Slave computers and Cassidy Wolf (Miss Teen USA)

Dateline’s special broadcast regarding the hacking of the computers of Cassidy Wolf (Miss Teen USA) and her friends for the purpose of extortion was a sobering reminder about the ease of setting up slave computers. Did you know that there are websites and blogs dedicated to setting up and even selling existing slave computer setups?

The folks with whom I discussed the show were taken aback by these concepts. With this in mind, it is important for businesses and care providers to audit the presence of cameras on computers that are both installed and portable (especially those that they do not own). Devices such as smart phones are especially vulnerable.

Recommendations from

  1. Make certain that all anti-virus software and malware software are always up-to-date.
  2. Create and enforce a Whitelist limiting games, shareware, open source and freeware software.
  3. Maintain all authorized software with patches and updates.
  4. Regularly utilize 3rd-party services to perform system penetration tests and create inventories. Include this step in all system change management protocols.
  5. Unless and until the cameras and/or microphones are needed, they should be disconnected or masked. Disabling the functionalities can be easily undone remotely.
  6. Designate patient areas and conference rooms as device-free unless professionally required.
  7. Review the portable fitness device policy to minimize their growing exposures.
  8. Assure the training of all Workforce Members and vendors.