Potential pitfalls of taking up online challenges

Though the intention is to communicate or share a positive moment, we must be aware of conman/cyber criminals waiting to do something negative

By   |  Anil Rachamalla  |  Published: 29th Sep 2020  12:06 amUpdated: 28th Sep 2020  11:00 pm

Your social media feed has suddenly been flooded with pictures of friends and members with family challenge pictures and videos or with messages like “have you been nominated by your friends to take up the family challenge yet”, here’s the motive why? Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in individuals being confined to working from homes and psychologists believe it is putting a strain on relationships. With an intention of trying to communicate or share a positive moment, many started sharing bonding over the family picture or a video.

With all the negativity going around the world, let’s do something positive is the actual intent. Your social media connect is challenging you to upload a family picture that shows how you and your spouse are bonded and then they request you to tag some more gorgeous couples to do the same with hashtags like #stayhomestaysafe #familychallenge #couplechallenge #sareechallenge and the chain continues to grow endless. This is surely going to be a fun activity when everyone decorates their social media profiles with a traditional saree picture or family picture at the same time we must be aware of the conman/cyber criminals waiting to do something negative.

What’s the big deal about online challenges

We all just agree that smartphones and social media are all you need to kill the boredom and continue to be entertained without stepping out of the house. While some are getting likes on their social media postings by showing their creativity, be it saree challenge or a family challenge, many others are taking up trending challenges and nominating their friends to participate in them.

But we aware that using simple artificial intelligence tools, where a normal photograph or video can be converted into nude photographs or videos named as deep nudes, which strains and destroys the relationships of both individuals and couples.

Everyone is aware that we have conman/cyber criminals waiting to make the deep nude to extort money from the victim. If the victim doesn’t give any money, few conman/cyber criminals go an extra mile to create fake profiles on dating websites and redirect all communications to the original social media accounts of the victim creating unrest and unbearable harassment.

Another way how the conman/cyber criminals use this deep nudes is they create fake profiles on dating platforms (of female) and start communication with male clients on the dating sites. To bring the confidence of the victim, they first send the deep nude picture of the female and request the victim to send his own, once the nude picture is sent by the male, there starts the blackmailing and extortion.

You must be private and why?

Privacy is that the state of not being in observation, free from unauthorised intrusion. Privacy defines the degree to which an individual can determine which personal information should be shared with whom and for what purpose.

Online privacy is also termed as internet privacy which is the right to keep sensitive data and information produced as a result of using the web, private. Businesses acquire as much personal information. Our habits, interests preferences and location (GPS) are tracked and collected by companies looking to provide highly relevant information to your queries. They tailor advertising campaigns, products, services and eventually share the data with third parties.

Never be inattentive to online privacy!

* Consent should be treated same way for all offline and online
* Only connect with people that you know and trust in real life
* Do not involve in online chatting, dating or get emotionally involved with people without verifying the truthfulness of their claims
* Never share intimate/explicit pictures or videos online
* Use unique, complex passwords (special characters) for every social media account you have and change them periodically
* Enable (2FA) Two Factor Authentication for all your social media accounts
* Configure privacy settings for your social media platforms to control information sharing
* Your identity could be compromised. Never share sensitive information on social media platforms. (Financial, login credentials, organisation and personal info)
* Avoid clicking on suspicious links from unknown contacts

Conclusion

Cyber criminals and hackers are stealing our private words, actions, conversations, photos and making them public without consent, making public without context and making public without compassion. The good thing about social media is it gave voice to voiceless people, but we are creating a surveillance society where the best way to survive in this connected society is to go voiceless, just in case we don’t know how to secure ourselves online.

Stay tuned to Cyber Talk column on 6th October 2020 for more about “Internet Ethics and Digital Wellness” brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org.


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