Leeds Magistrate Court, where voyeur Stefan Riga was sentenced this week. (credit: Wikimedia Commons user Mtaylor848)

A young woman contacted me last week after reading some of my previous reporting on Remote Access Tools (RATs) and how they can be used to spy on people through the webcams and microphones in their computers. The woman had seen an image in one of the articles that, despite being blurred, looked almost exactly like her and her home. She felt worried and violated—and wondered what else may have been seen by her voyeur.
Her story is typical. Few victims even know they are victims, sometimes finding out only years later when a security scan turns up RAT malware on their machines or when law enforcement contacts them after arresting a digital voyeur.
That was the case in England, where the National Crime Agency (NCA) last year arrested 33-year-old Stefan Rigo of Leeds as part of an international effort to take out the major RAT vendors. In May 2014, the FBI arrested the alleged ringleaders behind Blackshades, a sophisticated RAT widely available online for $40. Several months later, the NCA caught up with Rigo, a Blackshades user who had purchased the RAT using his ex-girlfriend’s identity. A search of Rigo’s computers revealed “a series of images that involved people engaged in sexual acts over Skype or in front of their computers,” according to an NCA statement.
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