Watch porn online? You should probably cover your webcam, say security experts

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If you watch porn online or take part in any other potentially embarrassing behaviour in front of your computer then you might want to think about covering up your webcam.

Security experts are warning about a rise in people being blackmailed by hackers who spy on them via their webcam.

The hackers are able to take control of the webcam and then record footage of the victim watching porn or other dodgy content online.

They then demand cash from the victim or threaten to release the footage.

According to CERT NZ and Netsafe there has been a sharp rise in online blackmail scams where hackers claim to have footage of victims in embarrassing situations and demand $500 in ransom.

Hackers can take control of webcams by targeting the victim with a phishing email which tricks them into installing malicious software onto their device.

The email normally contains a link or attachment which when clicked on or downloaded installs the software which enables the hackers to take control of the webcam.

CERT also adds that it does not know if the hackers genuinely have the footage or if the claims are just a bluff in order to get you to pay up.

The security firm says another method used by the hackers is to set up fake social media or dating site profiles, normally with attractive photos found elsewhere on the internet.

The hackers then become friends with the victim and build up a relationship with them online before encouraging them to perform a sex act or some other form of embarrassing behavior.

They then threaten to release the footage unless a ransom is paid.

If you watch porn online, the advice from CERT is to always cover your webcam with tape and be wary of who you accept requests from on social media.

If you find yourself a victim of blackmail online, never pay the ransom, CERT advises.

“It can be tempting to pay money to make the problem go away. In similar cases overseas, the scammers continue to ask for more money once the first ransom is paid”.

“If you’re affected by this scam, there is a chance that you could have malware on your computer system. We recommend taking your computer to an IT specialist to check for malware,” CERT added.

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