Scammers target teen by hijacking her webcam
A TEENAGER'S privacy was violated when hackers gained access to her laptop and took a photo of her using the computer's webcam before demanding money from her.
The 15-year-old from Sippy Downs, who did not want to be named, said she was doing homework on a laptop issued by her school when photos began moving on their own.
The screen then went white and the webcam attached to the laptop took a photo of her.
That photo was loaded immediately to the screen under an Australian Federal Police banner and a panel showed details of her internet provider, operating system and school login.
The fake AFP screen demanded she pay $100 or risk four to nine years in jail or a $100,000 fine for breaching copyright laws.
Hackers then locked her computer until the money was paid.
It's the same hoax the AFP first warned internet users about last year.
The girl's mother is warning other parents to be wary of the scam.
"She (daughter) freaked out when it happened," the mother said.
"People really have to be aware of who is watching. It's sad in their house that they can't go online without having full security.
"The most concerning part is that the webcam took her picture. They can obviously operate her computer. It's scary to think what else they have access to."
The AFP has received many reports of the scam.
They said the scam falsely used the AFP logo in an attempt to lure people into paying up to unlock their computers.
The AFP does not solicit funds and this message is not associated with the force in any way.
The AFP said the pop-up message was due to a virus on the computer.
AFP cybercrime operations manager, Commander Glen McEwen, said the public needed to be aware of online scams and put appropriate measures in place to avoid getting caught up in them.
"I urge all computer users to be wary of these types of online scams," Commander McEwen said.
"Users affected by this particular scam should not pay any money and should seek support from a repair centre if they need assistance to remove the virus."
The girl's mother took the laptop back to her school, which replaced it and sent the hacked computer to Brisbane for testing.
COMPUTER SAFETY TIPS
- Maintain current anti-virus software that is obtained from a reputable source and is regularly updated
- Ensure their operating system is updated to ensure any security vulnerabilities are mitigated
- Use strong passwords to protect their personal information
- Limit the amount of personal information placed on the internet
- Do not provide financial or other personal information to people that you do not know and trust
- Never click on links contained within spam or unexpected emails.
Anyone who receives a similar request or believes they are a victim of this type of fraud should report it to SCAMwatch on 1300 795 995 or go to www.scamwatch.gov.au.