Eveminet Blog Article About Screening Content for Kids, And The Dangers of Cartoons Like Fake Peppa Pig

The Real Peppa Pig vs The One Who Is A Danger To Your Little One

If you have a young child in pre-school or kindergarten then you are probably familiar with the British cartoon Peppa Pig. This cartoon is so popular that young kids in America and Canada are developing British accents to be more like hers! If you have watched an episode of this show, then you are familiar with how inquisitive, cheeky and charming Peppa can be…though some parents find her a bit rude. But that’s not what should worry parents and guardians the most…

Recently, we at Eveminet noticed a viral Facebook post that worried many parents. It prompted us to make this blog and address this serious cyber safety issue.

2019 Update: trending now is the MOMO challenge. I encourage parents to be aware of what their kids are doing online,…

Posted by Kitty Jean on Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The viral post that was shared in Kilimani Mums Facebook Group

Can The Real Peppa Pig Please Stand Up…

As far back as 2016, there have been many reports about fake You Tube Channels pretending to be the official Peppa Pig You Tube Channel. The creators of these accounts create content that promote violent behavior, suicide, drug abuse and even sex. The most alarming video showed a step by step guide on how kids can slit their wrists while attempting suicide. Another one urged young kids to switch on the gas and lock the doors after everyone gets home!

How They Trick Us…

The people responsible for these accounts, know exactly what they are doing. they hide cleverly in plain site by using misleading thumbnails and tags to trick the Google Algorithm. Others even go to the extent of creating ads. They are able to get away with this and reach millions of kids every day because of the high volume of traffic You Tube enjoys.

The fact is, that Peppa Pig fans are not the only victims. These individuals have also created fake Mickey Mouse and Calilou accounts. Clearly, we as parents and guardians have to take steps to ensure that our kids are watching the right things online. We can not leave this to chance or else our little ones will suffer.

How To Protect Your Little One

We aren’t all Steve Jobs and for some of us even operating a smart phone can be a challenge but there is nothing more powerful than the love of a parent. By using the following tips, you can ensure your child’s safety on You Tube.

1. Download The You Tube Kids App

Say goodbye to regular You Tube and install You Tube Kids on your children’s devices or the devices they have access to. The application is free and available on both Google Play Store and the Apple Store

2. Create A Profile For Your Child

Create a profile for your child, this will help identify your child’s preferences and will also make it easier if you have more than one child sharing the same device. You can create a separate profile for each of your kids.

3. Restrict Browsing on The Parental Control

Make use of the parental control feature that determines whether you have permitted your child to browse their own content or not. You Tube recommends using it, to limit the probability of harmful content that can reach your child.

4. Choose The Channels & Videos Your Child Watches

You can choose “trusted channels” and videos in the Collections section, as well as restrict the “recommended” channels to only ones that have been viewed and approved by a human. The human part is more important than ever before, because as much as Google’s safety algorithm filters out grown up content for You Tube Kids, some questionable content does manage to slip through at times.

To access these settings, you unlock the “grown-ups only” section by using either a random pass code (written out so that pre-readers can’t use it) or a custom pass code you create. Then log into your Google account and select the user whose profile you want to add controls to. 

5. Regulate The Time Your Child Spends On You Tube

You Tube Kids further allows parents to regulate the amount of time their children spend watching videos thanks to a clever timer that will lock the child out once time is up. This ensures your child doesn’t become addicted to the internet and uses their time constructively.

6. Age Restrictions

Even though the application recommends that it can be used by kids as young as 4 years of age, we support the guidelines by Common Sense Media that it is better suited for kids aged 7 years and above.

NB/ Common Sense Media helps parents not just regulate You Tube content but they help identify appropriate online content as well as give their expert opinion on age restrictions. We highly recommend using them.

7. Regulate Ad Content (Optional)

If you are keen on avoiding ads and any harmful content that may be parading as an ad, you can sign up for You Tube Premium

NB: Sadly its is not yet available in Kenya but will be soon.

8. Sign Up For Parents Unplugged

There is only so much we can say in a blog! Sign up for our Parents Unplugged Training Session this April and learn more ways that you can become a Digital Parenting Champion.

Also take a look at all our other 2019 events for you and your family.

