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Technician Installed Spyware to Photo Women

By - Source: Computerworld | B 39 comments

A Mac technician visiting the homes of numerous female clients installed webcam spyware while "fixing" their rigs.

Like massage therapists, PC repair techs have a bad rep thanks to those individuals who abuse their profession by performing illegal activities. Computer repair shops seem somewhat sketchy now because numerous reports tell horror stories of technicians supposedly fixing issues but instead are trolling for images or scooping up delicate personal information. Even just recently the Aaron's rental chain was accused of installing spyware on its laptops and desktops to track keystrokes and watch customers remotely via built-in webcams.

Now the IDG News service is adding to the privacy invasion fear with a report of a Mac technician who allegedly installed spyware to take candid pictures of his clients in "various states of undress." Twenty-year-old Trevor Harwell, a contractor for a home-based Los Angeles-area computer repair company called Rezitech, was arrested Wednesday by Fullerton police after they discovered literally thousands of images on Harwell's computers.

According to Sergeant Andrew Goodrich, a spokesman with the Fullerton Police Department in California, Harwell installed software called Camcapture on the computers of dozens of female clients. "It would let his server know that the victim's machine was on. The server would then notify his smartphone... and then the images were recorded on his home computer," he said.

Police said that Harwell was formerly a student at Biola University, a small Christian university in southern California. Many of the identified "clients" (or victims in this case) were students at the university, and officials are currently trying to determine if Harwell also compromised the university's network.

Harwell was actually first discovered last year after a Rezitech customer took her Mac into an Apple Genius Bar for servicing because strange messages began popping up on her screen. "You should fix your internal sensor soon," read one popup disguised as a Mac OS X system warning. "If unsure what to do, try putting your laptop near hot steam for several minutes to clean the sensor." The Genius Bar technician discovered the spyware residing on her hard drive and quickly informed her to call the police.

Goodrich said that other victims who also received the same message actually fell for the trick, taking their computers with them into the bathroom while they took a shower. Rezitech customers worried that they may be another victim can find the Camcapture software in the /Library/WebServer/Documents folder.

Sorry, but the days of home visits by PC and Mac repair technicians are over thanks to stunts like this.

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Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    ikyung , June 10, 2011 2:03 AM
    Really? Try putting your Mac in steam to fix the problem and people actually took it in the bathroom showers?

    Amazing.. no wonder they own Macs.
  • 20 Hide
    11796pcs , June 10, 2011 2:30 AM
    Wow- that's just disgusting, but frankly I'm more horrified that someone would actually be stupid enough to take a shower with their Mac. What is this world coming to...?
  • 20 Hide
    otacon72 , June 10, 2011 2:52 AM
    The fact people took their computer into the bathroom shows what kind of client base Apple has.
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    Marco925 , June 10, 2011 2:02 AM
    In the immortal words of George Takei:

    OHHHHH MYYYYY!!!!!
  • 34 Hide
    ikyung , June 10, 2011 2:03 AM
    Really? Try putting your Mac in steam to fix the problem and people actually took it in the bathroom showers?

    Amazing.. no wonder they own Macs.
  • 20 Hide
    11796pcs , June 10, 2011 2:30 AM
    Wow- that's just disgusting, but frankly I'm more horrified that someone would actually be stupid enough to take a shower with their Mac. What is this world coming to...?
  • 8 Hide
    spectrewind , June 10, 2011 2:48 AM
    "Sorry, but the days of home visits by PC and Mac repair technicians are over thanks to stunts like this."

    No.. They're not... You're wrong.
    I do it regularly in my city. I have repeat and new customers via word of mouth. I consult with other technicians who also do it. The days of home visits are very much alive and well.

    Do some fact checking. Poor journalism, otherwise...
  • 20 Hide
    otacon72 , June 10, 2011 2:52 AM
    The fact people took their computer into the bathroom shows what kind of client base Apple has.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 2:59 AM
    :p  who take the computer to take a hot bath
  • 6 Hide
    kingnoobe , June 10, 2011 3:02 AM
    While this guy and others like him are complete scum... But come on.. electronics+water=bad (and that's usually common sense even for the older/less computer literate). Hell I don't even take "water-proof" things near water if it can be helped because half the time it's bs. And if my computer ever said take it to the shower with me.. well honestly I'll probably start laughing, and then figure out how to get rid of the virus/spyware.

