Here is a hacker, who ended up in a lot of trouble after using malware to blackmail underage girls into creating pornography of themselves. The problem is it was probably a little too easy for him to obtain the tools, he used to pull his “hack” off!

This leads me to be slightly cynical that putting one person behind bars for 110 years is going to solve the overall problem, we are facing with the irresponsible use of technology.

Picked up this up from Sharon Gaudin (Computer World) courtesy of the NY Times:

A North Carolina man last week was sentenced to 110 years in prison after admitting that he and a co-conspirator hacked into computers used by young girls and used illicitly gained data to blackmail them.

Ivory D. Dickerson, 33, a civil engineer, admitted that he conspired with the other person to send emails or instant messages to underage girls as part of a scheme to trick them into opening a file containing the Bifrost trojan horse. The malware would give Dickerson and his co-conspirator control over the victim’s computer, and they tried to use hacked information to coerce the girls into creating and then electronically sending them lurid photos of themselves, prosecutors said.

Dickerson used all the normal techniques to monitor his victims, such as keylogging software. He also had a tool, which enabled him to hack into web cameras and record what was going on.

This concerned me from a privacy perspective so I decided to see what would pop-up if I Googled “hacking webcams.” To my utter amazement, I found some shocking results, which are pretty scary.

In fact, one site has a tutorial on how to hack webcams, using a Google search string.

In most instances, this can be prevented by password protecting whatever camera system you install.

Please note that criminals could use your cameras against you in a variety of ways that threaten both your privacy and safety.

Going back to the article about our hacker using BiFrost malware, a Sophos rep is quoted as saying:

The Bifrost malware, “is relatively easy to obtain,” said Richard Wang, manager of SophosLabs U.S. “It’s not something you need to pay for. Since we first saw it in April of 2005, we’ve seen over 1,200 different versions of this Trojan. The guys who write them are always trying to put up new versions to hide them from anti-virus software.”

I’m guessing that Mr. Wang means the malware can be obtained from one of the hacking forums that seem to be out there (pretty easy to access) on the Internet.

So far as Mr. Dickerson, lock him up and throw the key away, preferably on a deserted island. Saying that, here is yet another example that it doesn’t take a whole lot of skill to be a hacker nowadays. In fact, it seems to be a little too EASY!

It’s a shame that parents now have to become computer security experts to ensure the safety of their children. Maybe the answer is to take a hard look at all the enabling factors we seem to see too much of these days?

ComputerWorld article (courtesy of the NY Times), here.

Fox News has a pretty telling video about the subject of webcam hacking, which can be seen, here.

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