SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Cassidy Wolf never expected to become a spokesperson for cyber security, until she became the victim of a creepy cyber extortion attempt.
One day, she received an e-mail from a high school classmate who had hacked her laptop and used its webcam to secretly photograph her.
“The guy took photos of my in my bedroom without my knowledge. They were photos of me changing, putting on outfits the night before school, coming back and forth out of the shower, things that you do in your bedroom,” she said.
“For a long period of time, this guy was watching me and I had no idea.”
The hacker was convicted last year, and is due to be sentenced in March.
And where other beauty queens might make it a mission to promote world peace or cancer research, Wolf has taken up the cause of online security.
“Talking about it has definitely helped me overcome it,” she said, signing autographs and talking to fans among the high tech experts gathered at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.
She is representing SnoopWall, a security software company whose product sends an alert when a computer’s camera has been accessed remotely.
While what happened to Wolf is a concern, such schemes so far have been uncommon, said KCBS technology analyst Larry Magid.
“It’s not something I would lose a lot of sleep over. On the other hand, I think it’s a good idea to keep your laptop closed when you’re not using it. If you’re really concerned, maybe put a piece of tape over the camera,” he said.
“I think it’s also important that we take a deep breath, and realize that the Internet is not quite as dangerous as some people may think it is.”