Thursday, August 16, 2012

School District Halts Webcam Surveillance

A suburban Philadelphia school district is deactivating a webcam, theft-tracking program secretly lodged on 2,300 student laptops following allegations the device was used by administrators to spy on a boy at home.

“I think given the concerns of parents and community members, I think we have a responsibility to at least take a pause and review the policy,” Lower Merion School District spokesman Doug Young said in a telephone interview Thursday evening.

The move came a day after the 6,900-pupil district, which provides students from its two high schools free Macbooks, was sued in federal court on allegations it was undertaking a dragnet surveillance program targeting its students — an allegation the district denied. Young said the computer-tracking program was activated a “handful” of times solely to track a missing laptop.
The suit was based on a student’s claim, acknowledged by the district, that the webcam was used by school officials to chronicle “improper behavior” based on a photo the computer secretly took of the boy at home. (.pdf) in November.

The assistant principal at Harriton High informed the student “that the school district was of the belief that minor plaintiff was engaged in improper behavior in his home, and cited as evidence a photograph from the webcam embedded in minor plaintiff’s personal laptop issued by the school district,” according to the lawsuit.

Young declined to directly say whether the program was activated in this instance to locate a missing laptop. He said the district only activates it when there is a reported missing laptop, and urged Threat Level to draw its own “inferences.”

“The only situation where the feature would have been activated is in the case of a stolen, missing or lost laptop,” Young said. “There’s never been any scenario used for any purpose other than that.”
Lawyers for the student did not return phone calls and e-mails for comment. The Associated Press reported late Friday the FBI was probing the allegations.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status to represent all the district’s 2,300 high school students. “Unbeknownst to plaintiffs and members of the class, and without their authorization, defendants have been spying on the activities of plaintiffs and class members by defendants’ indiscriminate use of and ability to remotely activate the webcams incorporated into each laptop issued to students by the school district,” according to the complaint.

When the district began issuing laptops to all its students two years ago, it never informed them of the tracking feature, said Young, the district spokesman.

He conceded that district officials went too far. The program was not intended to bring to light the private behaviors of adolescent boys, he conceded.
“It did not seek specifically to do that,” Young said.
The name and maker of the program, Young said, was not immediately available. He described the program as one that “basically enables the district to capture an image of the desktop and whatever is in front of the screen for law enforcement to help track down a missing computer.”

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Webcam Hacker Sentenced

Although a judge admonished him for his action that led to the suicide of his college roommate, a Rutgers University student who faced up to 10 years imprisonment was sentenced Monday to 30 days in Jail. See the full story at the below link

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Marisel Garcia first suspected something was amiss with her laptop when she noticed that the tiny activity light above the built-in camera flickered whenever she was in front of it. The Hialeah, Fla., resident also thought the PC's battery was draining faster than normal. When she brought her laptop to a friend who worked in technology, he found that someone had installed software that allowed the computer to be controlled remotely. What's worse, that person had been taking photos through her webcam.

Investigators say the spyware was created and installed by Craig Matthew Feigin, a 23-year-old student at the University of Florida who had previously offered to fix a problem with Garcia's computer. Police arrested Feigin, who now faces a federal charge for computer tampering, to which he has pleaded not guilty. In his statement to police, Feigin described how he had configured the software to take snapshots of anyone who moved in front of the webcam. He eventually amassed more than 20,000 images of Garcia, her boyfriend and other friends, and sent snapshots of their most private moments over the Internet to contacts in Eastern Europe. Considered tech-savvy around campus, Feigin was often approached by students who needed help with their computers, and Garcia was in town visiting friends when she asked for his help to make her PC run faster. He admitted to investigators that he had installed the same software on PCs belonging to more than half a dozen other women.

Read more: When Hackers Attack: Practicing Cybersecurity at Home - Popular Mechanics

Read more: Stop Webcam Hacking

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Webcam Hacking leads to Suicide

It started on September 19 when roommate hacked his room during a very private moment and tweeted about it.  Three  days later  Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old freshman at Rutgers University Jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River.  Read the entire story on the NYTimes.  Stop webcam hacking with the world's best webcam cover C-SLIDE.

Webcam Hacking is Real

Communications technology has become exponentially more advanced in the last 25 years. But has communications security? And are people even aware of the risks to their own security? A recent study found that half of all laptop users did not know or were not aware that it was possible to hack a computer’s webcam.

C-Slide a webcam company, concluded that about "1 in 2 Americans are clueless about webcam hacking." The release called webcam hacking "the latest trend in cybercrime" and stated that 51% of laptop users did not know it was possible for hackers to hack into webcams and look at you at any given time. They can even record your actions using your own webcam against you.  The fact that it is possible for someone to hack into your webcam and view everything you’re doing is a troubling and disturbing fact.

"Experienced hackers can access a webcam in less than a minute and can even turn off the light which shows the webcam is on," said Ron Gustaveson, President and Founder of C-Slide a  Webcam Covers Company. "Webcam hackers are the 'Peeping Toms' of today, and this problem is only going to get worse." Whether the company has come up with a unique gimmick to help sell webcam covers, or is truly trying to raise webcam hacking awareness, it put together a great product.

Maybe most folks don't realize how easy it is to hack a webcam? There was a huge scandal after a Philadelphia school secretly used webcams on school-issued laptops cameras to spy on students. Then Aaron's was accused of key logging, taking screenshots, and capturing video via the webcam of a rented laptop prior to repossessing it. Although Aaron's supposedly runs software called "PC Rental Agent" for remote capture to "assist rental companies in the recovery of lost or stolen computers," the court denied the injunction in that webcam case. Most cyber-peepers combine malware and social engineering, be it via an email or a malicious site, to infect a machine with a Trojan and take control of a webcam. Recently, after Dharun Ravi used a webcam to spy on his gay college roommate who later killed himself, the Washington Post reported that Ravi's sentencing renewed the hate crime law debate.

In conclusion Webcam Hacking is REAL and has the solution.  Protect your privacy with a SLIDE.

Ron Gustaveson II
Makers of C-Slide WEBCAM COVER
World's Best WebCam Cover.

WordPress canceled our Blog because we linked it back to our comercial site.  So, we will be creating a new blog here with information about HOW to STOP webcam hacking.