    If it started just saying that after I had somebody come over to fix it (which would never happen), I think I would go find that person, and have a few words with him. If it was a big shop my lawyer would have a few words with him.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 3:03 AM
    I'm sorry, but if you're stupid enough to take your computer with you in the shower, then you deserve what you get.
  • 7 Hide
    ben850 , June 10, 2011 3:11 AM
    Let's all forget about the countless slew of idiots that delete their System32 folder...
  • 10 Hide
    chick0n , June 10, 2011 3:36 AM
    You are cleaning your sensor wrong.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 4:05 AM
    I am amazed at how gullible people are, in the words of PT Barnum.... there is one born every minute :-(
  • 9 Hide
    livebriand , June 10, 2011 4:14 AM
    Like people would really believe those messages? That's like believing a fake AV scanner that looks like XPs' 'my computer' window in a web browser.

    I guess there's a reason that webcams have a little light that turns on when it is being used.
  • 2 Hide
    alextheblue , June 10, 2011 4:15 AM
    ben850Let's all forget about the countless slew of idiots that delete their System32 folder...
    You've been hitting that crack again, I see.
  • 4 Hide
    alidan , June 10, 2011 4:47 AM
    they deserve it... im not kidding.
    we live in an age where everyone should have a computer, its a life necissity almost.
    to not learn how to fix it just seams retarded to me...

    but these people put it in the shower... my god... these are the people in collage?
  • 5 Hide
    visa , June 10, 2011 4:49 AM
    spectrewind"Sorry, but the days of home visits by PC and Mac repair technicians are over thanks to stunts like this."No.. They're not... You're wrong.I do it regularly in my city. I have repeat and new customers via word of mouth. I consult with other technicians who also do it. The days of home visits are very much alive and well.Do some fact checking. Poor journalism, otherwise...

    I agree. In IT, there's always opportunities to take advantage of the typically unbridled network access you have. For those that take advantage of this access, they're probably not going to have a long and successful career.

    Pretty much any professional job is going to give you access to sensitive data. Think about HR or accounting. They won't be installing malicious software but they have access to do devastating damage to a business or individual they're doing work for. These are necessary and never going away, just like IT.

    This is the internet age. Probably 99% of IT professionals wouldn't pull stuff like this but when it happens, everyone's going to know. It's actually a good thing for honest IT consultants because it makes our clients more appreciative that they don't have to worry about ridiculous BS like this.

    ps Taking your laptop into the shower with you is usually a bad thing ;) 
  • -9 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 5:21 AM
    What the hell is wrong with you idiots who take any opportunity to blaspheme Mac users? It's the same mentality that makes right wingers blaspheme anything a Democrat says or does. "My team rulez, your team sux!" Grow up, idiots.
  • 3 Hide
    skaz , June 10, 2011 5:21 AM
    "Goodrich said that other victims who also received the same message actually fell for the trick, taking their computers with them into the bathroom while they took a shower."

    /sigh
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 10, 2011 5:41 AM
    11796pcsWow- that's just disgusting, but frankly I'm more horrified that someone would actually be stupid enough to take a shower with their Mac. What is this world coming to...?

    Well, SOMEONE'S gotta post their every move on Facebook, you know? As if they think all of their friends care.
  • -4 Hide
    micr0be , June 10, 2011 7:19 AM
    what kind of weak opinionated news reporting is this ?... kevin parrish you have good stories but your opinion is borderline troll.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 7:24 AM
    I call BS on this and these supposed messages popping up. First off, spyware isn't designed to be easily detected by displaying stupid a$$ messages to the user. Secondly, no Apple Genius bar worker has the skills to understand how software is written and interacts within its ecosystem; so, there is no reason they would tell someone to call the police just because a spyware program is installed. If that were the case, then all police departments would be inundated with victims of spyware every day.

    As much as I dislike Apple, this 'story' sounds like an Apple hater's version of a funny story.
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