Cyber Flashing (Again)
This morning I opened up my emails to discover a vast amount of content informing me that there was a new online safety danger lurking in the deepest corners of the internet.
Headlines like “People are Air-Dropping Nudes to Strangers in a New Cyber Flashing Trend” and “Cyber Flashing is the new iPhone safety threat” appeared as headlines on my news feed.
These stories are accurate, but when it comes to ‘NEW’, well I have to disagree. You see way back in August 2015 we published an article with SWGfL on precisely this subject which we have reproduced here.
So there you are sitting on the train, and you get a message on your laptop or phone saying that someone has sent you a file. It’s not an email but a direct file using Bluetooth or AirDrop. When you open the file, a pornographic image appears. It happened to a lady while travelling on a train recently in the UK (August 2015). No doubt a shocking and upsetting event.
Despite the press attention, this is not a new phenomenon. When Bluetooth first became available similar cases happened.
So what can you do?
Just like when you leave the house you lock up – we should also secure our technology. Never give your device your name. You wouldn’t place a large sign around your neck with all your details on, but that is what you are doing if you name your device with personal information.
Ensure that unless you are using it, File Transfer Apps are switched off, including Bluetooth and Airdrop. If you do have to switch these on, activate PIN protection or only enable available files from people you know.
Finally, if you do receive an image or file from an unknown person, do not open it. Although in this case, it was a pornographic image, it could have been a virus. Just like an anonymous email, these files can hide all sorts of other nasty things.
David Wright, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said
“As we continue to use the technology we need to ensure we also know how to stop that technology potentially making us a victim of crime.”
As our world continues to shrink and fit into our pocket, we have to start to learn to lock our phones and protect them. You wouldn’t leave your front door open and unlocked when you leave home! Why would you leave your device wide open for anyone to get into as well?
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