to do a little further investigation on my own to verify. While not ubiquitous, it's certainly more widespread than I expected, or Mr. Dabbs seems willing to believe. Both in terms of the number of pwned devices the trading and selling of control of same. I've already removed such software from the computer of a female acquaintance last month.

Suffice to say any integrated cameras in my home get disabled and the external ones get unplugged when not in use. A simple enough precaution, no new laws required.

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Re: Ratters

"Suffice to say any integrated cameras in my home get disabled and the external ones get unplugged when not in use. "

I put a few pan-tilt model webcams in to keep an eye on my aged father. Noticing that one had a propensity to FTP out to an Asian host, I blocked FTP on my router.

Don't use FTP anyway, I use SFTP or SCP.

If the camera is sneaking traffic by that I have yet to observe, heaven help the observer.

For, they would have the great joy of seeing an unclothed 83 year old man on one camera.

That would most assuredly cure them.

But then, Snort would've caught such traffic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ratters

Got any docco on how to setup Snort to decrypt SFTP and SCP?

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Anonymous Coward

6 of 1, 1/2*12 of the other

"I like the idea of countering impersonal stats, which are laughably easy to fabricate and misrepresent, with a few stories of personal experience by real peoplewhich are also laughably easy to fabricate and misrepresent."

I think you had a minor spelling error there....

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Re: 6 of 1, 1/2*12 of the other

No, you can verify people's experiences, assuming you're not a BBC reporter taking everything at face value. The problem with statistics is that they can be manipulated to suggest anything you like, regardless of whether the original data was verifiable or not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 6 of 1, 1/2*12 of the other

Can you? How?

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Silver badge

Re: 6 of 1, 1/2*12 of the other

Both can be faked. You can check 1 anecdote, you cannot check 1000 statistics. Which one can you check and be sure of in a hurry?

anecdotes aint much help, but "I once skidded on ice" is a warning none the less as much as "50/1000 people skid on icy roads each winters day".

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Happy

Not quote up to BOFH standards, but entertaining as a Friday afternoon read.

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Gold badge
Thumb Up

Quality..

"Precisely why people set up their laptops specifically to face their bathtubs is curious enough, but I won’t judge"

Such a delightfully precise and comical stab at reality vs BS - priceless. According to El Reg I only have one thumb I can up, so hereby :)

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miaow?

Never realized that meow had a different spelling in the UK.

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Re: miaow?

It's cat speak for ciao.

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Joke

Re: miaow?

Substitute "the correct spelling" for "a different spelling", and your sentence is beyond reproach!

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Re: miaow?

It's cat-speak for Woof.

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Headmaster

Re: miaow?

"miaow" is a perfectly good spelling in the US as well.

Paul Gallico wrote a book about cats called "The Silent Miaow" - not "The Silent Meow".

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Silver badge

Bah!

Brainstorm was a great idea, well acted for the most part, hampered by early 80s film-making aesthetics.

I often wonder if the people who think the internet spawned the Rule 34 mindset ever saw it.

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Why not believe it?

It isn't incredible that someone would take their computer into the bathroom to read or watch stuff, although I gather that you're more likely to be snapped when the laptop is on your bedroom desk / dressing table. You should remember the recent case of a lunatic U.S. school that set up computers that the children used at home to do this.

The other side of the coin obviously is finding these stolen pictures or videos being traded online, which I expect to be not difficult if they are there. On the other hand, the world also seems to be full of people voluntarily doing all sorts of things in front of webcams. Even attractive people sometimes. So these snatched screenshots and these cellphone pictures shot up ladies' skirts are pretty pointless. Just get someone to pretend to be filmed unawares while they check how much of the crumbs from those wafer cream biscuits went down their cleavage (it's amazing: I think those biscuits are mainly made from crumbs: you need a napkin or something).

I suppose that if I was hacking someone's computer anyway to get their credit card and so forth, and tapping the audio in case they read their password aloud, and I heard them start undressing in front of the camera, I might watch. Given that we're already assuming I'm a colossal sleazebag, which in fact I'm not.

