Remember the days when you could sit naked at your computer without fear of exposing your genitals to the entire world? Well put some damn pants on, my friend, because those days are over.

A new report from the Digital Citizens Alliance claims that computer programs called Remote Access Trojans (RATs) are turning webcams into a tool for hackers who wish to blackmail individuals with embarrassing photos and videos.

“We’ve seen hundreds of victims in multiple cases just in Los Angeles,” Laura Eimiller, Press Officer for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said in the report. “Individuals interested in targeting victims can find what they need and learn how to implement a program online without leaving their bedroom.”

To make matters worse, many victims of such attacks never find out they’ve been recorded.

“I don’t think people necessarily know how prevalent it is,” said Adam Benson, deputy executive director of the Digital Citizens Alliance. “The clear and present danger can be lost on people sometimes.”

Benson says avoiding strange links and regularly updating anti-virus software will help minimize the risk of RAT attacks. However, he also provides a simple, low-tech method to stay safe.

“Tape your webcam,” Benson said. “I have tape on both my work computer and home computer.”

And while you’re at it, might I suggest you tape your mom’s webcam as well. You know… just in case.

(Source: US News & World Report)