Botted computers owned by women and girls command 100 times the price of male-owned bots in a lively black market for hacked computers and images captured illicitly with their webcams, a BBC investigation found.
A webcam hacker who spoke to the BBC said access to a woman’s webcam goes for $1, the price of access to 100 computers owned by men.
Rachel Hyndman, 20, a Glasgow student who works part-time in a computer shop, told the BBC she noticed that her laptop’s camera appeared to switch itself on while she was watching a DVD in the bath.
“I was sitting in the bath, trying to relax, and suddenly someone potentially has access to me in this incredibly private moment and it’s horrifying,” she
Some of the Trojan horses that take control of, or “bot,” others’ computers now include software that allows the hacker to access the victim’s webcam without their knowledge.
Last week a Russian security consultant published a proof-of-concept exploit for Google Chrome that allows hackers to hide a script inside a clickable Web image that can activate the user’s webcam. The most recent version fixes the bug, and, in general, updating software helps keep users protected.
Security companies recommend covering up the webcam when not in use to ensure that hackers don’t see anything even if they do gain access.