After nude photos of Miss Teen USA were captured last year by 20-year-old hacker Jared James Abrahams, a global investigation has been looking into the use of personal webcams to spy on individuals. According to The Telegraph, 97 people have been arrested so far in connection to the spying software.
The software, Blackshades Remote Access Tool, lets someone hack into your computer and access documents, record keystrokes, and activate the webcam. The software is activated when someone clicks on a malicious link, often from social networking sites. This then initiates a download of the software.
Users of Blackshades RAT have been known to obtain inappropriate photos or videos and then ask for a ransom in exchange for keeping the content private.
Jared James Abrahams, who was arrested for capturing the nude photos of Miss Teen USA through her webcam, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the search continued for anyone who was involved in creating, selling, and using Blackshades RAT. Abrahams had sent Cassidy Wolf, the pageant winner, an anonymous email threatening to post the photos he had obtained unless she gave him more nude images.
According to European law enforcement agency Europol, thousands of individuals own the software, which is commercially sold for less than $US170.
After a two-day operation this week, in which international police forces conducted 359 house searches, the European Union’s Eurojust says that 97 people have been taken into custody. Of the 17 that were arrested in the UK, all are male .
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