| Danial Norjidi |
THE topic of staying safe online took centre stage yesterday as a special seminar session was held for students as part of Cybersecurity Awareness Week 2014.
Organised by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), the seminar focused on raising awareness among young people of the many hazards that exist online, and how they can keep themselves safe.
The first presentation came from Sgt Familawati binti Hj Moksin of the Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit of the Royal Brunei Police Force, who spoke on the unit’s functions, which include dealing with sexual offences, domestic violence, the abandonment of babies and teenagers.
The Internet, she said, poses new challenges.
She noted that Brunei has the highest Facebook penetration rate in Asia, leading with 59.25 per cent. In Brunei, every seven out of 10 people are online, while almost 6 out of 10 people in the country use Facebook.
On her next point, she spoke about the sexual exploitation of children. She shared statistics based on investigated cases pertaining to rape and underage intercourse, which showed that in 2009, out of 39 cases, 20 involved those under the age of 16, with 16 of the cases (80 per cent) being the result of meeting online. In 2010, 17 out of the 34 cases involved those under the age of 16, with 14 (82 per cent) meeting online.
The following year saw 28 cases, 16 of which were underage, nine of them (56 per cent) having met online. Up until April 2012, 10 cases were investigated, six involving people under 16, all meeting online.
Out of all the cases, perpetrators were aged between 14-48 years old, while victims were as young as 12.
One such case she elaborated on was that of a ‘serial Internet rapist,’ where a number of rape incidents took place involving three victims.
The first case involved a victim called ‘Miss X,’ who the perpetrator got to know through the online game, ‘Tibia,’ which was played via mobile phone. Through this, the perpetrator was able to attain information on Miss X, including her name and phone number. The perpetrator then proceeded to contact Miss X via messaging, introduced himself and set up a meet.
The second case was that of ‘Miss Y,’ the perpetrator got to know the victim by chatting on MSN.
The third case involved ‘Miss Z,’ where the perpetrator also used MSN chat to meet the victim. After introductions, the perpetrator went on to meet with Miss Z. As was explained during the presentation, the victim was taken home by the perpetrator and “raped twice.”
In the end, the perpetrator was found guilty and imprisoned for 20 years with 12 lashes.
Sgt Familawati also shared an example case of ‘sexual grooming,’ which she explained means coercing children or underage teenagers into having sex by using online chat or streaming programmes.
The perpetrator in this particular case got to know the victim via a random introduction on Facebook. After chatting and staying in contact for three months, the perpetrator and victim met up for a first date.
The victim was 12 at the time, while the perpetrator was 35, married and had four children. He had however introduced himself as being 19. He was later found guilty and sentenced to eight years imprisonment and 10 lashes.
Another example case she shared was that of a break-up, which involved a man uploading nude photos and a sexually explicit video of his ex-girlfriend on the Internet. The perpetrator did this by creating a Facebook account under his ex-girlfriend’s pet name and added all of her family members and friends.
The perpetrator’s actions were motivated by anger and frustration at having his ex-girlfriend break up with him. He ended up being found guilty and imprisoned for 10 months.
In concluding her presentation, Sgt Familawati spoke on what people can do if they become victims of such abuse. Actions that they can take are – ask for help from someone they trust, such as a close friend, a teacher, parents, a brother or sister; don’t become a silent witness; contact the police via the 993 hotline, the nearest police station or the Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit. In addition, victims can also contact JAPEM at 141 as well as go to the nearest hospital or clinic.
She also shared various tips for online safety, including: not revealing your password to anyone and changing it periodically; using a nickname that does not reveal your real name, gender or age; storing personal information privately and learning privacy settings; ensuring your Facebook account is private; accepting friend requests of only people you actually know; not posting anything you would not want your parents or teachers to see; close a chat as soon as you feel uncomfortable with the conversation.
Other tips include – say no firmly when someone invites you to meet up, regardless of how long you have been chatting for; inform your parents, siblings or teachers as soon as something happens; only send pictures or videos to people you know; ensure your phone is not placed somewhere it can be taken by someone else; ask for permission from your parents to give out your personal information, such as home address, phone number or account number.
The next speaker yesterday afternoon was Angela Tay, a Consultant from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), who spoke on how to ‘Have Fun on the Internet Safely.’
Her presentation began centred on online games played via a mobile device or on Facebook. She warned, however, of fake games that exist out there. These fake games, when downloaded, infect devices with malware (malicious software), which can steal information. Unlike the real version of the game, these fake versions can also cause one’s mobile device to incur charges each time the application is used.