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Webcam hacker-ogler jailed for four years

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A middle-aged Cypriot has been jailed for four years after he was convicted of hacking into internet webcams in order to spy on teenage girls.

The unnamed 47-year-old computer technician used Trojan horse spyware to gain remote control of a webcam and take illicit pictures of least one young woman in her bedroom. The teenager's machine became infected after she made the mistake of opening an infected email attachment.

After obtaining photos of the 17-year-old the cyber-stalker attempted to blackmail her into posing naked in front of her webcam by threatening to email earlier images to her friends. The girl refused to comply, and instead contacted local police, who tracked down and cuffed her tormentor in 2005.

"Most spyware is designed to steal your identity, your passwords or your banking information - but it is just as easy for hackers to program a Trojan horse to take over your webcam," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at net security firm Sophos. "It isn't a huge problem but there is a potential for targeted attacks, since more and more laptops now come fitted with webcams."

The incident is just the latest example of technically minded peeping Toms have hacking into webcams for illicit thrills. In January and February 2005 two unnamed Spanish residents were cuffed for webcam hacking in separate incidents (stories here and here). In the second case the Spanish computer science student was fined €3,000 for using the Subseven Trojan horse to ogle his victim. ®

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