Blackshades the possible hidden risk on your computer

Cyber attack

(Credit: MGN Online)

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — 10:30p.m.

Blackshades, we’re not talking about sunglasses. In fact, the total opposite. It's a type of malware that has made national headlines, and is making some people think twice about what they do in front of their

Nick Davis is an I.T. Security Architect at UW-Madison, and says it's easy for a hacker to break into your device.

"You'll receive an email from someone you don't know, but it will seem like a legitimate email. You’ll click on the attachment, and nothing will happen. But in the background, very quietly the malware blackshades, will install itself on your computer,” said Davis.

Blackshades made headlines last year. After a college student hacked into Miss Teen USA’s web cam, spying, snapping naked photos and even blackmailing her.

"It allows an attacker to remotely enable your web cam on your laptop, or your desktop machine and then it sends pictures to them from a remote location,” said Davis.

It doesn't stop there.

“I do all my banking online, like investing is online, I pay all my credit card bills online,” said UW-Madison student, Erin Jamar.

Once blackshades is installed, Davis says hackers can get to those too.

"You can't be 100% sure that your computer isn't infected, and I always tell people, if you can't be sure your computer isn't infected, you have to operate under the presumption that it is infected,” said Davis.

So how do you protect yourself from an attack?

Davis says, the best way is to keep two separate devices in your home. Using one to surf the web, and the other to access sensitive accounts.

"People need to learn to treat there computers as if they are underneath a public eye, because they are connected to a public network,” said Davis.

A good lesson, but one hard to follow, in this complex internet age, where everyone thinks they're not the next target.

"I would still have that invincible mentality. You know, it's not going to happen to me, it hasn't happened to anyone I know, even though it's obviously not true,” said Jamar.

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