IT technician ‘planted spyware on dozens of home computers

Daily Mail
09.06.2011
By Daily Mail Reporter

IT technician ‘planted spyware on dozens of home computers to secretly photograph naked women’

A 20-year-old man has been accused of planting spyware on dozens of computers to secretly photograph naked women.

Computer technician Trevor Harwell was arrested on Wednesday at his home in Fullerton, California, where detectives allegedly found hundreds of thousands of the pictures on his computer.

Harwell is accused of installing the program, which gave him remote access to the user’s computer and webcam, while working for a local computer repair company.

Fullerton Police Spokesman Sergeant Andrew Goodrich said: ‘Once he had access, he would take photographs of the users, usually women. Often, the female victims were undressed or changing clothes.’

Harwell then allegedly stored the photos on a remote server and eventually downloaded them to his own computer.

Police say they began investigating him after a neighbour contacted authorities over a suspicious message on his daughter’s computer.

The message mimicked a system error - telling her of a problem with an ‘internal sensor’ and advised: ‘If unsure what to do, try putting your laptop near hot steam for several minutes to clean the sensor’.

Sgt Goodrich said many users who received similar messages took their laptops into the bathroom while they showered, enabling Harwell, allegedly, to photograph them undressing or naked.

Spyware is a piece of malicious malware that can be installed on personal computers to collect information about users without their knowledge. They are notoriously difficult to detect.

Typically, they collect personal information, such as internet surfing habits and the addresses of sites that have been visited. But they can also interfere computers in other ways, such as installing additional software.

Full article

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