If your computer has an integrated or connected camera, the answer is probably yes.

Being paranoid does not mean that it is not happening: the remote control tools known affectionately as RAT (Remote Administration Tool) are a type of Trojan that can control other computers remotely and, in most cases, undetectable. There are old and obscure ones, like BackOrifice (presented in the Defcon of 1998 to demonstrate the numerous vulnerabilities of Windows 98) or corporate and modern as Symantec’s pcAnywhere. Unlike other tools for hackers, RATs have become very popular because they are simple to use. Simply install the program and use the interface to manage all infected computers, including their webcams. Those used to watching Sex cams must be careful.

If our computer has been “ratted”, the camera could be turned on without us knowing or taking pictures every X minutes, depending on the Trojan and our own configuration. Probably the hacker has full access to our system and can create, copy, delete and modify folders; read and answer emails, install new software and run programs, change operating system settings and even turn on and off the computer without us noticing to get gas light. This is also easier than it seems.

Social life of a Trojan

To get a slave you have to have the user install the Trojan first, but obviously nobody knowingly installs malicious software. The most common and effective ruse is to fill the exchange networks and file hosting with executables disguised as songs or movies. Movies are usually compressed to facilitate traffic and, when the user clicks to unzip the file, ends with an alien instead of the last episode of Game of Thrones. You have to fear the files finished in .exe instead of .rar or .zip.

Another perfect site for slave fishing is social networks, where the artificial connection between “friends” provides a false sense of security. The most exquisite talk with their victims and convince them to open a link to a video or a photo. Others limit themselves to sending massive messages that say: Click to see an incredible video or signing to end censorship in the Middle East.

It is not enough to avoid strangers. When you get the first slave, it’s easy to use your personal email to infect your circle of friends and family. If a cousin sends you a message that says “click to see your e-card” it is better to make sure that the surprise card does not hide a poisoned gift, even if it is our birthday, holy or the day of the Constitution. Beware of suspicious attachments.

May the light be with you