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A Spanish computer science student received a stiff fine this week after he admitted using malicious code to spy on a young woman via her webcam. A Malaga Court was told the perp - known only by his initials G.J.A.L. - used the Subseven Trojan horse to ogle his victim without her consent.

The culprit was told to pay his unnamed victim - who he selected at random - €3,000 compensation. He was also fined approximately €1,000 and denounced for illicitly capturing images of his victim, who remained blissfully unaware of his perverted behaviour. His lecherous behaviour only came to light after he accidentally emailed pictures to his victim to the girl herself instead of one of his mates, according to local reports.

Last month Spanish police arrested a 37-year-old man in Madrid on suspicion of using an unnamed Trojan horse to steal confidential banking information from net users and spy on them online. Anti-virus firm Sophos reports a sharp increase in the use of Trojan horses which allow hackers to spy on victims using infected machines.

"The Subseven Trojan horse was possibly the first piece of malware to include the ability to take over a victim's webcam, but it's since become a standard part of the virus writer's arsenal. Virtually every new instance of the Rbot internet worm, for instance, includes the capability to take photos and movies of unsuspecting computer users," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Some virus writers and hackers may simply be using this technique for their own personal voyeurism, others may be tempted to become amateur pornographers as many people have computers in their bedroom." ®

Related stories

New SubSeven Trojan unleashed
SubSeven variant rears its ugly head
Meet the Peeping Tom worm
Webcam Trojan suspect arrested in Spain

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