PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
TheTechieGuy
 
Comments: 9
Article views: 2384
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all TheTechieGuy's badges.
 

Are you being watched by a rat through your computer's webcam?

23 October 2013, 13:35

Does your laptop’s camera light flash on and off even when you are not using camera programs like Skype ?

Do strange websites and windows open and close even when you don’t touch your keyboard ?

If it does, there is a chance that you have a RAT – a Remote Administration Tool that a hacker has infected your computer with.

RATTERS, as they are known, use this software to take over their victim’s computer where they gain virtually full control over the computer. Even when the victim reboots, the RAT software automatically reactivates allowing the hacker the backdoor to take over again. Having an Anti-Virus software is also not a guarantee against this kind of software as some of the RAT software is so complex and cleverly disguised that it is Fully Un-Detectable (FUD) by the anti-virus software.

You might be infected and don’t even know it.

And this is where the danger-factor comes in. Not only can a Ratter spy on what you are doing online, capture your username and password and see which websites you are using, but Ratters can remotely activate your web cam and record pics of what your web cam sees. Ratters can use these images to blackmail their victims as was the case where a 19 year Jared James Abrahams was arrested after he installed the RAT software on Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf’s computer. Jared then attempted to blackmail Cassidy with posting nude pictures of her online which he captured using her own web cam. Ratter use this embarrassment-approach to get their victims to send them more nude pictures of themselves to avoid the embarrassment of having their intimate moments exposed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social sites that the victim is actively using and the ratter has the username and password to. Ratter would often send “sample images” of their collection to the victim as “proof” of what they stored.

As people tend to download pictures from their mobile phones onto their computer, the ratter would then gain access to those images too.

The RAT Software:

It is surprisingly easy to set up this software. A couple of click and searched on Google and you have the software. If you don’t have any technical experience, then simply follow the YouTube video clips that show you how to set it up and what you need to do in order to run these systems.

In this example you can see the Ratter has activated the victim’s web cam and he can see everything she is doing in real-time.

Through his Control Screen he is able to send images to the Victim too – in this case the clearly shocked girl was sent an X-rated picture that just displayed on her screen.

Ratter also love to scare their victims and often send scary or disturbing images along with a screaming sound that shocks their victims and the reaction is captured.

Thankfully, most of these ratters are not sophisticated enough to know how to cover their tracks which is how authorities are able to trace them. In the Miss Teen USA case, Jared thought he managed to hide his trace by using anonymous IP masking systems however he left an IP trace. In this case it was the IP address from this blackmail email and the IP address from this Dynamic DNS provider that lead authorities to him.

Ratters used to be mainly male, however this is no longer the case where females are taking part too.  Although the female Ratters tend to be less aggressive in their exploits focusing mainly on trolling and scarring their victims. As the software is so simple, it is seen primarily as a game for teenagers to stalk and prank their victims where, just like bullying, they do not realise the trauma that these actions can cause and are seen as “harmless teenage pranks”. Needless to say those Ratters who escalated their action to blackmail have taken their actions over to the dark side of the net.

The Lesson:

The RAT software can not just “appear”. Your computer needs to be infected and this infection is typically actioned by you. Ratters tend to be young and initially would try to infect kids from school to see what photos they can gather and use as leverage. As their level of sophistication and confidence grows, they would spread their net wider infecting files on file-sharing sites such as illegal tormenting sites that host movies and games. They know that kids tend to click on these links that promise free games. When the files are downloaded and installed, the RAT software is installed too. So besides being illegal, these torrented files also carry with them the high risk of infection.

With the shocking rate of cyber bullying that has even lead to kids as young as 12 committing suicide, it is vital to make kids aware of this issue. If they suspect that their computer has been hacked or they have been threatened or blackmailed by these Ratters, kids must know that they did nothing wrong, and must be able to report this.

Parents and Teachers need to understand the severity of this too and so when someone complains of suspicious activity on their computer, do not dismiss it as a bug but rather have the computer checked.

You never know if there is RAT hiding in there…

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Luthando Taitai
Let's appreciate them while they ...

There is a tendency of only showing appreciation of someone when they are gone, how many people go to bed everyday deprived this important token. Read more...

0 comments 168 views
Submitted by
Joe Johnson789
Celebrity deaths bring violent cr...

The eyes of the world were on South Africa for about ten months the trial of Oscar Pistorius lasted. It was reported as one of the most watched media events in recent history. Read more...

8 comments 578 views
Submitted by
Manny Obi-Wan Meyer
The pleasure of finding things ou...

I have often wondered how the events of my past have structured my life in the present, my various skills and propensities, my way of reflecting upon the world at large. Read more...

8 comments 519 views
Submitted by
capetowndoll
God is tangible

I am writing this to let every atheist know what happened to me when I was deeply concerned about my mother. Read more...

285 comments 3034 views
Submitted by
Inspired Parenting
10 Tips for helping our matric st...

As more than half a million matrics in South Africa begin their exams, the hopes and dreams of our country rest on their shoulders. Read more...

11 comments 575 views
Submitted by
Percy_Makholwa
Mindless seriousness

The work place is at times defined by mindless seriousness, at least this is my experience in the South African workforce.  Read more...

5 comments 466 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.