GCHQ Intercept: Yahoo users’ webcam images

By on February 27, 2014 1:51:59 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

DrJBHL

Join Date 04/2002
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Apparently, millions of Yahoo users’ webcam images were intercepted by the British NSA equivalent GCHQ.

The period involved is 2008-2010 and in “Operation Optic Nerve” in which the NSA worked with GCHQ and in one 6 month period some 1.8 million users’ images were gathered. A large quantity of these were sexually explicit images, apparently.

"Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person," it read.

"Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography." – BBC

Yahoo denied knowledge of or cooperation with this joint intelligence operation.

To be clear: We’re talking about flaws in Yahoo’s (and very possibly other chat) software, or perhaps the use of the Trojan/Virus used on Iran which could photograph the user while on or off the computer and use the computer’s webcam/microphone as well. That they can (and do) intercept anything and everything you email/chat as well is known to everyone, I expect.

This new revelation comes via Edward Snowden in documents leaked to The Guardian.

Yahoo stated:

"We were not aware of nor would we condone this reported activity," Yahoo said in an emailed statement.

"This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world's governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December.

"We are committed to preserving our users' trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services." – BBC

GCHQ in a statement said:

“it would not comment on matters of intelligence, but added: "All of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

"All our operational processes rigorously support this position." – BBC

So, no one has any privacy anymore, and shouldn’t expect it. All anyone has to pretend is that “Security” or “Anti-Terrorism” is involved. No one’s going to be changing those surveillance laws anytime soon.

Oh yes…and stay dressed anywhere near a computer. It seems they’ve become the devices described by George Orwell in his novel “1984”.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26367781

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo

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February 27, 2014 5:47:55 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Keep those camera lenses covered up when (you think) they're not in use.  By all means, teach your children to do that, and then check them occasionally.

 

"Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person," it read.

This statement oddly kind of amuses me - I'd think that the intelligence community would have a better understanding of human nature.  They really need to get out more.

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February 27, 2014 6:04:27 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I keep my camera covered at all times. I doubt they can see through black electric tape.

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February 27, 2014 6:11:02 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

If your webcam is not on, how can anyone see through it? Mine has a green light at the top, when it is on. 

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February 27, 2014 6:11:07 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Uvah,

I keep my camera covered at all times. I doubt they can see through black electric tape.

  That's not paranoia, that's just a reasonable proactive personal approach to security.

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February 27, 2014 6:28:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

“Operation Optic Nerve”

Oh, what a bunch of wags those Poms are....'optic nerve'....slang for 'perve' ....

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February 27, 2014 6:40:05 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting teddybearcholla,

If your webcam is not on, how can anyone see through it? Mine has a green light at the top, when it is on. 

Well, if you're in a chat app like Skype, etc. then it's on if you're using video chat. Yahoo doesn't seal your chat hermetically, so...others are watching while your chatting and probably installing a backdoor so that they can watch anytime.

BUT. If you have the Trojan...your cam/mike can be on without the led being on. Why? Because the Trojan says, "Be on all the time without the led being lit."

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February 27, 2014 7:32:34 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Thank you Doc. Good stuff to know. 

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February 27, 2014 8:39:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'm always behind times, don't have a webcam. 

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February 28, 2014 10:59:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

integrated cam on laptops/netbooks, etc...  would pose more of a problem.. haven't you heard of all those school owned equipment or rented stuff have phone home systems that take snap shots to see "if the person isn't doing some nefarious things with the equipment"?

if it's a separate cam.. just unplug it when not in use.

until you discover your monitor is actually a giant camera.... them sneaky sods..

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March 2, 2014 9:53:10 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Yahoo was not aware of the reported activity. “This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy that is completely unacceptable,” Yahoo stated, adding that it is committed to preserving its users’ trust and security and will continue its efforts to expand encryption across all services.

See more at http://goo.gl/bmyEMM

 

I'm glad that Yahoo has decided to encrypt all future communication. But they should have done it long time ago.

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March 2, 2014 3:26:55 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,


Quoting teddybearcholla, reply 3
If your webcam is not on, how can anyone see through it? Mine has a green light at the top, when it is on. 

Well, if you're in a chat app like Skype, etc. then it's on if you're using video chat. Yahoo doesn't seal your chat hermetically, so...others are watching while your chatting and probably installing a backdoor so that they can watch anytime.

BUT. If you have the Trojan...your cam/mike can be on without the led being on. Why? Because the Trojan says, "Be on all the time without the led being lit."

 

Doc, will all due respect you forgot that publicized case of Miss Teen USA getting hacked by some kid and yes the green camera light was off when it happened.  Ironically it was advertised that couldn't possibly happen because of the way it was designed.  Yet some slightly above average high school kid just did.

 

Now the real story here isn't that GCHQ violated these people but that Yahoo has done everything EXCEPT publicly denounce it.

 

We didn't know.

We do not approve this.

We are making changes.

But at the same time we do not publicly denounce it either.

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March 2, 2014 7:17:07 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting RogueCaptain,
Doc, will all due respect you forgot that publicized case of Miss Teen USA getting hacked by some kid and yes the green camera light was off when it happened.

Despite quoting me, you didn't notice I wrote:

Quoting DrJBHL,
BUT. If you have the Trojan...your cam/mike can be on without the led being on. Why? Because the Trojan says, "Be on all the time without the led being lit."

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