Ransomware Uses Webcam in Scam

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 @ 05:12 PM gHale

It is an impressive crime where a faux anti-virus product blackmails people by secretly taking their picture with their webcam.

The malware disables your computer then claims to have detected viruses and demands around $160 from users to “buy the full version of product” and remove the threats, said security solutions firm Webroot.

Ransomware Running Wild …
Swansea Police Held for Ransom
Tough Ransomware Sinkholed
Teen Hacked, Blackmailed

If the user doesn’t respond within a few minutes, the malware takes a picture of whomever is in front of their webcam, shows them the image, and warns them the “infection” is trying to send the photo to unidentified users. It also threatens the virus may attempt to steal their personal data, such as credit card information, photos and emails, Webroot said.

The virus family, which first appeared around two years ago, just resurfaced and is on thousands of computers in the last few weeks, said Webroot threat researcher Roy Tobin.

He said because hackers who use the malware can customize it, the appearance can vary, along with the fake name of the software involved and the price demanded for fixing it. Tobin said the software typically demands around $160, but ransoms have ranged from $125 to $320.

Webroot researcher Tyler Moffitt said in a blog post the webcam photo scam “is a really impressive step in social engineering to scare people and I’m sure has increased the percentage of people who pay out.”

Webroot reassures users the malware does not actually distribute their image if they refuse to pay up. And unlike viruses like CryptoLocker, it does not encrypt your data, so it can end up fixed manually after the event.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.