Snakes Strike: Predators Target Children's Webcams
A study by the Internet Watch Foundation found that online predators are targeting children's webcams, and that since 2019, there has been a tenfold increase in sexual abuse imagery created via webcams and other recording devices worldwide.
Once a predator gains access to a child's webcam, they can use it to record, produce, and distribute child pornography, and perverts using this type of technology to engage in sexual abuse of children is on the rise, according to a report by Tech Xplore.
The report explained that its criminologists have been researching the methods predators use to compromise children's webcams. To do this, they posed as children by creating several automated chatbots that appeared to be 13-year-old girls.
"We deployed these chatbots as bait for online predators in various chatrooms frequently used by children to socialize," the researchers explained, adding that they programed the bots to disclose their age, sex, and location.
"Though it's possible some subjects were underage and posing as adults, previous research shows online predators usually represent themselves as younger than they actually are, not older," they noted.
The researchers' chatbots ended up logging a total of 953 conversations with self-identified adults who were told they were talking with a 13-year-old girl.