A new worm has been discovered in the wild that's not just settling for
invading users' PCs--it wants to invade their homes, too.
The Rbot-GR virus follows a fairly traditional malware route of
exploiting Microsoft security vulnerabilities and installing a Trojan
horse on infected machines. However, the worm also spies on users by
taking control of their Webcam and microphone, then sending images and
soundtracks back to the hackers, according to antivirus firm Sophos.
As well as getting an insight into homes and businesses across the
world, the worm allows the malware writer to take a look at information
on the infected machine's hard drive, steal passwords and launch
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said the virus
could be used for industrial espionage--or simply by a nosey hacker to
take a look into people's bedrooms.
"Whether this worm is the work of professional snoopers or lusty
teenagers--it's hard to say for certain," Cluley said. "What we do know
is that there have been a few hundred different versions of the Rbot
worm, all of which have been designed to gain some kind of remote
access to innocent users' data. This one goes further by also
specifically collecting Webcam footage. It seems more and more hackers
are building a cocktail of different functionality into their
Those who have the virus may be unaware that their every move could be
being tracked by remote hackers. An infected Webcam may show an "active
light" when it's being used, but Webcams without such light would offer
no giveaway the hacker is watching.
There is, however, one simple way to dodge the prying eyes of the
malware merchants--just unplug or switch the Webcam off when it's not
Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.