Our 2019 Events, Classes, Training Sessions And Programs
Eveminet 10 Ways To Stop Cyber Bullying In Kenya Blog Post

10 Ways We Can Prevent Cyber-Bullying in Kenya.

Better safe than sorry! No one asks to be bullied but thanks to a few tips we can effectively break the cycle. In many cases, bullied people often turn into bullies themselves if they do not receive the appropriate help. Thanks to our Whiz Kid Program for tweens and teens and the Unplugged program for Digital Parents, we address cyber-bullying from both the child’s perspective and the parents.

Tips for Teens & Kids Who Experience Cyber-Bullying

1. Never Blame Yourself

When a person chooses to repeatedly attack or confront you online, always know that it is not your fault. Sometimes you may may disagree and argue with your friends or classmates, but continuous targeting is cyber-bullying and it is wrong.

2. Retaliation Is Not A Solution

When you respond to a bully and get lost in the aggression, you end up turning yourself into a bully too. If you come across a hurtful post or text and you get emotional, take a deep breath and stop yourself from responding immediately by thinking positively.

(PS: Try counting backwards or distracting yourself until you are calm enough to act appropriately)

3. Keep Records Of Everything

In case you did not know, the internet is forever. If you receive texts that you feel are bullying you ensure you save them as proof in case the situation worsens. For social media posts, taking screen shots and saving the posts also works as well.

4. Ask Them To Stop

Feel free to politely ask whoever is bullying you to stop. If you feel strong enough to talk to them, make sure you are clear and confident when you pass your message. You can try practicing with your friends or family before you do it.

5. Use Available Technology Tools

Most platforms today have blocking and reporting features. Save yourself unnecessary heartache by blocking the individual and reporting them though this is not a guarantee it will stop. If the threats are harmful or physical in nature or even sexual, ensure that your parents and or guardian are aware and ensure you report the matter to the police.

PS: Here is a pro Cyber Security Tip: NEVER EVER share your passwords with anyone even your best friends. 

Tips for Parents & Guardians To Help Deal With Cyber-Bullying

1. It Pays To Observe Your Child

Most teenagers and kids often choose to hide problems like bullying from their parents whether online or offline. So if you notice that your child is losing sleep or doesn’t seem as enthusiastic about school as before or appears to get stressed when on his or her computer or phone; ask them why as calmly and as open-heartedly as possible. Feel free to ask if it has anything to do with mean behavior or social issues. But even if it does, don not assume it’s bullying. You won’t know until you get the full story, starting with what your child is thinking and feeling.

2. Think Before You Leap

Whatever course of action you take must be well planned out. You must fight your inner “mama bear” or “daddy bear” and hold yourself back from any rash actions. This is because despite your intentions, you may end up worsening the entire situation if you do. Cyber-bullying is mostly psychological and involves putting down and excluding someone. It is modern day marginalization at it’s worst. Bullies often get a kick out of this and feel like it empowers them or improves their status. That is why discretion and tact are key.

3. Listen and Learn 

It is important to offer a listening ear to your child and learn as much as you can about what happened. It is vital to note that despite how sincere they may be, their account is only one side of the story. And often times online, a lot can happen or be misinterpreted. Be patient and gather all the facts in order to form a clear picture of what happened.

4. Helping Them Heal

Not all scars are visible, some run deep inside our beings. Cyber-bullying can do that to any person, young or old. When dealing with a child who has been bullied, they often have low self confidence and self esteem. Your role as a parent is to remind them of their worth and help restore their confidence. This requires patience and understanding and most of all love.

4. Helping Them Heal

Not all scars are visible, some run deep inside our beings. Cyber-bullying can do that to any person, young or old. When dealing with a child who has been bullied, they often have low self confidence and self esteem. Your role is to remind them of their worth and help restore their confidence. This requires patience and understanding and most of all love.

5. Remember There Are Always Silver Linings

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The same applies to your kids. Nothing lasts forever and when they overcome this hurdle, as they sure will they will be much stronger than before.

Eveminet Communication The Truth About Cyber Bullying In Kenya Blog Article Featured Image

The Truth About Cyber-Bullying In Kenya


Cyber-bullying refers to the use of the Internet and/or mobile technology to harass, intimidate, or cause harm to another person. Despite the fact that  bullying is hardly a new social issue; thanks to technology advancements it has gradually evolved from the school environment and moved to social platforms. According to a report by the African Women and Children Feature Service, Kenyan schools report a much higher rate of bullying than the world average. As a social enterprise concerned with the provision of family based digital solutions, cyber-bullying is a topic we at Eveminet deal with regularly. We offer our expert insight on the face of this issue in our country and how we can combat it.

