Webcam scams

The Australian government’s Stay Smart Online advisory service is warning people about the possibility of webcam hacks:

In another type of webcam-based scam, malware installed on your computer can be used to operate your built-in webcam, recording images of you without your knowledge. This malware is known as a Remote Access Trojan or RAT and can remotely activate your webcam, at the same time, disabling your camera indicator light.  These images can also be used to blackmail you.

What should I do?
  • As always, make sure your software and systems are up-to-date, and that you are using up-to-date security software.
  • Be aware that anything you do on the internet, including video and voice calls, can be recorded.
  • Never use your webcam to video call someone you do not know.
  • Be cautious about people you meet online. People you meet online may not be who they seem to be.
  • Revealing personal details online is extremely risky.
  • Be aware that this type of scam is blackmail and it is illegal. The scammers are breaking the law.

If you have been threatened, you should:

  • Block their emails and their accounts from all networks. Cease all contact with the scammer. Scammers often seek soft targets, so they may move on if you do not respond. Some victims have reported no further consequences once they blocked the scammer and ignored their demands.
  • Be suspicious of any new or unusual friend requests, for example, someone you thought you were already friends with on Facebook.
  • Save the scammer’s details, emails, comment threads or any other evidence you have of them and the extortion attempt.   This can be done with screenshots or taking a photo with your phone.
  • If you think images or footage may be posted online (you can set up a Google email alert to look for this content every day), you can contact the host site to ask them to remove the files.
  • Contact your local police and notify them of the activity.
  • Report it to SCAMwatch.
  • The only leverage the scammers have is your embarrassment. You may consider accepting the disclosure.
  • Paying scammers and extortionists is never encouraged. Once you have paid, there is nothing preventing them from targeting you or your compromised computer again

Read the whole article here.

I need to know about social networking and online friends

Continuing on with the resources provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, the information social networking and online friends is very useful. It includes information on:

  • Are they my friends in real life too?
  • Know the basics of safe social networking
  • Meeting online friends in the real world – do you really know who you’re meeting?
Well worth checking out. Read the whole post here.

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Teens/I%20need%20to%20know%20about/Social%20networking%20and%20online%20friends.aspx

Like, post, share

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has published the final version of the report Like, post, share: young Australians’ experience of social media.

Some of the results include:

  • Two thirds of 12-13 year olds (67 per cent) used a social networking service (SNS) in the last four weeks on a computer, 85 per cent of 14-15 year olds have done this, as have 92 per cent of 16-17 year olds.
  • The younger age group (eight to 11 years) are active social network users – 78 per cent of eight to nine year olds and 92 per cent of 10-11 year olds have used a social network. The most popular social network amongst this younger age group was YouTube—more than half of the eight to nine year olds surveyed (53 per cent) and the majority of 10-11 year olds (69 per cent) had used this site.
  • The majority of 12-17 year olds reported having used a social network,– especially those aged 14-17 years (97 per cent of 14-15 year old and 99 per cent of 16-17 year old internet users).
  • Facebook was the most popular social network service for 12-17 year olds. The majority of Facebook users use the site at least daily and in some cases, more often. For example, the majority of Facebook users aged 14 and over in our study were more likely to use Facebook more than once a day (47 to 50 per cent) than daily (32 per cent). (page 8)
  • Twenty one per cent of 14-15 year olds reported having been cyberbullied, compared with four per cent of eight to nine year olds. Reported experiences of cyberbullying amongst 10-17 year olds appears stable since 2009, but has marginally increased for the youngest age group (eight to nine year olds).
  • The children and young people who reported that they had been cyberbullied were also asked who they told, and the majority did tell someone. All the eight to 11 year olds who had experienced cyberbullying told someone, and the majority of the older children did so as well (89 per cent of 12-13 year olds, 93 per cent of 14-15 year olds and 87 per cent of 16-17 year olds told someone).
  • Thirteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that within their group of friends, either they or someone else has sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of themselves to someone else. Eighteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that they or someone within their group of friends had received sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of someone else. Parents underestimated the extent to which their children were exposed to sexting.

Read the whole report here.

Parents underestimate risk of cyber-bullying for teens

Recently The Sunday Age published a report stating that

Nearly 80 per cent of Australian children under 10 years of age use social networks. Among older teenagers – those 16 and 17 – parents underestimate bullying and risky online behaviour. But the most likely candidate for cyber-bullying is a 14 year old girl who checks her Facebook account daily.

By the time teenagers are 16, parents start to underestimate the likelihood of their child being bullied or involved in upsetting experiences. Only 17 per cent of parents said their 16-year-old was bothered by something on the internet, but 26 per cent of teenagers of that age said they suffered through an upsetting experience.

What is of concern is that once parents believe that their work is done, that their children know how to successfully navigate the social media world is when they are actually most at risk.

Read the whole article here.

 

Girls switched on to social pitfalls

The Sunday Age has reported on two 12 year old girls who have social media accounts, but are well aware of the pitfalls they can face:

”Basically, I don’t post anything that I don’t want my parents to see,” said Georgia, who admitted her parents check her Skype, Instagram and Kick about once a month.

Eve, who uses Skype and iMessage, says her parents trust her not to accept requests from strangers. And the information she posts online is unlikely to reveal too much about her private life. ”It’s really important not to give too much information about yourself away.”

This is great advice for all parents and their children. Read the whole article here.

Bullying and cyberbullying interactive learning modules for parents

The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has developed online interactive learning modules for parents that focus on bullying and cyberbullying.

The bullying and cyberbullying module

developed in partnership with Andrew Fuller, (clinical psychologist and student wellbeing specialist), has been developed to help parents understand, recognise and manage bullying and cyberbullying behaviours.

The cybersafety and social media module

developed in partnership with Susan McLean (cybersafety expert), has been developed to help parents address standards of behaviour in the context of cybersafety and social media.

Two excellent resources for parents.

Skype reveals your location

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald alerted Skype users to the hole in security where your IP address and location can be revealed to others:

Skype constantly exposes users’ internet addresses to the entire world, allowing criminals to better target cyber attacks and rivals to locate people.

The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets warned last year about research that showed it was possible to coax Skype into revealing the IP addresses of individual Skype users. Most users however, still have no clue about this basic privacy weakness.

“We are investigating reports of tools that capture a Skype user’s last known IP address,” a spokesperson for Skype said in an emailed statement. “This is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies.”

Read the whole article here.