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Beware of RATS, they might be spying on you from your webcam


Antivirus firm Symantec is warning users to beware of an emerging cyber threat, a growing menace of RATS (Remote Access Trojans).

Unlike Remote Access tools that are legally installed on computers to remotely manage your system the Trojans gets secretly installed and can take almost complete over your machine, initiate the camera and the microphone to secretly record your activities and spy on and gain access to files and folders within the system.

According to Symantec malwares such as Pandora RAT, allow an attacker to gain access to the following items on a compromised computer: Files, Processes, Services, Clipboard, Active network connections, Registry, Printers.

“Some programs also allow an attacker to: Remotely control the compromised desktop; Take screenshots; Record webcam footage; Record audio; Log keystrokes; Steal passwords; Download files; Open Web pages;

Display onscreen messages; Play audio messages using the text-to-speech function; Restart the compromised computer; Hide the taskbar; Hide desktop icons; Cause system failure/blue screen of death.

Most vulnerable to attacks are gamers. According to one report by Kaspersky Lab, PC gamers around the globe were hit by a massive number of attacks in 2013. “Currently Kaspersky Lab knows 4.6 million pieces of malware which focus on gaming, with the total number of attacks facing gamers reaching 11.7 million globally. On average, users were hit by 34,000 attacks from gaming malware every day,” the report said.

In 2013 Kaspersky said it detected almost 3 billion malware attacks on user computers. A total of 1.8 million malicious and potentially unwanted programs were detected in these attacks.

In its forecast for 2014 the anti virus firm said it expects cybercriminals to continue developing tools to steal cash – directly or indirectly. “To support indirect thefts, it is likely that we will see more sophisticated versions of the Trojans which encrypt the data on mobile devices, preventing access to photos, contacts and correspondence until a decryption fee is handed over. Android-based smartphones will no doubt be the first to be targeted.”

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)