Police in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, are investigating a woman’s claims that her webcam was hacked while she and her boyfriend settled into their bed to watch a marathon of TV shows streamed through Netflix.
"We were for sure watching 'Adventure Time,'” Chelsea Clark told Vice. "Pretty normal Wednesday-night stuff.”
Although the night passed without incident, the next day Clark received a message on Facebook from someone using the name Mahmoud Abdo alongside photos of her and her boyfriend laying in bed together. The accompanying message read: "Realy,cute couple (sic).”
Clark immediately called Toronto police. “What a terrifying notion. It was a really bizarre thing to receive those messages and it really took a second to be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s what this means, that’s the implication of receiving this message is someone was just watching us,’” Clark told Newstalk1010.
Clark was unnerved by the incident, but authorities are still investigating who could have sent the photos. Mahmoud Abdo’s profile has since been deleted, although the Facebook user’s place of residence was listed as Cairo, Egypt.
Cyber security expert Eric Parent believes someone who knew the couple sent the photos. "Or we're dealing with someone who took the time to understand the relationship between these two people," Parent told Vice. "And that takes digging, since it's not because I saw you on a webcam that I know who you are.”
Clark’s computer has since been seized in the investigation. “The best thing you can do is close your laptop after you’ve used it. Don’t just kind of fall asleep with your laptop open and put it over to the side,” Constable Scott Mills told Global News.
“Definitely more awareness could help, it’s definitely possible that your webcam can get hacked, so you need to be aware of that but I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button or anything like that.”
Parent warned that it’s easy for webcams to be hacked. "It's very difficult to protect yourself from this type of attack because the stuff that we do normally, like opening email, is stuff that just happens," he said.
"The best thing you can do is to have security software, keep everything up to date, and cross your fingers."