Spanish police nab suspected creator of webcam Trojan

Spanish police have arrested a man suspected of creating a Trojan horse software program capable of making secret recordings of Internet users through their webcams and stealing confidential information.

The 37-year-old suspect is a computer programmer from Madrid identified by the initials J.A.S. Spanish Civil Guard units caught the man spying on various Net users through their webcams when they surprised him in his home on Monday during an operation dubbed "Tic-Tac," they said.

The man is alleged to have created a Trojan horse program distributed through peer-to-peer file sharing networks, like Kazaa. The Trojan horse can be hidden in a file for a picture or song, and once downloaded gives the hacker remote access to the victim's computer. The hacker can install a keystroke logger that records confidential information such as banking passwords, as well as accessing personal photos and other sensitive information stored on computers. What's more, it gives the hacker the ability to operate a webcam connected to the computer, and to view and record anything in the camera's field of vision.

Police characterized the Trojan horse as "highly sophisticated" and said they believe it has already infected thousands of computers in several countries. As far as they know, no commercial antivirus products are able to detect it, they said.

Because they have not identified which Trojan horse the suspect allegedly created, antivirus companies cannot say definitively whether or not they are able to detect it, explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

That said, since the Trojan horse appears to have been around for a while, he suspects that it has been seen by antivirus companies before.

It's now up to the police to share whatever information they have so users can check to see if they are infected, Cluley said.

"You could see how people would be quite disturbed by the thought of being burgled and recorded in this way," he added.

Spanish police were made aware of the Trojan horse in July when a resident in the city of Alicante contacted the Civil Guard through its Web site to report a computer problem, police said. They then launched Operation Tic-Tac, and by working with a Spanish antivirus company they were able to locate the suspect, they said.

In addition to catching him in the act of spying, police found abundant documents, recordings and other incriminating material in his home, they said.

"We believe he is guilty. We found a mountain of evidence," a spokesman for the Civil Guard said Wednesday. The suspect is due to appear in court later Wednesday. If convicted, he could face years in jail, the spokesman said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scarlet Pruitt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?