- Charity The Cybersmile Foundation says problem is ‘scariest we’ve seen’
- Abusers use computer viruses switch on victims’ webcams
- They threaten to post pictures online if child doesn’t cooperate
By AARON SHARP
Paedophiles are blackmailing children into performing sex acts by secretly filming them and threatening to share the images if they don’t take part in sex games, a charity has claimed.
Abusers are using sites like Facebook, Skype and Chatroulette to help find youngsters who have access to webcams, before targeting hacking their PCs and laptops.
They exploit computer viruses which can grant access to a victim’s computer, enabling them to turn on the webcam of a bedroom computer and begin recording.
A charity has claimed that this type of crime is being reported to them more frequently as computers with in-built cameras become commonplace in homes.
Anti-online bullying and harassment foundation, the Cybersmile Foundation, said that hackers can track down their victims using special search engines.
Once a child has been identified, the attacker uses computer viruses known as trojans which rants them remote access to the targeted PC.
When the connection is established, the hacker will turn on the webcam and begin secretly recording the victim.
The only way for the webcam’s owner to know their machine has been tampered with is if a small light or LED flashes when recording.
Scott Freeman, the founder of Cybersmile, said the issue is ‘one of the scariest things we have seen’.
He said: ‘(The blackmailers) have this material, them getting dressed or undressed or whatever.
‘They want them to do more, to do sexual stuff. I have got my daughter to put a plaster over her webcam, that is how real the worry is.’
The charity confirmed that they have received five reports of this type of blackmail in the last three months.
Mr Freeman said: ‘If we are getting people contacting us then the real number of victims is obviously much, much higher.’
This year a hacker in America was jailed after for accessing the webcam of the current Miss Teen USA and taking pictures of her while she was naked.
Internet safety expert Charles Conway, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Users will be tricked into downloading a virus, which may be embedded in a simple piece of software such as a screensaver, or included in a download of a popular music album or movie downloaded from a pirate website or file sharing service.’
He said hackers have accessed cameras in children’s bedrooms, daycare centres, living rooms and restaurants and have reported being able to take control of cameras, moving them and taking footage remotely.
He added: ‘Parents would never allow a stranger to take a photo of their child in the park or the swimming pool, but by not taking simple precautionary measures this could be happening in their child’s bedroom.