Sometimes, you just need to do a quick remote log in to someone else’s computer. There are plenty of tools available for doing this. But most of them are either expensive to purchase or difficult to set up. Remote desktop app TeamViewer changed all that with a series of free cross-platform, lightweight apps that require only a couple of numeric codes in order to connect to a remote machine. This has made TeamViewer very popular, and in turn, an inevitable target for hackers.
Last week, threads began surfacing on Reddit written by TeamViewer users claiming they had been hacked thru the app. Most of the hacking claims had common points. Users who were initially away from their computers came back to find their machines were being remotely controlled and directed to website like PayPal, eBay, and Amazon. This instance was reported by Reddit user psiren66:
I was sitting on my couch at 12am and all of a sudden my machine light up.
It opened an eBay page ans started trying to buy iTunes cards. I noticed that teamviewer was running as it’s access. as soon as i touched my mouse they disconnected. I opened my teamviewer and roughly 50 accounts had been added to it.
Changed all my passwords instantly. and added two step verification to my email and teamviewer accounts.
At first, TeamViewer was denying that its platform had been hacked, blaming these issues on user error. But the company has since stated that it knows about the hacks and that they are “significant”:
TeamViewer spokesman Axel Schmidt acknowledged to Ars that the number of takeovers was “significant,” but he continued to maintain that the compromises are the result of user passwords that were compromised through a cluster of recently exposed megabreaches involving more than 642 million passwords belonging to users of LinkedIn, MySpace, and other services.
If you’re a regular TeamViewer user, you should consider changing your password and possibly adding two-factor authentication to your account. If you use the application sparingly, you may just want to remove it completely from your computer until you need it again. The application is a quick download and it’d only take a few minutes to reinstall.