Over the weekend, Ars Technica wrote a great feature on hackers who abuse remote administration tools (RAT) in order to gain access to the computers of strangers. The purpose of using a RAT in this case is to gain control of computers featuring webcams -- these allow the hackers to spy on their targets, which they call "slaves".
What the hacker might do once he gains control of someone's computer depends on the hacker. Some are content merely to watch. Some go through files, hoping to find compromising footage or pictures. Some steal personal information, like Steam accounts. Some like to mess with the target "slaves", and that can be done in a lot of ways -- maybe they'll force people to watch porn, or they'll hide the start menu (just as a couple of examples).
Targets of interest are often women -- most of the hackers tend to be male according to the article.
"I seem to get a lot of female slaves by spreading Sims 3 with a [RAT] server on torrent sites," wrote one hacker on a forum.
The Sims is a franchise that boasts a high female userbase, so it's not surprising that a hacker would use a torrent of the latest Sims game to acquire more women "slaves." This is but one of the methods listed to acquire more targets, though.
It's crazy to think there might be someone out there watching you through your own webcam, no?
Meet the men who spy on women through their webcams [Ars Technica]