The Mechanisms of the Hack

I am attempting to demonstrate to every person who has basic knowledge of the computer that it is fairly easy for another employee at my company to accomplish these acts remotely:

  • Screen shot of my computer at work.
  • Take a video recording of my screen at work.
  • Take a video of me or anything else that is currently in front of my laptop with the built-in camera.
  • Make an audio recording from my laptop’s microphone.
  • Send timed key-stroke sequences to my computer as if I pressed those keys.
  • Send mouse movements to my computer as if I moved the mouse.
  • Interact with application on my screen as if they are sitting in front of my computer.

There are many over the counter software that facilitate this on a modern computer. If you do not believe me, go ahead and download these software and try them for free. You will need two computers on the same network to see how you can manipulate a remote computer.

  • On the Mac, Viola is an application that allow for recording of the screen.
  • On the Mac, Command-Shift-3, and Command-Shift-3 will result in a picture of the entire screen or a selected window, respectively to be saved to a file on the desktop. 
  • On Window machines, the [Print Screen] key and [Alt]-[Print Screen] will result in a picture of the the entire screen or a selected window, respectively, to be saved to a file.
  • On most OS’s VNC is a program that allows you to see and control a computer remotely.
  • On most OS’s Synergy is a program that allows you to control mouse or keyboard from a remote computer system.
  • On XWindow systems, XTEST from XAutomation package has a command called xte which produces key stroke and mouse movement ad specified time without a person actually moving the mouse or keyboard
All I wish to demonstrate in this blog entry is that you, any of you who knows how to open a browser window and read a blog entry, can go to these websites, download a program, and read another person’s email, send email as another person, or fake typo’s while he is typing.
Next time I or anybody else speak to you and say: “hey, you know? I think xyz at work has been spying on my email.” or “My work has been sabotaged by my cube-mate.” That you do not dismiss him as an escapee from an insane asylum.
This issue must be dealt with openly and rationally.

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