Staying Safe Online
What is internet safety?
Most of us are ‘connected’ via our laptops, mobile phones, tablets or personal computer. The potential for the internet to be a valuable and a fun resource for entertainment, making friends, keeping in touch and learning is huge. But if you use the internet, you could be at risk of illegal activity or abuse - be it bullying, fraud or something more serious. Unlike seeing someone face to face, on the net, people aren't always what they first seem.
In the same way you learn about safety when you leave the house, it is important to learn how to stay safe online. These are skills that will stay with you for life.
What is an internet leak?
An Internet leak occurs when a party's confidential information is released to the public on the Internet. The most common being personal information (photographs, videos), computer software and source code, and artistic works such as books or albums.
This type of leak can occur to anybody but it has been a particular problem with well-known stars in recent times.
Each year, many celebrities and important figures are involved in scandals. Most commonly it is either a sex tape, nude photo or email.
Two people have been arrested over Pippa Middleton’s ICloud hacking in 2016. In 2014, the likes of Aubrey Plaza, Bar Rafaeli, Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst were targeted. Image sharing websites like Imgur and Reddit did their best to delete any photo uploaded of the celebrities. More recently, in January 2017, Boxer Amir Khan had a sex tape leaked which was allegedly filmed just weeks after his wedding in 2013.
Some of these leaks are as a result of something called ‘revenge porn’.
What is revenge porn?
A law has now been implemented for anyone partaking in ‘revenge porn’. Revenge porn is the publication of explicit material portraying someone who has not consented for the image or video to be shared. The law now makes it illegal to disclose a "private sexual photograph or film" without the consent of the person depicted in the content, and with the intent to cause them distress.
How can somebody be a "victim" or a "perpetrator" of revenge porn?
A perpetrator is someone who discloses a private sexual image without the subject's consent. i.e. the perpetrator turns it from being private image into a public one, with the intent to cause distress. The victim may have consented to the image creation but will not have consented to it being made public.
Android and smart phone apps
You’ve probably seen a Meitu selfie in your Instagram or Facebook feed in the past 24 hours. The app smooths skin, slims down faces, and even applies a layer of virtual blush and lip-gloss, adding a beautifying effect to your photos. And although the app has been popular in China for years, it only recently caught on with European users.
Security experts quickly pointed out that Meitu, which is free to download in Google Play and the App Store, requires way more data from users’ phones than is necessary for a simple photo app and contains some allegedly sketchy code. Meitu isn’t the only app that allows users to download it for free in exchange for their data.
It’s normal for a photo app to require permission to access a phone’s camera and camera roll, so that it can take pictures or edit ones already on the device. But the Android version of Meitu wants a lot more than that: the app can access information about what other apps us-ers are running, their precise locations, their unique device identifier numbers (IMSIs), call information, carrier information and wifi connections.
Most popular with young children aged 8 - 12, users can film, stage, edit, and share music videos with others on this downloadable app. This app allows ‘Musers’ the ability to create and express themselves through videos and songs.
A number of local schools have received an email from Liverpool Cyber Safety Team about the app musical.ly , which is particularly popular amongst young girls aged eight to 12.The ECHO revealed that Calderstones School in Allerton had sent out a warning to parents , and now Bishop Eton primary in Green Lane and the Blue Coat School in Wavertree have also sent out warnings.
In 2017, police investigated a man in Leeds after he exposed himself on primary school chat. The unknown man joined the chat and performed a sex act. It has been noted that quite quickly, “friends of friends of friends” are able to join group chats, even if the children participating do not know them.
It is strongly encouraged that parents review and adjust privacy settings and just like other apps, monitor children’s accounts and report inappropriate behaviour.
Tinder (opposite sex) and Grindr (same sex) are both popular dating apps
In 2016, a man named Stephen Port used Grindr and other gay dating apps, to lure victims to his home, where he spiked their drinks before abusing and killing them. Port dumped his victims in Barking, east London, then told 'wicked and monstrous lies' that meant their families were told by police that their loved-ones had killed themselves or died accidentally. He now has a ‘life-time’ sentence.
From January 2016, Tinder received a “push” notification promising 2x or 3x the likelihood of a match in their area. This means, if another user is close by, you will receive a notification and you are able to contact whoever is an active user of the app, if you swipe right.
Following from the Stephen Port incident, dating app users have been warned of the dangers. 55 reports of crime in England and Wales mentioned Grindr/Tinder.
Safer Internet Day
Tuesday 7th February 2017
'Be the change: unite for a better internet'
What is Safety Internet Day?
Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
The UK Safer Internet Centre – a partnership of three leading charities; Childnet, the South West Grid for Learning and the Internet Watch Foundation – provide resources for children, schools and families, and tools for getting involved.
Useful links to help you stay safe online
Police Safety Centre
Stay Safe Online
Get Safe Online
End Revenge Porn