In today’s world of constant Internet connections and online communities dedicated to anything and everything and how to do it, it isn’t just obsessed exes and the neighborhood peeping Tom we have to worry about. Now there are ratters, so-named after the Remote Administration Tool some hackers use to spy on strangers.
Most of the time, they’re men watching women by using their victims’ own webcams. It’s enough to make us wish someone would make lens caps for webcams, because electrical tape is just not as nice to look at.
An in-depth report on Ars Technica details the ins and outs of this hackers’ world, where spies can not only sit back and watch people from thousands of miles away, but can infect computers with pornographic pop-ups and whatever else they want.
And that’s not all — there are forums dedicated to cataloging lists of what many of the ratters call “slaves” and the photos, information and other tidbits they’ve culled from their victims.
“Poor people think they are alone in their private homes, but have no idea they are the laughing stock on” one of the forums, writes one user. ”It would be funny if one of these slaves venture into learning how to hack and comes across this thread.”
Many of the ratters just like to watch a little bit and poke around in people’s personal files, but many post lists of known “slaves” that might be more fun to look at, even if they’re just picking their noses. It’s a club filled mostly with men, and they all high-five each other when they find good slaves to monitor.
Using anti-malware software and running programs to detect and clean computers that do become infected can help in many circumstances, unless the ratters have sought out software that is called “FUD” — fully undetectable. In order to hook a slave, ratters need only get them to run a file, perhaps by using a file-sharing network and naming the ratter file after a popular song or movie.
So what do you do if you find yourself an unwitting star on YouTube as a result of a RAT? Treat your computer the way you would to protect it against any malware — use an up-to-date anti-malware program, update your operating system and make sure all plugins are up to date.
And avoid anything sketchy, dodgy or otherwise not on the up-and-up — don’t click on weird links or download attachments from unknown sources and you should likely refrain from visiting forums where such shady activities as ratting.
To dive wholly into the creepy world, check out the source link below. And be prepared to feel like showering immediately after placing tape across the webcam lens.
Meet the men who spy on women through their webcams [Ars Technica]