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March 10, 2023

WhatsApp: Rather be blocked in UK than weaken security

  • WhatsApp has said they would rather be blocked in the UK than undermine their encrypted-messaging system, if it is a requirement of the Online Safety Bill.
  • The Head of WhatsApp said they would “refuse to comply” if asked to weaken the privacy of their app.
  • Another app, Signal, has previously said they would stop providing services in the UK if requirements of the Online Safety Bill were enforced.
  • The government wishes to have both privacy and child safety, with the Online Safety Bill potentially requiring encrypted-messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal to adopt “accredited technology” to identify and remove child abuse material.
  • To read the full story, please visit the BBC’s website.

Cyberattacks on young gamers up 57% in 2022

  • Research from Kaspersky’s latest report, The Dark Side of Kids’ Virtual Gaming Worlds, has found cybercriminals have launched more than 7 million attacks on children by exploiting popular game titles.
  • This is a 57% increase compared to 2021.
  • Phishing pages used to target young players mimicked titles including Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite and Apex Legends.
  • In some cases, cybercriminals created fake game sites to catch children’s eyes which then led them to phishing pages and to download malicious files.
  • The most popular common social engineering technique used to target young players involves offering popular ‘cheats’ and ‘mods’ for games.
  • For the full story, go to the Zawya website.

Rise in loneliness among children sparks wellbeing concerns

  • Childline delivered 5,564 sessions with children on loneliness between April 2021 and March 2022.
  • They are contacted an average of 15 times a day by children suffering from loneliness.
  • Children told counsellors they felt lonely for a range of different reasons, including feeling left out of friendship groups and social media chats.
  • Childline’s new ‘Day in The Lonely’ campaign aims to raise awareness and encourage children to seek mental health support early.
  • It uses three videos to show different ways that children may experience loneliness and it is based on real Childline calls.
  • For the full story, go to the Children and Young People Now’s website.

Calls from potential online child sex abusers double in London

  • New figures have shown calls to the ‘Stop it Now’ anonymous helpline from people based in London, have doubled over the past year.
  • The helpline supports people worried about their own or someone else’s sexual thoughts and behaviour towards children.
  • The charity has seen an increase of 114% from the previous year of people seeking advice.
  • They have warned men to be careful of their viewing habits, with heavy pornography usage being described as a common pathway into viewing sexual images of children online
  • For the full story, please visit the BBC’s website.

County lines gangs use Snapchat as their main tool to lure teenagers

  • The police have warned that Snapchat is the main tool used by gangs to recruit children into county lines drug rings.
  • Teenagers are then forced to courier numerous different drugs from London to smaller towns and cities.
  • Snapchat enables users to exchange texts, pictures and videos that disappear after they are viewed, making it harder for police to fight against.
  • Officers have been making classroom visits, urging children to reject messages sent by drug dealers that often look like “who wants to make £500 this weekend?”
  • Snapchat have stated they are “proactively searching for drug dealing and people are able to report it in-app.”
  • For the fully story, please visit the Evening Standard website.