Also, there apparently are very many cases where the naughty pictures are used to blackmail people into putting themselves in a much worse and more humiliated and abused position - including, again, alas, children, who are both sexy and gullible.

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No one guessed the obvious?....

...... Girl has webcam session with fella, after break up it ends up on the net. To save face she responds 'oh my god the webcam was hacked'.

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Not just pervs

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/10/webcam-spy-settlement/

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Anonymous Coward

Eww!

That schitt is nasty.

Having spent life without parole in IT tech support, I've seen some pretty sick stuff.

The nastiest example was a certain laptop whose owner used it in such a way as to contaminate the fans, keyboard etc beyond hope resulting in the whole machine being returned in a bag marked "BioHazard".

The hard drive wasn't in much better shape.

I've since removed the webcam from my machine(s), on the basis that Skype works perfectly well without them.

Another good method is to make a "FakeCam" (tm) that generates a picture of a random guy staring at a screen on loop, so the person on the other end thinks it is just a laggy connection :-)

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Yahoo

Back when Yahoo had first come out with their video chat program come out back in early 2000's there was a time when hackers were hacking into live streams though a bug that was fixed extremely quickly as in hours or a day of discovery. I think they were using the yahoo servers to catch the streams live if I remember right.

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Those cats lead boring lives.

One of mine could have filmed himself sitting on the pavement talking to dogs being taken for walks. And sharing some cat-food I'd put down for a hungry-looking hedgehog.

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Silver badge
Happy

Simple solutions

Buy laptops with camera covers; disable cameras and mics through the Windows system screen. As for mikes, just stick a dummy connector in thee audio i jack.

And set up your software properly, especially Flash and Chrome.

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WTF?

Re: Simple solutions

I use a bulldog paperclip to cover the lens (but not the indicator light) of my laptop webcam. Easy to put on/off and you know when it's there.

Might sound a bit paranoid, BUT -

A few years ago, I glanced idly at my laptop during a pause in whatever I was doing (No, thank God, it wasn't THAT) and was startled to see the camera light was glowing, but without any screen or apparent program activity - and I never used the thing!

Never did discover what was happening, but it caused me to reinstall the whole system immediately - and dig out the bulldog clips, which I've used ever since.

It's a VERY odd feeling to realise that maybe you're NOT alone in your living room after all!

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They get what they deserve

For every hot babe-a-bathing they will be treated to 100's that are the likes of me, a middle age, over weight, frumpy old sack.

Let them feast their corneas on that ...

B

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Anonymous Coward

Living Space

While I appreciate that anecdotes may frequently be false, this particular story maybe more common than Alistair Dabbs allows credit. I managed network security at a large university including a residential network for dorm rooms for five years. Since a dorm room is frequently a single room shared by two people, it is not uncommon for a web cam to be positioned to capture most of the room. Yes, very private things do occur in dorm rooms. I had to investigate three separate valid incidents where female college students had their PCs in their rooms compromised and they obtained copies of "compromising videos" from published network shares. After those experiences, I ALWAYS cover the lens on web cams when they aren't in use.

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FAIL

Usual initial left wing diatribe from Dabbs

What a surprise, Dabbs starts an article with left wing political diatribe, once again Dabbs pushes his political agenda in an article unrelated to politics. Should I be surprised, probably not, it seems the only way he is able to start an article. It makes me wonder what happens when he goes home to his other half, does he rant on before asking how was your day, and does he do the same when meeting someone for the first time? It must make for interesting viewing at least, just watching their poor faces bemused and confused! Maybe I should just stop reading el reg. Change the record please.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Usual initial left wing diatribe from Dabbs

He mentioned St Margaret of Thatcher all of once. Take your head for a wobble.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Usual initial left wing diatribe from Dabbs

I think he did a fine job of shoe horning his politics into the story, it's not like the market has morals so he's perfectly correct in his "I can make money so I don't care" comparison with Goodwin. I notice you haven't attempted to counter his point at all, you just winge about the fact he's left wing.

If you don't like reading him, why not stop reading him? No reason to abandon the whole site though, his picture is at the top of his articles so he's easily avoided....

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