Popular Platforms Kenyans Use to Bully People Online

Many Kenyans today are either victims or perpetrators of cyber-bullying, knowingly or unknowingly. Thanks to increased digital penetration, more and more Kenyans are using digital social platforms to communicate and interact than ever before. Our world famous twitter community, commonly referred to as K.O.T. ( Kenyans On Twitter ) is one great example of how active we are online. Other famous platforms that have gained notoriety include Facebook Groups such as Kilimani Mums and Dads and Buyers Beware.

Some Famous Kenyan Victims of Cyber Bullying

Just recently, the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of Kenya, David Maraga shared his frustrations over bloggers. He used the example of a viral meme to show how he has being harassed by bloggers and Kenyans online. His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta responded to him by saying,


Bwana CJ we tried passing some law to help us restrain these people (bloggers) but the court told us it was unconstitutional. Like the rest of us, get used to it .

H.E. President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, during the Anti-Corruption Conference

He is just one among many public figures who has come to accept cyber-bullying as a way of life. Last year, gospel musician Jimmy Gait shared his personal experience on the issue. He says he almost quit music and killed himself because of it. Quite often, when a celebrities make mistakes, online audiences are quick to judge. Challenges and memes trend almost instantly and add salt to injury. Some of the issues raised are genuine and are meant to raise awareness but the message is often lost. The masses often deviate from the problem and end up causing more harm. A good example is the “KobiCat”Challenge. Kenyans exposed media personality Kobi Kihara for stealing content and faking her online image. She became the subject of multiple jokes and blogs in a twisted form of online revenge.

Recently, some negative comments on Willy Paul’s Instagram profile turned a moment of thanks into one of sadness. He had just survived a horrifying terror attack at the Dusit Hotel, that claimed many lives and injured many more. A large number of Kenyans took to the comment section of his posts to express their disappointment over his survival. The situation got worse when Kenyans took it a step further by sharing insensitive memes that went viral.

The Legal Impact of Cyber-Bullying in Kenya

In Kenya, freedom of expression is enshrined in our constitution under Article 33 and is a universal human right. According to the ICCPR, of which we are signatories; these rights come along with great “special duties and responsibilities” that may result in some limitations, such as respect of the rights or reputation of others.

The worst part about cyber-bullying is that many people gain confidence and hide behind their online personas because there are largely unaware that cyber-bullying laws exist. The Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Bill 2018 came into effect last year May. Article 27 addresses what the issue of cyber harassment and under what grounds one may seek legal aid.

(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.

Article 27 (2) of The Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Bill, Act No. 5 Of 2018, Laws of Kenya

Side Effects of Cyber-Bullying

Some of the effects of cyber bullying may have on an individual include:

  1. A drop in self-esteem;
  2. Withdrawal from society and family;
  3. Fear of gadgets, digital communication and social platforms;
  4. Avoiding work and school environments;
  5. Avoiding social events and gatherings;
  6. Losing weight or changing appearance to try and fit in;
  7. Inflicting self harm;
  8. Suicidal and violent thoughts;
  9. Personality shift i.e. anger, depression, crying, withdrawal

The Solution…

The only way to tackle cyber bullying is by creating awareness and promoting the importance of digital empathy and digital etiquette. By enforcing the same moral values we expect all people to abide by day to day online, we can ensure that we are collectively better behaved and mature when addressing posting content. And the only way for our children to embrace this, is if we lead by example. Read our article on 10 Ways We Can Prevent Cyber-Bullying in Kenya.

The 2019 Wiz Kids Programme

The Whiz Kids Programme

We are starting off the year with a big announcement! Whiz Kids Africa will be hosting a 10 week programme beginning this January. Set to kick off on Saturday the 19th, the workshop aims to help children between the ages of 7 and 17 years old in growing their digital expertise.

The program objectives are as follows:

  • To enable the child to self regulate their use of technology in a right way;
  • To help the child to be ethical and have considerate behavior online and offline;
  • To help the child respect their own as well as other’s privacy online;
  • To help the child demonstrate an awareness and compassion for the feelings,needs and concerns of others online;
  • To help the child manage their digital footprints and use technology in a manner that contributes to a positive reputation.
  • Help kids explore and exploit technology for self-development and personal growth.

The three main fields of focus are:

  1. Digital Citizenship
  2. Digital Creativity
  3. Digital Entrepreneurship

Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship can be defined as the required methods and practices of appropriate and responsible behavior in relation to the use of technology.

