Worm turns on webcams, lets author peek at victims

A new computer virus takes spying on victims one step farther than most worms — the malicious program is capable of switching on webcams, allowing the author to literally peek into victims’ lives. The virus, called Rbot-GR, isn’t spreading much, according to antivirus firm Sophos. Still, the technique is “creepy,” says spokesman Graham Cluley, and it brings digital voyeurism to new heights.

“It may become a standard part of the virus arsenal, like opening backdoors, and stealing keystrokes,” he said. With more consumers signed up for always-on broadband services, webcams have become more common, Cluey said. “So why not give yourself the ability to look at people’s webcams?”

The worm’s name — Rbot — comes from the fact that it’s designed to turn a remote computer into a robot that will do the virus writer’s bidding. There are actually thousands of variants of the Rbot worm, experts said, with a new one appearing almost every day.

Remote control of victims’ computers isn’t new. The infamous hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow published a program in the late 1990s called Back Orifice which allowed hackers to perform all kinds of mischief — including opening and closing CD-ROM drive doors and switching on webcams.

News source: MSNBC


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