A 47-year-old computer technician has been jailed for four years after he hacked into a teenage girl's webcam to spy on her.

The unnamed hacker used a Trojan horse virus to access the webcam remotely, which was passed on to the girl's computer through an infected email.

Once he hacked into the webcam, he took images of her and threatened her with blackmail unless the teenager 'posed' indecently for him.

Sophos report

The news of the hacker comes from Sophos, the analysis centre for virus, spyware and spam, where the company reports that the man was arrested back in 2005, but has only been brought to justice this week.

Speaking about the court ruling, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said: "Most spyware is designed to steal your identity, your passwords, your banking information - but it is just as easy to program a Trojan horse to take over your webcam."

"This case highlights that as well as malware being used for financial gain, it can also be used by voyeurs. Everyone needs to treat computer security as paramount importance to ensure they do not fall victim to an internet blackmailer or peeping tom."