New trick up paedophiles’ sleeves

23rd June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Paedophiles are using a new computer technique to trick and sexually blackmail children.

23 June 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - The Dutch police and the My Child Online foundation have issued a warning to parents about a new computer technique used by paedophiles to trick and sexually blackmail children.

Until now, paedophiles have frequently used chat programmes to make contact with children. But now they're making more use of 'Trojan horses' or 'trojans', computer programmes frequently used to install backdoor programmes.

A backdoor programme enables someone to access to another person's computer, usually without the second person having any idea what's happening.

Trojans are easy to create, the simpler ones using as little as ten lines of computer code. They frequently masquerade as benign applications, such as free screensavers.

When the user downloads the application, the trojan installs itself on the host PC and enables the sender to gain access to the user's computer.

What alarms the authorities is that paedophiles can use the trojan to gain access to the child's web cam and to take photographs or video footage of the victim undressing or taking a shower.

The paedophiles then threaten to publish the images unless the child agrees to take part in sexual activity with them. Many of the victims to date - mostly girls - are as young as eleven.

Police and My Child Online are advising parents first and foremost to install a good virus scanner, regularly updated, and a 'firewall'. A firewall inspects the network traffic passing through it, and denies or permits access to the computer it is guarding.

Firewalls can easily be programmed to exercise strict control over what goes into the computer. Above all, they suggest that parents agree rules about computer and web cam use, and tell children to disconnect web cams once they've finished using them, or simply cover them with a cloth.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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