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28 Feb 2005

Student fined for spying on woman with webcam Trojan, Sophos reports

Eye
The Spanish authorities have fined a student for spying via a young woman's webcam.

A Spanish computer science student has been fined by a Spanish court for spying on a young woman via her webcam. The court in Malaga heard how the culprit used the Subseven Trojan horse to monitor the young woman without her knowledge, and spy on online conversations she was having with friends.

The student, who has not been identified and is only referred to by the initials "G.J.A.L", is said to have randomly selected their victim in January 2002 via the internet, and activated the Subseven Trojan horse on their computer. Once activated, the Trojan horse could invisibly monitor email communications, online chat sessions, and capture footage via the victim's webcam.

The student has been told to pay the victim 3,000 Euros (approximately £2000) compensation, and sentenced to a further fine of 3 Euros a day for 12 months. The court denounced the student for intruding on the victim's privacy, and illictly taking images of the victim while she was in her house, in front of the computer.

"It's remarkably simple to spy on another computer user, reading their emails, watching which websites they visit, and even taking pictures of them in front of their computer, if they have not taken the necessary precautions," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "We have seen a dramatic growth in Trojan horses which allow hackers to spy in this way. Every computer user should ensure their computer is protected with up-to-date anti-virus software, a personal firewall, and the very latest security patches."

Last month the Spanish police arrested a 37-year-old man for allegedly spying on computer users around the world.

Sophos continues to recommend that businesses ensure their computers are kept automatically up-to-date with the very latest anti-virus software.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.