ONLINE CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE INCREASES
Reports of online child sexual abuse have increased by 5.9% in the year to March 2021, according to information released by Police Scotland last week.
Almost 2,000 child sexual abuse crimes were recorded in Scotland over the period, which is 24% greater than the five-year average of 1,574 crimes. Police Scotland were involved in the safeguarding of 434 children via 649 child abuse prevention programmes.
Overall crime reports fell over the same period, highlighting the increased risk posed to children by online abuse during national coronavirus restrictions.
As part of efforts to combat online child sexual abuse, a taskforce has been established by the Internet Watch Foundation to collect “digital images” of abuse imagery to stop them being shared online.
The Foundation has been granted access to the UK’s Child Abuse Database in order to build a tool which can help tech companies identify and remove harmful material uploaded to online platforms before they can be published.
“This government is determined to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to prevent child sexual abuse online and the innovative use of technology is central to this,” Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins is reported as saying on the IWF website.
GET CYBER-SECURE FOR SUMMER OF SPORT: NCSC
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned sports fans to protect their online streaming accounts ahead of major sporting events this summer.
Millions of people streamed the all-English Champions League football final on May 29th, with many users vulnerable to hackers because of poor levels of security on their accounts.
According to the NCSC, hundreds of thousands of online streaming accounts have been hacked because fans used football team names as account credentials. Over 280,000 accounts used the term ‘Liverpool’, while over 216,000 used ‘Chelsea’ and 179,000 used ‘Arsenal’.
As part of their guidance, the NCSC recommended that streaming account users create strong passwords for new accounts, refresh passwords for existing accounts and update streaming apps to protect against cyberattacks.
RISKY FAKE PIERCINGS POPULARISED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The magnets can become strongly attracted to each other from different parts of the intestines causing the risk of serious damage. The NHS identified 65 incidents of children who had apparently swallowed ‘super strong’ magnets and 26 incidents in adults.
The magnets are being used more regularly because of an online trend amongst children and teenagers to attach them as fake tongue piercings, and videos of their use have been shared widely on social media.
According to the BBC, the British Toy and Hobby Association has called for the magnets to be classified as toys in order to meet more stringent regulations which would prevent them from being small enough to swallow.
DEEPFAKE PORN “EPIDEMIC”
Deepfake pornography, in which people’s faces are edited into pornographic content in a way which appears realistic, risks becoming an ‘epidemic’ of sexual abuse, according to professor of Law, Clare McGlynn.
“If we don’t stop this now, we don’t try and change things now, this is going to just become the next pandemic,” she told the BBC.
Cases of deepfake pornography sexual abuse have risen by a third each year since 2019, according to one victims’ charity. Increasingly powerful consumer video editing technology has made this kind of sexual abuse easier for abusers to create from their home computers.
HMRC SCAMS GROW
A report by Action Fraud reveals that HMRC responded to over 433,000 reports of phone scams in the 12 months to 30th April 2021, a 135% increase on the previous year.
Many thousands of taxpayers have been sent scam emails and text messages from accounts purporting to be HMRC and demanding personal information such as bank account details.
“We’re urging all of our customers to be really careful if they are contacted out of the blue by someone asking for money or bank details,” said Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services.
“If you have any doubts, we suggest you don’t reply directly, and contact us yourself straight away. Search GOV.UK for our ‘scams checklist’ and to find out ‘how to report tax scams’.”
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