Ratting is the name given to the activity of hacking into a computer to take control of its functions. It comes from the phrase RAT or Remote Access Tool and allows third parties to access your files, documents and system settings. This in turn allows hackers to turn the webcam on and they can then see you through your own computer. Very often, these images and videos are appearing on social forums (including YouTube) and are being shared amongst the Ratting community.
Owners of these infected computers are known as ‘slaves’.
The applications that allow access to your computer are spread just like other viruses. Computer users are enticed to download the application, through online games, social sharing sites and so on. Take extra care when downloading files or accepting warning messages that pop-up on your screen.
Also, if you do have a webcam, look out for the ‘active’ light – if it comes on when it shouldn’t, disconnect from the internet straight away. Some of the more sophisticated RATs can now also turn the ‘active’ light off so you may not see this warning sign.
If you have any doubts, make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software and run it to check for any suspicious applications running on your machine.
Related news stories:
Daily Mail - They watched me in the bath via my laptop
Sydney Morning Herald - How hackers can switch on your webcam and control your computer
Yahoo News - Ratters - they watch you through your webcam