Ars Technica: How the FBI found Miss Teen USA’s webcam spy

Ars Technica reports on the arrest by the FBI of the 19 year old sextortionist who snapped nude pictures of Miss Teen USA.  “19-year old Jared James Abrahams, a California computer science student who went by the online handle “cutefuzzypuppy,” had as many as 150 “slave” computers under his control during the height of his webcam spying in 2012.”

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Essentially Remote administration tools (RATs) are a form of malware  surreptitiously installed on person’s computers by tricking users to open an attachment or visit a website that takes advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system, browser or browser plugins on the persons’ computer. Once installed, RAT operators have control over the laptop and can scan and copy files, monitor keystrokes for passwords to online accounts and also the ability to control the hardware, including the webcams. Apparently several webcams can be  surreptitiously turned on WITHOUT the light going on.

Sobering read.