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What does it mean to be ratted online? Remote Access Trojan (RAT) is a type of spyware software that is becoming much more common and negatively affects people and their devices.

Spyware allows a user to acquire covert information about another individual's activity on their computer by transferring data secretly from their hard drive. They can also access your computer or device to take control of your data to spy on you. RATs are usually hidden in a program you've downloaded or even as an attachment in an e-mail. They are hard to detect because they aren't affecting the performance of your device or show up as a program or file that looks any different to everything else on your computer. Scarily, these Trojans are being used to take control of your webcam, photos and videos and then being used to blackmail or intimidate you. They can also give the hacker complete control over the infected device, including files, microphones, webcams, and programs, and you'll never know.

How do you avoid ratting and infecting your device? Below are some simple tips to ensure you and your information is safe.

  • Make sure your antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall are up to date and current. It's best to set this software up so it performs regular scans and maintenance, to ensure your devices are safe from Trojans.

  • Take care when opening links and attachments in e-mails, even if it's from a trusted source. Most e-mail servers will block content that may be harmful.

  • Cover up your webcam when you're not using it. A simple dark piece of paper is sufficient; however, you can buy covers for added security.

  • When trusted devices and programs ask to download updates, always ensure you do. Most times, these updates include important security fixes which can safeguard your devices from new RATs.

  • When programs and apps you don't know or trust ask you to download a file, don't be persuaded as it may contain malware or Trojans.

  • Stay clear from suspicious website or torrent downloading. Not only are they illegal, but the majority of these files also contain malware.


Cullen, A. (2013). RATing – Are you being watched?

Mc Millen, A. (2013). How hackers can switch on your webcam and control your computer.

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