YouTube full of tutorials on RAT malware designed to spy on you through webcam

Adam Benson uncovered thousands of YouTube videos which are providing online tutorials to wannabe hackers on how to easily gain access to victim’s webcams and computers.

Are you aware of the webcam slaving problem or the YouTube’s RAT issue? If no, then you definitely need to read this article.

The Digital Citizens Alliance, a United States non-profit organization that focuses on the Internet safety issues, has discovered thousands of videos on the YouTube which teach the future hackers on how to gain access to the webcams and computers of victims.

For instance, the organization discovered a particular video in YouTube which plays some romantic music and features a female who does not have the slightest idea that hackers are peering into her bedroom. The video had almost 37,000 views prior to being removed from the site.

It seems the video provided detailed instructions on how to take over the victim’s computer, turn on their webcams and some even provided the details as to how hackers can even interact with their victims. In short, the wannabe hackers are provided online tutorials to carry out these steps so as to ‘enslave’ their victims.

Adam Benson, a security researcher with the Digital Citizens Alliance says hackers install a malware known as ‘Remote Access Trojan’ or ‘RAT’ in the victim’s computer and are thus able to remotely access and take control of the victim’s webcams. This is definitely not a new trojan; however Benson says that the online tutorials are a novel concept which is helping the hackers to learn how to use this trojan and making it pretty easier for them to use on the victims.

Benson’s study has also revealed the existence of certain forums wherein hackers sell access to victim’s bedrooms. He says one hacker boasts he has “100 slaves” for sale. Surprisingly, buyers are ready to spend $5 to get an ‘access to females’ and $1 for males!

The report also uncovered certain worst scenarios wherein, victims have been threatened by the hackers saying they will expose victim’s private moments in case victims do not send their nude images to the hackers.

There have been cases of high profile ‘ratting’ as well.  Way back in 2013, former Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf, had her webcam hacked. Wolf was not aware of the hack and the hacker was watching her for months together.

While speaking to CNNMoney, Wolf recalled: “One night I had an email sent to my computer anonymously threatening me, giving me three options to do whatever he asked.” She said: “The first one being to Snapchat him, the second one being to send him ‘better quality’ photos, and the third one being to video [myself] for five minutes doing whatever he asked.”

Wolf then reported the case to authorities who eventually arrested the hacker.

Wolf says other victims still reach out to her with their stories, which triggers her memories of being terrorized by the hacker. She says: “It’s insane that literally anybody can get a hold of somebody’s computer and basically terrorize someone’s life just by watching a YouTube video.”

Benson reports that the online hacking tutorials usually are accompanied by certain advertisements which are played prior to the tutorials. One such case is the ad of Wal-Mart which precedes an online tutorial as to how one can take over an user’s computer.

The report mentions another ad for Kim Crawford wine which precedes the video “Dark Comet Pranking” wherein a hacker is shown to turn the teenager’s webcam on and then scare him.

Benson says: “Advertisers who spend a lot of money on online advertising and are invested in building a good brand…suddenly they find their products up next to bad actors and often criminal actors.”

When YouTube was questioned regarding this ‘RAT’ problem, it said: “YouTube has clear policies that outline what content is acceptable to post, and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.” Thus, YouTube clearly indicated that it is difficult for them to stop such videos from trending and YouTube relies entirely on its users to flag such videos under the category of “violate the guidelines” and only then it would take down such videos from it sites.

However, Benson says YouTube needs to take much more action on such videos. He added: “We would like to see human teams, human engineers, reviewing these videos,” he says. “Making sure that people are not victimized and re-victimized over and over and over again.”

The next time you watch any YouTube video tutorial beware …….. of such hackers!!!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! I miss the days of articles like this being edited before being published. LOTS of errors.

    That being said, go to an office supply store, buy a pack of adhesive “dot” stickers, and cover your camera. You’ll need to buy an entire pack, because once you start looking around, you’ll find you have several or perhaps even dozens of cameras around your home, office, and other areas you may have _some_ control over.

    Manufacturers could easily help with this by manufacturing devices with cameras to include camera covering devices. Wouldn’t cost much, but would go a long way to solve this problem, as well as protect the camera sensing element so it doesn’t get damaged by random strong and direct light. I saw a kiosk at a Best Buy selling an aftermarket device that does this.

    PLEASE get all upset about this. But then, realize YOU have the power to do something about it. If you wait around for someone else to do something, you’ll wait a long time.

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