Are any of your photographs stored on your computer embarrassing? Would you want them emailed to your employer; or posted on the Internet? With the built-in web cameras on most laptops and the add-on webcams on desktop computers; it’s become very easy to take self-portrait pictures in sexy, nude poses. There is a Trojan called “PixSteal” that, once placed on your computer by visiting a malicious website, searches your computer storage for your photos and sends them to a central computer owned by the hacker.
These photos are scanned to identify nudity, or other sexually suggestive subjects. They are also scanned to pick up personally identifiable information (PII), such as a work location, what make and model of car you drive, your hobbies, the makeup of your family, whether you appear to have money, etc.
Nude and sexually explicit photos that you may have taken and stored for future viewing will be used to blackmail you.
The information gleaned from your normal photos can also be aggregated and analyzed in order to identify aspects and details of your life that will aid an identity thief to impersonate you. You know the rest of that story…bank and credit accounts are taken out in your name and used to take out loans and run up huge credit card purchase amounts.
The way to prevent this is to have a capable and updated anti-virus security suite of software running at all times. This will usually identify such a malware as this photo-stealing trojan. But the best protection is to not have photographs on your computer that might be used to blackmail you, or that contain personally identifiable information. You can store them offline on CDs, DVDs, or thumb drives; and still have them handy for viewing.
Reference: Computerworld.com article
Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
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