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‘Ratters’ Troll The Internet Looking For ‘Slaves’ And Stealing Compromising Information

March 15, 2013 by  

‘Ratters’ Troll The Internet Looking For ‘Slaves’ And Stealing Compromising Information

Hackers are using software called remote administration tools (RATs) to infect computers, steal intimate photos, watch people through their webcams and listen to conversations.

These hackers are called ratters, and they share their techniques and the photos and information they steal from computers with other ratters in online forums. For some, it’s a game of cat and mouse. For others, it’s a way to find sexually explicit photos and toy with their victims, whom ratters call their slaves.

The website explained in an article last week how ratters can remotely turn on webcams and surreptitiously watch everything the webcam can see and listen to everything the computer’s microphone can pick up.

The RATs allow the hackers to look through computer files in search of photos and other information. They can also — and often do — use the computer’s software to startle their victims. For instance, a RAT can activate Microsoft’s text-to-speech software on the remote system so that it reads aloud a string of text. It can open a chat window and play notes from a musical instrument or make sounds at a specific frequency.

According to, RATs can be entirely legitimate.

Security companies have used them to help find and retrieve stolen laptops, for instance, and no one objects to similar remote login software such as LogMeIn. The developers behind RAT software generally describe their products as nothing more than tools which can be used for good and ill. And yet some tools have features that make them look a lot like they’re built with lawlessness in mind.

Some of the hackers’ RAT attacks are vicious, writes Some are just “fun functions” used to mess with the system (and minds) of the victim.”

Among the nastier things a RAT can do are:

  • Find out all system information, including hardware being used and the exact version of your operating system, including security patches.
  • Control all the processes currently running on your system.
  • View and modify your registry.
  • Modify your hosts file.
  • Control your computer from a remote shell.
  • Modify your start-up processes and services, including adding a few of its own.
  • Execute various types of scripts on your system.
  • Modify, view and steal your files.
  • Put files of its own on your system.
  • Steal your stored password.
  • Listen to your microphone.
  • Log your keystrokes. (Duh.)
  • Scan your network.
  • View your network shares.
  • Mess with your MSN Messenger, steal your contacts and add new contacts.
  • Steal from your clipboard (things you’ve copied).
  • Control your printer.
  • Lock, restart or shut down your computer.
  • Update the implant with a new address to beacon to or new functionality.

Ratters use multiple methods to spread their RATs to other computers. These include drive-by attacks, Warez downloads and social networking sites.

In drive-by attacks, hackers embed malicious script in Web pages that activate when you visit the page. The script exploits vulnerabilities in the computer’s system software and implants and executes malware without the user’s knowledge.

Warez downloads, or the downloading of illegal/cracked software, can often lead to also downloading something the user didn’t bargain for: malware tools that give the hackers access to your computer.

Social networking sites are used by hackers who send a link to a group of people all at once with the hope that one or more click on it.

Once they get into people’s computers, ratters gleefully share their exploits in online hacker forums. According to, one poster said he had already archived 200GB of webcam material from his slaves.

“Mostly I pick up the best bits (funny parts, the ‘good’ [sexual] stuff) and categorize them (name, address, passwords etc.), just for funsake,” he wrote. “For me I don’t have the feeling of doing something perverted, it’s more or less a game, cat and mouse game, with all the bonuses included. The weirdest thing is, when I see the person you’ve been spying on in real life, I’ve had that a couple of times, it just makes me giggle, especially if it’s someone with an uber-weird-nasty habit.”

“Most of my slaves are boring,” wrote another ratter. “Wish I could get some more girls with webcams. It makes it more exciting when you can literally spy on someone. Even if they aren’t getting undressed!”

To avoid being hacked by ratters, advises you “take the same precautions that apply to most malware: use a solid anti-malware program, keep your operating system updated, and make sure plugins (especially Flash and Java) aren’t out of date. Don’t visit dodgy forums or buy dodgy items, don’t click dodgy attachments in e-mail, and don’t download dodgy torrents. Such steps won’t stop every attack, but they will foil many casual users looking to add a few more slaves to their collections.”

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • anonymous

    i bet if you dig deeper, you find that most are working for dhs or fbi.

    • Bobby

      LOL, so true my friend!

  • Robert Smith

    When you aren’t using it power down your computer. Close your laptop. Keep it in a room other than the bedroom. Unplug the camera and mike when you aren’t using them.

    Ain’t perfect, but it will reduce the odds you will be spied on.


    • John Woodbury

      Rob (what a great name for a liberal), Unplug the thing from the net and you have little to worry about

  • worldwatchman

    Thanks. Good to know.

  • Redfray

    Stealing other peoples info should be a hanging offence, not a slap on the wrist. This should include the government agencies. Anyone spying on America citizens without a warrant should be hanged in front of the county court house.

    • STEVE E.

      They should also hang those people that spread viruses also. Or at least, send them to me so I can take care of them.

    • Bill

      Hello Redfray,

      If we imprison those who spy on us without a warrant, the prisons would be full of prosecutors from Washington down to your local agency.

      Thank you,
      Bill Moore

      • anonymous

        so, what is wrong with that?

  • Linda Gottlieb

    The camera problem has just been solved with a Post It note. Thanks.

  • Hedgehog

    Good article! Looks to me like any good defense lawyer can make a case that nothing found on a seized home or business computer can be used in court because it might have been left by a Ratter. Burden of proof to the contrary would fall on the prosecution.

  • Gina

    I keep my camera pointed at the wall (and usually unplugged) and have disabled any ability to modify my registry remotely. (done in system processes). I also keep my microphone unplugged and disabled the one in the monitor itself.

    • box-bb-car

      If the hacker is experienced, only the disconnection would deter him. Even with the remote reg flag disabled, with the current malware, they could gain control and bypass that. It is a constant battle. (I am the ‘digital janitor’ who has to clean up these messes). I hae seen malware that will get past most scanners even with fully patched machines and latest updates. There is always going to be a window of opportunity between the time an exploit is discovered until the time it is patched and closed.

  • http://google David

    Thanks for the info. Infurating! Weak kneed judges should take the initative to impose any invasion a felony. Register them as we currently do sex crimes with $100,000.00 restitutions so offenders can sleep with payments for life.

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest George

    Install KeyScrambler on your computer, shut off your computer’s microphone, and place a piece of electrical tape over your computer’s “eye.” KeyScrambler prevents key loggers from gathering typed information by turning it into total gibberish by using random letters, symbols, and numbers. Every time you type in such things as a password, KeyScrambler comes up with a different set of gibberish each time, just like no two snowflakes being alike. Ghostery, Google privacy, Facebook Disconnect, Twitter Disconnect, Google Disconnect, and Priv.3 are all excellent addons (if your browser supports them–Firefox does) to prevent your being followed and tracked by the web pages you visit. I don’t do any online bill paying or banking, and if you must purchase something online, use a prepaid debit card. It’s much safer than using your financial institution debit or credit card. It’s all about protecting your privacy and your identity.


    The game of compromise continues, the security systems will always play catch-up to the hackers and info thieves that work for a multitude of those who want your life in their hands. The penalties for compromising a secure sytem when caught should be extreme, severe and consistant with armed robbery, these crooks are devastating and deadly and will manage to kill millions inadvertently or by malicious intent and they are not being hammered hard enough to suit my thinking….

  • Alica

    Currently it appears like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?


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