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21 Apr 2005

Man arrested for spying on 17-year-old girl via her webcam, Sophos comments on Trojan horse threat

Eye
A 45-year-old man has been arrested after reportedly using a Trojan horse to spy on a young woman via her webcam.

A 45-year-old man from Cyprus, has been arrested in connection with hacking a teenage girl's webcam, in order to take illicit pictures of the young woman in her bedroom.

The man, who has not been named, is alleged to have spied on the 17-year-old girl through her webcam after infecting her PC with a Trojan horse. According to police reports, the suspect - who is a computer technician based in Nicosia -is said to have taken compromising pictures of the teenager while she was alone in her bedroom, and threatened to send the pictures to her email contacts unless she stood naked in front of the webcam. The girl refused and contacted the police.

It is alleged that the Trojan horse infected the PC after it was sent as an email attachment to the unwitting victim.

"The last 12 months have seen a dramatic rise in the number of new viruses, worms and Trojan horses designed to spy on innocent users: whether it be via their webcam, intercepting emails, or monitoring keypresses to grab banking passwords. Sophos's labs analyse approximately 15 new pieces of malware which include this kind of sinister payload every day, compared to 5 a day a year ago," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "As well as Trojans being used for financial gain, this latest case has highlighted a worrying trend of voyeurism. Everyone needs to be extremely careful about their computer security to ensure they do not fall victim to an internet blackmailer or peeping tom."

In February, a computer science student was fined by a Spanish court for a similar offence.

Sophos continues to recommend that internet users ensure their computers are kept automatically up-to-date with the very latest anti-virus software, security patches and firewalls.

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.