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A Mac service technician used spyware to take shots of unsuspecting young women, some of whom were undressed.   (Source:

The malware would pop up OS X messages that looked like system warnings, like this one. The warnings were designed to lure young women to take their computer with them while showering.  (Source:

Trevor Harwell's plot was foiled after police searched his computers after a victim received a tip from a local service tech.  (Source: Fullerton Police Department)
Obviously he didn't get the memo that Mac's are unaffected by malicious software

Trevor Harwell, a 20-year-old Los Angeles, California area certified Mac repair specialist is in a load of trouble after police discovered his unusual hobby -- installing spyware on female clients' Macs and using it to take naughty pictures of them remotely.

The young man's scheme was discovered when one of the victims took her Mac to a local Apple, Inc. (AAPL) Genius Bar, complaining that her Mac was popping up odd OS X system warnings.  

The warnings were actually fake, but designed to look like standard system warnings.  One of the warnings informed her, "You should fix your internal sensor soon. If unsure what to do, try putting your laptop near hot steam for several minutes to clean the sensor."

The message reportedly was designed to try to trick the female victims into taking the computer with them into the shower.

The Apple technician then discovered a piece of Mac malware called Camcapture installed on the machine.  They informed the young woman, "You need to call police."

After contacting the police, Mr. Harwell's Fullerton, California residence was raided and police seized electronics.  Thousands of images were found on the seized computers, all whom thus far have been identified as residents of Los Angeles and Orange County.  Mr. Harwell was arrested Wednesday.

Mr. Harwell's scheme was sophisticated.  Not only did the installed software allow for remote control commands of the webcam, according to Fullerton police spokesman Andrew Goodrich, "It would let his server know that the victim's machine was on. The server would then notify his smartphone... and then the images were recorded on his home computer."

The photos contained women both dressed and unclothed.  The popups apparently tricked several women into taking their laptops with them into the bathroom while showering (to give the laptop its requested "steam" treatment.

Mr. Harwell's business was named Rezitech and was operated out of his home.  Police believe there may be more victims out there, still.  Those who had contact with Mr. Harwell are advised to look in the "/Library/WebServer/Documents" folder where the spyware was typically installed.

Apple fans tend to have the false perception that Macs aren't affected by malware or that only some minuscule percentage are affected by it.  In reality, the platform is home to a diverse and growing body of malware, much like its operating system counterpart from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Windows.  A recent malware attack infected 1 in 20 Mac computers, according to service technician reports.  That'd be akin to a virus on Windows that infected 65 million Windows PCs -- almost unheard of [source].

Mr. Harwell had a fundamentalist upbringing, reportedly, attending Biola University, a small, private evangelical Christian college in southern California.  Many of the victims were Biola students, and police believe he may have compromised university systems as well.

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By shompa on 6/10/2011 9:44:03 AM , Rating: -1
The only way the computers could be infected was if the users provided the program/the "hacker" with Root password.

If you give someone Root, nothing is secure. Not Apple, Not Android/win/linux/unix.

So when the malware ask you for root password: just don't type it in.

This whole article is a troll. Hate Apple = loads of clicks from Apple haters + Apple supporters.

And a couple of clicks from IT technicians that believed the headline and thought that they would learn anything new from the article. Like a SU exploit or something like that. Not a stupid: I typed the Root password = this is Apples fault.

RE: Password
By JasonMick on 6/10/2011 9:51:50 AM , Rating: 5
The only way the computers could be infected was if the users provided the program/the "hacker" with Root password.

If you give someone Root, nothing is secure. Not Apple, Not Android/win/linux/unix.

Not necessarily true. You are uninformed. Several pieces of Mac malware require no root password to install and run... e.g. recent versions of MacDefender.

I don't know if this particular guy was that sophisticated, but to say that it's impossible to infect Macs w/out the root password is just flat out ignorant.

RE: Password
By MrTeal on 6/10/2011 10:18:11 AM , Rating: 5
He doesn't need to be that sophisticated, he had physical possession of the computer and likely the root password as well. If he wanted, he could have cloned the entire hard drive.

