One day in Melbourne, when the sun was out and the birds were singing, Matt opened an email and was greeted with a video of a man wanking.The man was him."There I was in all my glory," he told triple j's Veronica & Lewis. A 'ransomware' program had infected his computer allowing the hackers to film him through the webcam. Now they wanted money."There was an email saying they were going to release footage to all my Facebook friends and people I worked with if I don't pay them money.""Initially I laughed."He wrote back. Matt may have been feeling very much alone, but in fact he was part of an emerging trend of ransomware attacks in Australia.According to one, there were more than 200,000 ransomware attacks in Australia in April-May alone this year.According to another, there were more than one million instances of a single kind of ransomware (Crypto Locker) in Australia in October last year.But they could recognise their living room and from the angle, the video was taken they worked out that it must have been filmed from the webcam that was attached to their smart TV.There was no communication from anyone to the couple – no blackmail threat or revenge-type message.So the conclusion must be it was a random attack – we just don’t know.’ With Smart TVs now having built in webcam capabilities – just like with any other webcam – it is becoming important to think about the safety of that webcam, and to acknowledge just how easy it is for an embarrassing cyber attack to take place if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
The statistics from Australia's very own government cybercrime initiative are a lot lower.
The news comes via Laura Higgins, a representative for the Revenge Porn Helpline, who has revealed that people have indeed complained that one of their friends had accidentally found erotic footage of them – getting jiggy on the sofa – in front of their Smart TV, ‘We have dealt with one couple who were filmed making love in their living room through their smart TV by someone who had taken control of it,’ said Higgins.
‘The footage just appeared on a website.’ What is most peculiar about the cyber attack is that it seems to have been random, with no particular reason for the choice of victim whatsoever.
They chatted with friends, posted pictures, and when they were tired, stretched out on their beds to rest.
But at some point, each of them looked up and noticed the same strange thing: the tiny light beside their webcam glowing.
Most people have heard the famous saying ‘get a room.’ Now, due to the actions of cybercriminals, the phrase is taking on a more modern meaning that has got quite a few people worried that they may be the next viral internet sensation. While most people are aware that hackers can use malware to take over a laptop or PC webcam, they may not realise that hackers have been discovered hacking Smart TVs in order to get footage of couples having sex on the sofa.
With that in mind (if you own a Smart TV or laptop with a webcam) the next time you start to get hot under the collar while watching your favorite TV show with your partner: You may want to move through to the bedroom or else face the very real possibility that you could end up an Internet porn star.
A hacker who used the notorious Blackshades RAT malware to hijack webcams on computers, and secretly watch people engaged in sexual activity, has avoided prison. Rigo could have probably done with some more Vitamin D in his diet through a dose of sunlight.
Stefan Rigo, of Leeds in the United Kingdom, was said to have voyeuristically observed his victims – over half of whom were personally known to him – for between five and 12 hours each day, seeing everything they did in front of their computer. Rigo’s unhealthy obssession saw him spy upon individuals, some while they were using Skype to have private, intimate chats with other users.
In addition to observing his victims through their hijacked webcam, Rigo was also capable of stealing passwords from infected computers, reading email conversations, launch denial-of-service attacks, access banking data and so forth…
Rigo was arrested in November 2014, as part of an international operation rounding up hackers suspected of remotely hijack other people’s computers.