Digital Creativity

This is the art of bringing ideas and imagination to life on digital platforms or through the use of technology. From Computer Art to Music, to Robotics and Animation; there are numerous creative avenues your child can explore. We teach Whiz Kids how to harness their creativity in a digital world.

Digital Entrepreneurship

Just like our children, the future of business and entrepreneurship is digital. Traditional business practices all over the world have been shifting towards social platforms, mobile innovations, cloud software, cyber solutions and analytics. This is so that they can better leverage modern technology for better business practices in the digital era we are living in.

Whiz Kids Africa Workshop

For our children to succeed in a modern world it is vital that they develop the necessary skills and mindsets. By teaching them on how to capitalize and harness the power of the internet economically, creatively and socially we are ensuring that they have all the relevant tools at their fingertips literally.

The programme will be carried out every Saturday from the 19th under the guidance of our top ICT Consultant Evelyn Kasina who has amassed international recognition for her great work in promoting Digital Literacy among children and parents/guardians. Each session will begin at 8:30 AM until 10: AM  for the first session and 10:30 AM to 12:30 AM for the second session at our offices, K.P. Offices, Suite 13, along Jakaya Kikwete Road.

Enroll your child today.

Kindly note that the program costs KES 14,000 per child, and the amount is payable through our M-PESA PAYBILL number  808768 account name, kindly insert the child’s name.

Click HERE for the sign up form.

 

The Internet And Our Children

In light of the recent shocking revelations that every 1 in 5 Kenyan girls is a mother, the Kenyan nation is at a standstill. We are all trying to find a solution to this heartbreaking problem. Just last week, ICT CS, Hon. Joe Mucheru gave a directive to the Communications Authority to filter pornographic sites. This is supposed to help curb the high rate of sexual activity and moral decay amongst teens and pre-teens; Many Kenyans took to Twitter to ask if this would really help.

Eveminent Safeguarding Our Children

Reality vs Publicity

Frankly, most of the girls getting pregnant while in school are not from urban areas where internet penetration is high. They come from semi-urban and rural areas where internet penetration is low but cultural beliefs are still high. KNEC Chairman, Mr. George Magoha stated that parents were responsible for their children falling pregnant at a young age. Sadly, this can be tied to the fact that it still remains taboo in some parts of the country for parents to openly talk about sex to their children.

Safeguarding Our Children

The Long Lasting Effects of Tradition on Raising Children

Can we really blame them entirely though? How is someone supposed to share knowledge that they themselves did not have access to? Most grown ups in Kenya discovered quite roughly on their own what sex is, with little help from their parents. This vicious cycle still persists. The teenage pregnancy crisis in our country has shed light on the fact that it is not only our children who need effective sexual health education, but parents too. Pornography may be a contributing factor, but it is far from the key reason our girls are finding themselves in these predicaments. We need to address:

  1. Lack of proper sexual education in schools;
  2. Inaccessibility of family planning services and solutions;
  3. Lack of parental guidance;
  4. Prevalent cultural beliefs;

What Needs To Be Done To Help Our Children

Like any tool, the internet can be used for both good and evil. Filtering pornography is a move in the right direction, not just for our children but for our society as a whole as pornography destroys families and societies in various ways. We can do this through:

  1. Using the internet to create educative platforms for both parents and children about sexual education and health;
  2. Creating a safe online platform where we children can report sexual abuse without fear of stigma;
  3. Launching national campaigns to create awareness about the benefits of waiting before engaging in sex ;
  4. Demystifying what sex is to our children, because curiosity is a major contributing factor. If we can control the curiosity, we solve part of the problem.

Let’s use the internet to protect our children from ruining their lives by arming them with the knowledge they need to succed by using the internet effectively.

 

bal

The Art of Balancing Technology

Managing one’s online and offline life in a balanced way requires some level of discipline and self – control. The art of balancing screen time, multi tasking on different devices and online participation is an acquired skill we equip at Eveminet.

The foundational value of using technology with purpose driven intention, one has to exhibit integrity to keep their promise on screen time and technology usage, and develop harmony with others by prioritizing a healthy relationship through self – regulation.

It is no surprise that both parents and children often feel overwhelmed by technology however, it is imperative to seek out help in upon that realization.

We train children to assess health risks related to technology and equip them with tools to reduce the risks. By doing this they are able to develop time and resource management skills that allow them to successfully perform their tasks and use entertainment.

