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Is it really so easy to hack a camera on your laptop? The author of Media leaks, having read the latest news about hacking of millions of video cameras, hacking applications and sites where streaming from hacked cameras from around the world became an analogue of reality shows, decided to study webcam hacking programs, and also tried to find ways you can protect yourself from peeking anonymous and other online voyeurs.

Talk about hacking video cameras in our time have ceased to be something amazing. This has become so commonplace that some crackers (crackers) contain a website that shows broadcasts from non-password-protected surveillance cameras and webkos from around the world, while others  began to sell a program in Chinese social networks that allows you to get remote access to various video cameras connected to the Internet .

In most cases, the hacking of devices occurs due to the fact that their owners do not change the factory password of the cameras by connecting them to the public network, but ordinary webcams on laptops do not fall into this category. To gain access to them, hackers need something more serious than the password “admin admin”, and there is nowhere to drive it.

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The trend for webcam hacking has become very popular. Crackers (crackers) have created several specialized sites on which they talk about various methods of hacking computers, share their discoveries and successes on the trolling field in the corresponding branches of the forums and create their own assemblies of hackers that will allow those who want to start jeering at unknown people on the network without unnecessary problems with installing programs.

Eyes everywhere. Business for voyeurs

In addition to the trolls, those who are trying to make real money on peeping for outsiders also connect to cameras. VKontakte has communities selling access to various cameras. Most often, these are surveillance cameras installed in rented apartments and public places. It is easy to connect to them: owners often do not change the factory passwords, including the camera to the network, and the only problem for a cracker is finding the device in the desired location — and if it works as an installer or tuner for such cameras, the task becomes even easier.

For example, the administration of the community “IVMS distribute, sell, change / IP Camera” sells in the group’s built-in store on VKontakte broadcasts from cameras from apartments, ranking them by price. The prettier the victim of the broadcast (in the overwhelming majority of cases it is a woman), the more expensive it is to spy on her. The ceiling of the price does not exceed 400 rubles – for this money the administrator offers anyone who wants to connect to the camera in the room of a young girl.

For starters, admins offer subscribers a free-to-watch life in some homes where surveillance systems are installed in almost every room. Broadcasts are conducted around the clock, in some cases, the administrators sign them with comments in the style of “something a little happy here.” Also in the groups offer the installation of pre-configured surveillance cameras and even the services of service, replacement and product warranty.

Almost legally. How to crack webcams

Most often, computers are hacked using completely legal utilities, which are usually used as a means of optimizing the work of system administrators and other IT staff in various large organizations – TeamViewer, RMS, LuminosityLink, Radmin and the like. The principle of their operation implies that one of the computers on the network can be controlled by another remotely and within corporate networks this can hardly become a problem: every computer on the network is associated with the “master” general settings, their connection is often password-protected.

Such programs can be used by ordinary users of the network. You just need to install on two or more computers the equipment connected to each other by the same pre-designated settings — utilities of the “clients” on the computers in control and the utility server on the device that will be the master.

It is unlikely that many victims of hacking consciously set themselves clients of programs that will allow them to watch. In most cases, the client is installed on the computer as a companion utility during the installation of any pre-modified program (most often it is something free and downloaded from an incomprehensible resource). With the help of such a Trojan installed in the torrent search engine MediaGet, in April 2016, one of the users of “Dvach” led stream from webcams from different computers for several days in a row .

In addition to the official programs designed to make life easier for sysadmins, there are utilities that have been sharpened specifically for secretly monitoring computers. These include, for example, RemCam and DarkComet. The latter was suddenly linked to the Syrian conflict: as Wired writes , the government used DarkComet to spy on opposition activists, sending them a hidden link to its installation disguised as a pop-up window with a message. After information about the actions of the Syrian government appeared in the media, the developer of the application officially stopped his support, saying that he never wanted the authorities to use it.

Crackers believe that only their owners are guilty of hacking computers: nobody forces them to install illegal and unproven software on their devices. At the same time, they are happy to share their own illegal and unverified software with others to make their lives easier. However, therein lies a trap for many future victims: since they download a client that has already been tuned by someone, a priori they become a potential target for the attack. It turns out a kind of network marketing, but instead of the goods, participants send each other Trojans.

Ironically, the creators of hacking applications telling on their website how to hack other people’s computers are simultaneously connected with communities on VKontakte, where they report on information security and protecting a computer from various hacking methods.

Applications for Android work on the same principle, but license users protect to some extent. For example, the GPP Remote Viewer application allows you to receive data from a computer in the same way as TeamViewer, but while you download it from the Play Market, you can hardly believe that Trojans will not be installed with it.

With Apple products, the situation is easier to manage and more difficult at the moment of hacking: modern remote access utilities on iOS often require synchronization via Apple ID, and this leaves even less opportunities for quickly hacking computers or installing a harmful utility on them that will transfer control to a third party .

The editors of Medialeaks tested two common webcam monitoring and remote data management software – legal RMS and “gray” Rem Cam2. The table tried to hack Tatyana’s computer, throwing her personal in the yet not blocked Telegram with all sorts of incomprehensible files that should have installed the appropriate software on her computer. Everything on Windows, for observation, was used software without user modifications.

RMS, when launched, asked for many different permissions that should be ignored if you run the pre-configured version (or by you, if you are Hackman). In addition, to connect to the victim’s computer, the program requested a password, which Tanya hammered in during the installation. Silent hacking failed, moreover, when we connected the remote camera control, a corresponding notification appeared on the victim’s screen. Mamkin voyeur defeated, but only because he used legally downloaded and unchanged utility.

Rem Cam2 turned out to be much more useful in this regard – this is a full-fledged trojan, which even the user himself wondered about installing: no screens, the application quietly installed when Tanya clicked on the file icon with a silly name in the chat. Recognizing her IP, the cunning Table began to watch the editor who was working at that time, instead of working on his own.

Thin and sticky protection. How they try to fence off voyeurs

Unfortunately, if you are actively using the Internet, then completely protect yourself from peeping through a webcam and remote access to data today is simply impossible. This does not mean that you have malware installed on your computer right now, but the more you download incomprehensible applications from various dubious sources (or follow the links in letters from strangers), the more likely you are to stumble upon one of these Trojans.