Webcams can be exploited in numerous ways, such as clickjacking, so that the “record” light does not come on even though the webcam is recording. For that reason alone, it’s wise to always keep your webcam covered by a sticky note or a piece of tape when you’re not using it. Perhaps that’s something even hackers need to be reminded of every once in a while.
Anonymity is not the same thing as privacy, but both are nearly possible to maintain on the Internet. There are cautious privacy-aware people who don't overshare and “it’s-all-about-me” social media narcissists who share everything; some folks use real names and view the use of pseudonyms as “suspicious” and even subscribe to the stupid “nothing to hide” privacy argument. There's people who literally hide nothing and put on a show via webcam. Then there’s people hoping to stay anonymous because they actually are doing something illegal that they hope to hide. No matter who you are, whether you choose to share everything, nothing, or are a teen beauty queen, you should cover your webcam until you need it.
Although some people in hacktivist groups could fall in either category, either crave or shy away from public attention, it seems like both types tend to do a lot of doxing. That’s when personal information like real name, aliases, address, phone number, and sometimes sensitive info like credit card numbers get dumped on the Internet. Sadly, that sort of thing happens frequently.
There seems to be a hashtag for everything, from brands to illegal hacking operations. Regarding #OpIsrael, it’s a “massive cyberattack” carried out every year on April 7, “the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day,” with a goal of "erasing Israel from the internet."
Last week in a counter-attack against OpIsrael, pro-Israel hacker “Buddhax” hijacked the webcams of anti-Israel hackers. The Times of Israel reported:
While Anonymous hackers were attacking Israeli sites, Buddhax traced the IP addresses of some of the attackers and broke into at least 16 computers, taking screenshots, scraping computers for logins and passwords of online accounts and using their webcams to take photos of the hackers, Buddhax said. He sent a message to each hacker reading “Next time don’t take part in OpIsrael. We know who you are. We know where you are. Long live Israel!”
The Israeli Elite Force member posted the captures from exploited webcams, screenshots, usernames and passwords, real names and other doxed details in a Dropbox document via the IEF Facebook page, saying, “Anonymous, next time do not mess with us.” According to the document now on Scribd, the 16 “not-so-Anonymous” members were located in Switzerland, Malaysia, Indonesia, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Some show the alleged hackers passed out and sleeping in front of their computers.
Buddhax wrote, “DDOS attacks and defacing small sites are not hacking. I’m not too big of a hacker, but I’m good enough to expose you.”
Israeli Elite Force members allegedly released the following statement on Pastebin: “Our original mission was to give pride back to the people of Israel, prove that defacements and such actions are ‘childish’ and we can always out smart those who ‘attack’ in the cyber realm. Since this task was clearly done, we move on to the future.”
While not everyone would agree on only one specific “moral of the story,” covering a webcam when not using it could be one moral…or at least serve as another cautionary tale.