Even webcams are susceptible to infestation from Remote Access Tools (RATs), though they may not be the same creatures that haunt subway tunnels or dank basements. RATs can be troublesome and, in some cases, invasive. RATs can be used to remotely access a computer and perform any number of functions, including turning on a device’s webcam.
RATs are capable of spying on people, but the problem (in this case) is that RATs are frequently used for other, non-invasive procedures as well. IT professionals will frequently use remote access technology to resolve potential problems within a system that they manage. Even some school districts have used RATs to gather photos of students in their home through laptops using a tracking system. In some extreme cases, RATs have also been used for blackmailing purposes.
The overarching problem with these types of threats is that anyone who owns a device is technically at risk, and legal protections and repercussions are somewhat limited at the moment. The laws that do exist are either outdated or their requirements for litigation are too specific, which hinders the victim’s ability to find reprieve, and law enforcement to catch the criminal.
Since hackers can safely exploit these flaws in legal recourse, they will often use the information obtained in this fashion to further torment the victims. Besides this, the personal information stolen by hackers could amount to a stolen identity, ruined credit scores, and far worse.
How to Stop Such Invasions of Privacy
One solution that the FBI director James Comey suggests is taping over your webcam. While effective, this practice is kind of annoying. Here are a couple of practices that you can use to keep security at the top of your mind:
Another major way that you can prevent issues like this from turning into bigger problems is to keep an eye out for the telltale signs of trouble. Looking for signs such as suspicious emails or the webcam light turning on without your permission might be the first thing you notice. You can take further measures meant to prevent infections in the first place by using strong, frequently-changed passwords, and doing routine file searches for anything that seems out of place.
We guess you could keep slapping a piece of tape over the webcam, but that’s only a short-term solution. Instead, we recommend that you reach out to Quikteks. Our trusted technicians can help you keep your PC safe from all manners of threats, including RATs. You can think of us as your very own IT threat exterminators. To learn more, reach out to us at (973) 882-4644.