TRA spreads awareness on blackmail and social media privacy

The TRA advises families on how to ensure their children's activities on social networks are safe

Tags: Cyber crimeTRA (http://www.tra.gov.ae/en/home.aspx)United Arab Emirates
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TRA spreads awareness on blackmail and social media privacy The seminar focused on the technical, security, legal, and social aspects of Internet use
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  July 3, 2016

The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) is spreading awareness on how families can protect their children from blackmail when using the Internet.

The TRA has advised families on how to ensure their children's activities on social networks are safe and discourage them from sharing their geographical location, personal information and photographs, plus using stronger passwords.

The seminar focused on the technical, security, legal, and social aspects of Internet use. It also covered child protection, outlining important procedures to be followed by parents to protect their children from blackmail and ensure social media privacy.

Mohamed Al Zarooni, TRA's director for policies and programs said: "Events such as these are in line with the Authority's social responsibility and related accredited programs which aim to protect families and society as a whole from the risks of online attempts to fool users in general and children in particular. Through this workshop we shall educate people on the proper use of the internet and smart applications."

Ghaith Almazaina, manager for Business Affairs at TRA's Computer Emergency Response Team, pointed out: "It is very important to read the terms for using smart phone applications to ensure that permissions are granted only after careful consideration. These permissions can be controlled through the application settings which display access to personal data such as photos."

"Our main concern is the unsafe technical practices of potential victims such as using weak or predictable passwords which allow extortionists to easily access accounts; visiting suspicious websites; downloading hacked programs that may contain malicious software; and not properly and thoroughly deleting phone data," Almazaina added.

He emphasised the importance of protecting computer systems through regular updates to the operating system and anti-virus programs, avoiding the unprotected storage of personal information on devices connected to the internet, and downloading programs only from trusted sources. He also invited parents to use parental control applications, review games and applications prior to downloading, and ensure that applications suit their children's ages.

Khalil Al Ali, senior officer at Al Ameen revealed that irresponsible people stand behind various famous applications and use them to get information, data, photos and videos from users to serve their own interests. He warned users to avoid using those applications without reading terms and conditions.

"We are suffering from cultural neglect within this field. Google as an example is allowed to collect and store users' data, call logs of smart phones, SMS, and locate them as in the case of social media games especially live ones. He emphasized the importance of being aware of terrorist groups, which attract the youth and children through social media. The war these days is through websites and social media to win minds and change thoughts," Al Ali concluded.

This was done during the Authority's participation in a seminar on blackmailing conducted with Al Ameen Program at the Al Rashidiya Majlis in collaboration with Dubai's Community Development Authority.  

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