Tech Today w/ Ken May

Yesterday, I gave a one-hour talk at the University of Michigan on remote administration tools (RATs) and the surprising ways they allow hackers, corporations, schools, and police to spy on computer users by activating microphones and webcams. The talk contains some pretty wild stories—but a woman approached me afterward to let me know that the craziest single RATing story she had ever heard just took place up the road in Detroit. And she was right. The actual RAT attack in question doesn’t sound particularly novel, except that in this case the target was not a young woman (the more typical victim, especially when it comes to voyeurism/sextortion) but a young man named Hector Hernandez. The 17-year old high school student’s computer was infected with a RAT, which the software’s owner used to spy on Hernandez and eventually record an “embarrassing” video of him. The RAT owner then approached Hernandez through his Facebook account and demanded money—$300, then $1,100—or the video would be released to the world. The blackmail demand sent to Hernandez’s Facebook account. Hernandez offers no clues to the content of the video—a long list of scenarios is not difficult to imagine—but in an on-camera interview with Detroit’s FOX affiliate , he makes clear that he simply couldn’t bring himself to tell his parents about the situation. The video was so shameful to Hernandez that instead of going to police or parents, he instead took an estimated $100,000 of family heirlooms and jewelry down the street to a pawn shop. He showed them his ID, which made clear he was only 17, but the pawn shop took the jewelry anyway—and gave Hernandez a mere $1,500 for the lot. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments        

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To pay off webcam spies, Detroit kid pawns $100k in family jewels for $1,500

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