KT Edit: The onus is on us to be discerning social media users
Since the young are vulnerable, homes and schools should impress up on their wards the need to be discerning in their social media usage.
Published: Sun 20 Jan 2019, 8:29 PM
Last updated: Sun 20 Jan 2019, 10:30 PM
It is heartening that the UAE is equipped with smart technologies to deal with all kinds of cybercrimes. But it is daunting that despite the precautions, the number of fake accounts on social media has swelled, with the UAE alone blocking 2,920 such accounts last year, up from 1,799 in 2017 and 1,899 in 2016. It is pertinent to remember that even as such crimes are committed mainly for financial exploitation and defamation, the fake users could also be real users hiring bots who may not be after your money or credit card info as much as they are after your 'followers'.
Social media necessitates us to share information among friends, family and associates. And they are likely to trust them since it's coming from someone they know. This is precisely what threat actors take advantage of. They hack legitimate accounts and create imposter accounts to share false information. And if you like or share this, the network is more likely to like and share that information.
The global society we live in makes it imperative to maintain an online presence.
And when perception of oneself is of prime importance, we tend to project an ideal self, divergent from the real. In fact, this is one of the reasons why social media is so popular. No face-to-face interaction means the real self is protected while the ideal is projected. Authenticity should be the key here. Align the ideal self with the real. Report fake accounts that impersonate you or your business. Always depend on verified profiles, avoid oversharing and when in doubt, don't post. Do not fall prey to scam contests or surveys as they provide access to the account or personal information which could ultimately be used for nefarious purposes. While it is important for governments to have strict, well-defined cybercrime laws and others measures to raise public awareness, the onus lies on every individual to use their accounts responsibly. And since the young are more vulnerable, homes and schools should impress up on their wards the need to be discerning in their social media usage. If time needs to be allotted in schools for this purpose, so be it. Because it is important that the users know whom they are talking to, whom they are spending time with, and if the person they are planning to meet is for real.