We have tips that enable children and adults master the “Art of Balancing Technology”

  1.  Develop a Family Technology Use Policy
  2.  Become an educated Role Model
  3.  Set up Tech – Free Zones.
  4.  Develop Technology Shut Down Times.
  5. Do your chores before engaging with Technology
  6. Balance Learning and Entertainment
  7. Learn and apply the basic Cyber Security precautions.
  8. Get a Gadget Basket to keep all portable devices during Family Time.

It is important to learn the fine balance of technology because there is a rise in Mental Health Illness, Depression, Suicide, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Addiction. ETC

“In the end it is all a balance.” – Rohinton Mistry.

 

factcheck

Fact-Checking Tools for Teens and Tweens

 

There’s been a heightened focus on the media,especially with claims of “fake news” being thrown around by candidates and pundits. The global virtual society cannot be ignored as the internet provides a platform to disseminate Information and meta data.

So how can you know if you’re reading a credible news source or a website that’s been compromised? How can we equip our children who are vulnerable with tools and skills to enable them not fall victim?

We live at a time where everyone wants to get the latest information as fast as possible and share it to their networks even faster, therefore it is prudent to verify information and its sources because the consequences of “mis-information” or “Fake News” are draconian.

Common Sense Media – An informative and well equipped website has a plethora of tools for Fact Checking suitable for Kids.

1. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/snopes
2. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/opensecretsorg
3. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/factcheckorg
4. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/poynter

In addition, Eveminet has a Digital Literacy Program called Whiz Kids Africa for teens and tweens that among other topics focuses on Digital Footprint Management. Individuals are able to manage their digital footprints and use technology in a manner that contributes to positive reputation and acquire attitudes and values on prudence and virtual responsibility.

Parents and guardians raising the internet generation have huge a responsibility to educate their children on Media and Information which primarily should aid in the child being careful and critical of the information that they encounter online and self aware on how their moods and emotions may be influenced by their digital experiences.

Cyber Security – Data Loss and Protection

Dear Entrepreneur,

How often do you think about your Data Protection?

The ICT authority of Kenya in collaboration with the Communication Authority of Kenya drafted a Data Protection Bill in 2012. Despite this, Cyber Security has not yet become a reality for many in Africa particularly Kenya. We have had ‘ Scares” in 2017 but the threat has not really sunk in and I understand –To see is to believe right?

Medical Insurance covers offer one annual body check up for its clients but close to 70% of the people don’t take up this service yet have paid for it, the argument sometimes being “ I am feeling ok, or I don’t have time”. My point being it happens across sectors.

They say Prevention is Better than a cure.

In 2015, I witnessed my second biggest Cyber Attack, this was astonishing because the client had protection from a firewall. I got a notification that a ransomware had captured the 1TB File server and the hackers were demanding ransom in form of Bitcoin.

As a security consultant, I went on site to undertake an audit and realized that the firewall had been tampered with.

Company Data had been compromised and encrypted in addition, there was a silent worm spreading through the network monitoring information from LAN computers.

In such a case Client Information is compromised. Let me put this in perspective for you, Uber was hacked and over 57 million customer accounts and information was compromised. It is possible that 9 out of every 10 Kenyans have an Uber App installed on their phones and linked to their email. Think about the exposure and the magnitude of the threat.

IT Policies, Procedures and an experienced IT Specialist are very important in any organization doing Trade in the 21st Century.

Wi-fi Protection, End Point Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Protection, Data Backup to Staff Training on risk exposure.

Data is the New Gold, we work so hard year after year not realizing that within a blink of an eye you can lose everything and it could be irreversible.

Cyber Security Threats have seen heads of IT Departments lose their Jobs, Businesses go down, Brands ruined, learn from others don’t be a sitting duck.

Cyber Security training is meant for every member of an Organization From the Board members to the Cleaners.

Ask yourself what it would cost you if you were to lose all your company Data.

Reach us today for Professional IT Consultancy.

THE GOOD, THE BAD OF DIGITAL EXPOSURE ON CHILDREN

The digital landscape has brought with it a bag of mixed fortunes. Too much exposure can be harmful and not enough access makes the individual seem underprivileged. Increase in the use of mobile phones and improved infrastructure has made it easier for children to be online.

Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF, launched a report dabbed The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World. He said, “Our job is to mitigate the harm and expand the opportunities digital technology makes possible.” The rise and heavy use of technology are changing the childhood experience. The most connected age group is that of 15-24 years which stands at 71% against the global average of 48%. The increase in the use of the Smartphone as a mode of internet access has also led to a ‘bedroom culture’ that is secluded and has less supervision from parents.

Digital prevalence also varies around the globe with Africa getting the shorter end of the stick. Nearly 60% of African teenagers are not connected to the grid as compared to 4% in Europe. Women and girls are also 12% less likely to be online.

Use of technology has proved to be useful by allowing dissemination of information that might have otherwise been cumbersome to get. A lot of businesses now thrive online allowing families to eke a living and reducing the unemployment rate. We live in a global village where we have the choice of getting the best from various parts of the world to improve our livelihoods.

Some of the common negative effects that digitization comes with are cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, addiction, and some of the newer trends such as The Dark Web that stream inappropriate videos and use of Cryptocurrencies. Young people may unwillingly give out information on their social media platforms as well as when downloading games that are used by unscrupulous marketers.

Children are far too young to be able to gauge the effects of their online actions to know which are harmful and what is advantageous. Consuming online content with a bit of emotional intelligence will ensure that maximized. However, not all impacts if digitalization on children’s well being is universally agreed upon. The challenges need to be addressed by both parents and policymakers alike so that measures are put in place to safeguard their well-being.

Eveminet has developed a Digital Literacy & Intelligence curriculum for Teens and Pre-Teens where we aim to develop an all rounded Digital Citizen.

SOCIAL ENGINEERING

The quest for development of a sound digital economy has been on the upswing in the past decade. Businesses can no longer rely on traditional physical locations, newspapers or organized events to connect with their customers. A proper online presence is essential for any business. A typical genesis of a digital ID is a website with most asking the visitors to provide personal details like name and email addresses for feedback. Some might even ask for a phone number.

While this might seem like an honest business-related request, there are people who exist solely for the purpose of exploiting this need to connect to the online arena. The use of social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and personal to express oneself as well as share experiences have taken away the hustle of having to meet someone physically in order to know what they are about. The allure to divulge personal details is very high, especially with ‘live’ features that allow one to stream their activities online. Some of these ‘live’ sessions give away location and time the person was recording.

Social engineering is the art of mimicking a person’s online persona and impersonating them. In the 90s, one had to follow people physically and sometimes actually interact with them to know what they are about. The advanced ones of the time made calls using persuasive and flattering and persuasive language to get information. The popularity of social media has taken away so many loopholes as people are willingly creating personal profiles, accompanied by photos that show their lifestyles to the online community. A simple password hack can give a stranger to your online community where they can tarnish your reputation, or solicit money, among other things.

Gathering digital data is not that hard or time-consuming as compared to the previous methods. Studying individual digital footprints provides insights on what a person likes and how they would react on certain issues. Outright criminals have a tendency of monitoring how online stores bill their clients. They in turn hack data banks, gain access to confidential financial information that they use without the owner’s permission. Once the long arm of the law catches up with these activities, the unsuspecting victim is left to take the blame. On one hand, they might copy the ID of an online user and use it. On the other, they might get the credit details and rack up a bill that the owner only notices when they get the statement.

Social engineering is not just an adult problem. Children and young adults are the most vulnerable. At a time when self-identity issues creep in and the need for self-validation is high. A lot of what is posted online is not reflective of what one is going through. Rather it is a life desired. Social engineers ply on such factors to gain trust. A simple invitation to chat with an online companion turns into a highly crafted interview where over time, the victim gives up information on passwords or sensitive knowledge that can be used against them.

Others might send a link via email or an item to download. Use of catchy titles or compelling messages such as medical appeals, emergency or donations to funds that seem to be a worthy cause is quite common. If sent to an organization, this can spell doom to some of the company’s sensitive data. In late 2017, media personality Njambi Koikai who is battling thoracic endometriosis was holding an online fundraiser. An imposter attempted to ride on her predicament by posting a parallel message but offered a different mode of assistance that channeled funds away from her. Another scenario involved a number of social media personalities having people create pseudo accounts where they copy the online personalities but with sinister motives. The main targets for such are people who wield a lot of influence.

The world is increasingly becoming a global village. Many people will want to benefit from the success of others without using proper means. It is paramount that people take measures in protecting themselves from social engineering. There are steps one can take but the reality of personal responsibility in cyber attacks cannot be ignored. A lot of digital intelligence needs to be exercised.

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