Remote administration tool used to spy on female users
Ars Technica this week ran a lengthy investigative piece on a disturbing subculture of men who make use of remote administration tool, or RAT, to spy on women through the Internet.
A RAT is a piece of software designed to yield a deep level of control over a computer on which it is installed, and typically gives access to various components of a laptop such as the screen, the webcam, integrated microphone, as well as files stored on the storage drive.
In this instance, the pseudo hackers either purchase or download freely available RAT software designed with illicit uses in mind. They then get them installed by victims using social engineering methods or by seeding them on torrent sites. Depending on the attacker, what follows could range from digital voyeurism, violation of privacy or outright harassment. The latter could be achieved by means of remotely injecting vulgar or pornographic content through the display or speaker.
There is no doubt that the majority, if not all, of the documented activities are downright illegal, though a particular concern is the use of webcams built into laptops to surreptitiously spy on their victims. Fortunately, most laptops come with a hardwired indicator light when active, though some low-end laptop models do not come with them.
What should be of concern to the enterprise is the ease by which users can be tricked into exposing their computers to Trojan software. Businesses should remember that a script-kiddie controlling a PC using a RAT malware could harvest sensitive data such as confidential files and passwords. You can read the article here, which outlines some of the mischief in detail.
- check out this article at Ars Technica