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Remote controlled webcam via SKYPE

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posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 07:50 PM
This is my first thread on ATS because I have had nothing to contribute until now.

On the 17th of November I received an email from an acquaintance with a link in the body of the email. This link turned out to be the trigger for what I believe(d) was an internet-relay virus. (Symptom being: when you do a Google search the resulting link you follow gets redirected to some other website that has nothing to do with the webpage your Google search produced.) Lovely, no?

The damn email was semi-flagged by my free AVG software. Said email was sent to my JUNK folder, where it should have just been moved to the DETETED ITEMS folder, but instead, seeing it was from somebody I know, I (very) unwisely tried to follow the link.

Bad times ensued. I ran an AVG scan, and it detected nothing. $60 Canadian for AVG Internet Security 2011, and slowly, after running VCleaner, and 6 other spyware/malware debugging scans, I considered my LG R405 free of that nasty internet-relay virus.

Why did I consider it clean? VCleaner, nor any of the other debugging scans specifically said they'd found/quarantined/removed the virus from my computer. But, the symptom was gone, and I was back to Googling. Problem solved, or so I thought.

Until today. Thanksgiving. I'm Skyping my family in St. Louis. Talking to my brother when the most curious thing occurred. The camera panned right and zoomed in on a picture on the wall. I was instantly blown way. I didn't think you could pan and zoom with laptop cameras! My brother noticed it in his viewing window, and said, "Did you do that?"

For the next 10 minutes that camera zoomed in on my brother's face, cropped his eyes. Zoomed out. Went back to "normal" for a bit. Then, uncannily, as we were in full blown hypothesizing-mode as to WHO was doing "that", the camera panned to the left of my brother to a spot above the stove, and zoomed in on the utensil holder, which is this ceramic character figurine, the Italian/Mario in floppy chef's hat and white apron. Each time the zoom occurred, there was a re-adjust for focus. (!)

It stopped being funny or curious after that zoom in on the figurine. My mom and nephew on my brother's end witnessed this, as did my 6 year-old, who was sitting next to me. We ended the call promptly, and when I called my brother on the phone he told me that when he logged off of Skype a message came up saying his password had been successfully changed.

I always assumed laptop cameras were fixed, in that you could not zoom or pan. I only include the bit about the virus because I instantly thought it had something to do with that. That maybe I had somehow transferred that virus to my brother's computer over Skype.

Still, it is quite freaky. Like when I walked past Hulk Hogan in the airport in Atlanta at 1 in the morning back in '89.

Can somebody set me straight, and assure me that this isn't NSA testing out their capabilities?

edit on 25-11-2010 by CRASHPROJECT because: spelling error: think/thing

edit on 25-11-2010 by CRASHPROJECT because: clarification: view:camera

edit on 25-11-2010 by CRASHPROJECT because: more spelling: there/their and skpe/skype

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 08:00 PM
that is one creepy story... I can just see it now... Horror movies about people's laptop cameras watching them... all of the sudden the world has taped accross every lense.

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 08:17 PM
As far as security is concerned I use Microsoft Security Essentials, it's free and works really well if you're running Vista or Windows 7. I use Avast anti-virus, it's free and probably the best free program out there. I also use Spybot Search & Destroy, it's also free and finds things alot of other programs don't. I had a program that I paid money for and it couldn't find things that Spybot found and it slowed down my laptop so bad I couldn't ever do anything. I have Skype. I mainly use it to call my Mom, she lives in Canada. I must admit I have a piece of tape over the built in camera. I'd try Spybot Search & Destroy, there's a feature called the Tea Timer, it sits down in your tray, if a website tries to change any of your settings Spybot will ask if you want to allow or deny the changes. Good Luck.

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 08:23 PM
reply to post by alonzo730

Thank you. I will download and install spybot asap. I had it on my desktop. Don't use the desktop any more. Forgot all about spybot! Cheers!

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 08:25 PM
reply to post by CRASHPROJECT

Your brother need to contact skype as soon as he can and report this problem!
You can find the email form here better to be safe then sorry!

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 08:57 PM
reply to post by CRASHPROJECT

So, what leads you to believe your malware issue caused your brother's camera to do what it did?

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 09:11 PM
reply to post by davespanners

I shall. ty

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 09:19 PM
reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II

A hunch, I guess. I may be grasping at straws. Connecting the virus to what happened with my brother's laptop cam on skype tonight is just a gut feeling.

What I do know is that I've never seen a laptop cam or any webcam do what my brother's laptop camera did during tonight's skype session. To pan to the right like that, and then zoom in on the figurine, and re-focus? Or when it zoomed into my brother's face, then cropped his eyes.

I'm telling you, when it did the pan, zoom, re-focus, the bottom just dropped out of my stomach.

posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 09:36 PM
reply to post by CRASHPROJECT

Yes that was strange, and your brother should look into it. That's why I keep my webcam lens covered whenever I'm not using it. I just don't see the connection between your malware issue and his webcam.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 09:56 PM
Reformat the HDD and reinstall OS.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 10:01 PM
reply to post by CRASHPROJECT

I've had numerous anomalous happenings to me while on the internet. I definitely think there is some type of shadow government involvement in my case as I was being offered a job for a defense contractor. These are new and dangerous times we live in.

posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 11:15 PM
Off topic:Wow haven't been on ATS in a long while. Sorry, I had to say it.

Back on topic: Anyway, what your brother experienced was called a RAT (Remote Administration Tool), it can be used to do anything on a remote desktop. You get it by downloading a file that is the server and it is crypted so an Anti-Virus scan won't detect it, or the server was crypted and binded to another file. The person who created the server through a program has full access to your computer as long as you are on the internet. Have your brother look up on how to remove the RAT, there are some very helpful forums that will show you how.

I would personally go to Make an account there and use the White Hat Section under the Computing tab

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