There has been a long and sordid history of internet perverts and peeping Toms hacking into computers, and secretly taking images and videos of their victims via the webcam.One recent victim was Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who was secretly spied upon in her bedroom by a hacker who took photographs and threatened to release them to the public.Here, for instance, is a photograph of a white Mac Book Core 2 Duo.You can tell from the photograph that the laptop is capturing video via its webcam (known as its intenal i Sight in Apple parlance).Every online scam begins more or less the same—a random e-mail, a sketchy attachment.
But at some point, each of them looked up and noticed the same strange thing: the tiny light beside their webcam glowing.
Attached to the note was a file labeled simply SCARY. Yeah, the IM had come from her account, but she hadn't sent it. That night, Suzy's 20-year-old friend Nila Westwood got the same note, the same attachment. When she called her friend to see what she'd missed, things actually got freaky: Suzy'd never sent a thing.
Melissa wondered why her goof-off sister was IM'ing from the next room instead of just padding over—she wasn't usually that lazy—so she walked over to see what was up. Unlike Melissa, she opened it, expecting, say, a video of some guy stapling his lip to his chin on You Tube. The girls pieced together the clues and agreed: Suzy's AOL account had been hacked.
For the next couple of weeks, the girls remained watchful for malware, insidious software capable of wreaking all sorts of havoc.
But with no sign of trouble on their machines—no slow performance, no deleted files, no alerts from antivirus programs—they pretty much forgot about it. Suzy, Melissa, and Nila went about their lives online and off.