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Crooked Technician Hacked Laptops To Become Peeping Tom

| 10 Jun 2011 01:05
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A man who repaired women's laptops remotely controlled their webcams, then convinced them to take the machines into the bathroom so he could photograph them in the shower.

When we take our laptops in to be repaired, it's generally assumed that the dude working on them won't take sexual advantage of us. But it turns out that's just what happened in Southern California, where a computer tech used the machines he was working on to take compromising pictures of his clients.

Trevor Harwell was working as a computer technician for Rezitech, when he made repairs on laptops, he'd add in something a little extra: A piece of software called Camcapture. The software allowed Harwell to remotely take control of a computer's webcam, which he'd then use to take naked pictures of female users.

Harwell, however, knew that he needed to do something more to get these women to walk in front of the camera without any clothes on. So he created fake error messages that said there was a problem with an internal sensor and the only way to solve this was to put the computer "near hot steam for several minutes." Supposedly the steam would clean the sensor.

You'd think that anyone with common sense would've had some kind of warning go off in their head when this message appeared ("Steam is good for a computer? Seriously?"), but several women apparently took their laptops into the bathroom with them when they took a shower. Harwell managed to accumulate thousands of pictures of his victims.

The man was finally caught when he installed the software on a younger girl's computer. Her mother became suspicious of the recurring error messages, so she called the police and the scam was uncovered.

Harwell has since been arrested and is facing multiple charges of computer access and fraud, though it sounds like more charges may be added since police are still searching for additional victims. He's also been released on a $50,000 bond. Rezitech, meanwhile, has (wisely) tried to distance itself from the man as much as possible and blocked his access to their system. His personal website and Twitter account have been taken down from the Web, too, as has his Google profile.

Rezitech has also claimed that, "To [our] knowledge, Mr. Harwell did not commit any of the alleged offenses while performing work on behalf of Rezitech or while working on Rezitech computers or the computers of Rezitech customers." That said, whether this statement is true or not remains to be seen.

Honestly, the craziest thing about this story is that Harwell's scam worked for as long as it did. This isn't the first time that skeevy repair technicians have used their position to take advantage of their clients. That said, it sounds like Harwell's going to be headed to prison soon, which couldn't happen to a more-deserving guy.

Source: AP via Geek

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