I have an Asus laptop, and had some issues with the ribbon cable to the monitor being flaky and the screen going crazy. It was under warranty, so I sent it in for the free repair. Before I did, I imaged the drive and installed a clean copy of the OS. Taking you computer in with all your files to any of these Geek Squad/Apple Tech where most of the techs are teenagers or Comp Sci dropouts makes no more sense than taking your car in to the mechanic to get the brakes worked on with all your tax records boxed in the back seat.

These girls are probably lucky this guy was just a pathetic pervert instead of a criminal. I'd bet a good number of them had their online banking site bookmarked, with their client number and password saved in the browser.

RE: Password
By Flunk on 6/10/2011 10:30:45 AM , Rating: 2
Spying on people without their knowledge is criminal. Don't try to downplay the magnitude of his crimes. A lot of people would rather have their credit card info stolen than their privacy invaded.

RE: Password
By MrTeal on 6/10/2011 10:56:12 AM , Rating: 3
Sorry, you're right on the fact that he definitely is a criminal. I'm sure to them they don't think that they were lucky. He could have stolen all their money/destroy their credit rating as well though, and I think that there's a higher probability of that happening than having your image taken.

Either way, taking your computer to some random guy for service is incredibly risky with how connected they are to most people's lives.

RE: Password
By Justin Case on 6/11/2011 5:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
Spying on people without their knowledge is criminal.

Unless it's done by the US government, in which case it's "protecting your freedom".

BTW, if you spy on people with their knowledge, is that still spying...?

RE: Password
By Strunf on 6/10/2011 12:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what bank you are in but the one I use doesn't have a password, it gives you a key that you have to type in a kind of calculator to get the answer, convenience has a price that in this I sure don't want to pay!

If I had the problem you had I would probably do the same BTW did you erase your HD with the right tools?... still if your problem was the hard drive how would you be able to delete your data?
Better safe than sorry but at some point you'll have to trust someone. These girls just meet the wrong guy and in this life everyone will meet a lot of wrong guys, if it's not your IT support guy, it's your mechanic, or your lawyer or your wife...

RE: Password
By MrTeal on 6/10/2011 12:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
Like a SecurID fob? That's definitely more secure than just requiring a UN/PW, but at least to my knowledge most banks don't do that.

RE: Password
By Makaveli on 6/10/2011 12:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
I with TD Bank in Canada.

And its easy web access remembers the ip you login from.

So as soon as you login from an ip it doesn't have stored for me you don't even get a password prompt it goes straight to the secret answer password page.

RE: Password
By honkj on 6/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: Password
By frobizzle on 6/10/2011 11:01:25 AM , Rating: 5
Tinfoil hat a little too snug today, pal?

RE: Password
By Alexstarfire on 6/10/2011 2:52:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's like every time an article about malware on OS X comes up peopel make up more and more ridiculous numbers for the amount of malware and/or viruses on the PC. Millions of different malware programs? I really really doubt that unless you count every version of every piece of malware which simply makes no sense.

RE: Password
By Alexstarfire on 6/10/2011 2:54:13 PM , Rating: 2


RE: Password
By phantom505 on 6/10/2011 10:58:43 AM , Rating: 3
He knew how to create web services at a minimum.

RE: Password
By Bonesdad on 6/12/2011 11:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
I got a laugh out of the comment about being "sophisticated" in the article. The popup message he devised was anything but sophisticated...though amazingly, some folks fell for it.

RE: Password
By Daemyion on 6/10/2011 2:21:38 PM , Rating: 1
I never got the whole "root passwd is what really matters".

What really matters is the end user. If you get access to everything the user does on a single user machine what does root access give you to do that the user account doesn't?

Root isn't the login you use for cc transactions, saving your important documents or "playing your music in the shower", and since those are the things that are important for malicious parties, how does the fact that a super user account exist save you?

As long as you have user access, arguably you have access to the most important thing in the machine - the user.

RE: Password
By FastEddieLB on 6/11/2011 5:15:05 PM , Rating: 2

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