Sushobhan Mukherjee


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Beware of Sarahah App

Preface

Sarahah is a website created by the developer from Saudi Arabia Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq. Sarahah means candor and honesty. It has become very popular in very short time because it allows you to send messages anonymously. After registration, you got a link which you can share your friends or post it publicly. Any person can send anonymous messages using via the link you have shared.

The receiver cannot find who sent the message. The services started by the motive to allow employees to give feedback to the higher authority or employers without any fear of being fired. After getting a positive response, a mobile app is also launched to expand its huge mobile audience. After getting a positive response, he also launched a mobile app to expand its huge mobile audience. On June 13 of this year, both its iOS and Android versions of Sarahah was also released.

Sarahah was designed to be used in a workspace environment as an anonymous way to get a bit of constructive criticism. The website’s tag line reads “Get honest feedback from your coworkers and friends”. In addition, there is a dedicated section on the site about how Sarahah can be helpful at work.

But Sarahah is topping the download charts because of teenagers who are currently on summer vacation. Teenagers are putting up links on their Snapchats to get the word out.

How does Sarahah app work?

– You need to download this app and set up your profile with a custom url (For e.g, XYZ.sarahah.com)

– After registering, you will get four options:

  • Messages (consists details of your sent, received and favorited messages)
  • Search
  • Explore (work in progress)
  • Profile

– Once you log in, you can search other friends or users you want send messages to.

– Upon selecting, a message box appears, prompting the user to ‘leave a constructive message’.

– Those who want to comment can press the send button. Currently it allows only texts as messages and no graphics.

Features:

  • Sarahah is unique in a couple of ways. Previous anonymous apps like Yik Yak were more of social networks. Someone could post something anonymously and anyone (either close by or online) could read the post. This is why Yik Yak was ultimately used for bullying and negative remarks. However, in Sarahah, the user is actually soliciting feedback by signing up for an account and creating the link. They’re also then deciding where to share the link so that only specific people can have access to it. The combination of these two features has so far kept the interactions as mostly positive.
  • Unlike previews anonymous messaging apps, a user creates an account, produces a link and shares it with people on social media sites. Both users who are registered or not registered on Sarahah can leave a comment for the user anonymously.
  • The Sarahah not only provides all essential features for anonymous messaging but privacy features also. By default, you are set to do not appear in search and non-registered users cannot send you messages.
  • Sarahah provides more control to its users to the user to prevent misuse or cyber bullying which mostly happen with anonymous messaging services.
  • According to the website, the intention behind the app was to strengthen the areas for improvement and enhance areas of strength. It could make drastic changes and improvement to make better professional environment if implemented everywhere.

Concerns:

Sarahah was created in the Middle East as a way for co-workers to anonymously share feedback about each other, in a region where face-to-face confrontation is not socially acceptable. Protect Young Minds goes on to say that Sarahah skyrocketed in popularity due to a new SnapChat feature that allows users to share links within their snaps. Once SnapChat users started linking to Sarahah, it went from #1500 on the iTunes charts to #1 in just 12 days.

The anonymous messaging is the convertible thing from when it has begun. Most of the people use it as a medium to threaten others. This kind of apps is used by cyber-bullies or frauds. Many Sarah users have reported the inappropriate or abusive messages.

The advent of “smart” technology has made parenting for our generation more challenging than ever before. By many, they are viewed as “fun,” “normal,” and “no big deal.” Sadly, when it comes to social media that is FAR from the truth. After reading over the weekend about the newest app, that is a threat to our kids mental and social health.

We need to know about Sarahah:

  • Anonymity within apps breeds bullying and predatory behavior. Anonymity is a great enabler for those who seek to do wrong and for immature teens who do not have good impulse control.
  • The foreign app makes it very difficult for law enforcement to find and prosecute those responsible if the app is used for illegal behavior like grooming potential victims or masquerading as a teen in order to get someone to meet you in real life. Other apps like Ask.fm and Kik are foreign-owned and this has proved to be a huge challenge as well.
  • The Access can be blocked. The parents need to prevent access to the iTunes App store and Google Play to control an app like Sarahah

Think and apply your mind before being flown with the trend!

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Data Leakage using Social Fun App

“What was the old age?”

“Who is your favorite friend?”

“How many lovers you have?”

“Which celebrity looks alike you?”

“Who will kill you?”

Do you feel you have heard these questions several times in recent past? Yes you are right. This are the questions and answers generate by a Fun App Named “Testony” (https://en.testony.com/ ). There are few more similar fun Apps like Nametest (https://en.nametests.com/), http://en.quizzstar.com/, https://sharmin.me/ , http://meawquiz.com/ and so on. Out of these Testony seems to be more popular as facebook got flooded with the output results.

How do these Apps work? They want to get some access permissions mainly Facebook (or similar social applications) and in return they get useful datas like email, message, contacts, profile, about, date of birth etc. In some cases, you have to log in to Facebook and have to apply the application to an approved application, so your information can be seen by all those applications, so it is not impossible to know the password with backend scripts.

Did you ever think how collection or leakage of data has become a cakewalk with this revolutionary marketing intelligence. This is a Honey Trap where using social media, using funny Apps, unknowingly all information and information about the persons are getting collected with user’s consent. These kind of Apps are nothing but an algorithmic Data Collection Software with various sample sizes, segments, across the globe.

Mostly everyone have been trapped by this for only getting fun. Unintentionally, all your online information, content, email lists, phonebooks, surfing patterns, browsing history are being collected by an unknown third party and being retained in their repository. Do they have any accountability? What do we know about the millions of information that they are getting used to? There is no guarantee of spamming or hacking using this information?

It is clearly defined in “Testony” site that they can use your information in business. You might get newsletters, mails, SMS as a part of Targeted advertisement for several products. This is applicable for the countries of America and Europe though nothing explicitly defined for India and other countries.

We are laughing with the friends about it, but how we are putting ourselves to the danger zone by revealing all personal data to the hacker.

Hacking/Phishing from these informations may be a child’s play for a hacker.

Immediate Resolution

To keep yourself on a safe side follow these steps to secure yourself :

  1. Hide all the testony app posts from your timeline.
  2. If you already have used this app then you must have to change your password immediately. If your Facebook email and passwords are interrelated with any email or etc then you must change that as well.
  3. Now go to applications settings tab on your Facebook account and remove that app from your list.

  1. But as you will be able to see a note there: Testony.com may still have the data you shared with them. For details about removing this data, please contact testony.com or visit the testony.com privacy policy.

 

Way Forward

We all see daydream. Everyone would love to be compared with a Super Hero, A Politician, A sportsman, A historic character. And then you feel proud or overwhelmed while getting likes/comments in social media with emotions.

We are being flooded to enough Internet data, but we need to learn to use it, rather to avoid misuse of it.

Time has come to be careful and do not share your valuable and secret information to any third party in this manner.


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Terrifying Cyber Crime Through ‘Blue Whale Challenge’

Preface

Trust you have already heard about the death game named ‘Blue Whale Challenge’. The same is in news in India post the suicide incident of a Kid in Mumbai, India.

The “Suicide Game” involves 50 twisted tasks before taking your own life to “win.”

A 14-year-old Manpreet Singh, a Class IX student in Mumbai, India flung himself from the roof of a seven-story building on Saturday in order to win a terrifying game that is apparently spreading around the world.

According to the Mumbai police, the boy is India’s first reported Blue Whale Challenge casualty.

Summary of the Game

  • 130 teenagers are already victim of this online game! Most of them are aged between 14 to 18 years old.
  • There are total 50 levels in the Game before you win. Game starts with funny activities, which can easily attract and attach your mind. But as the level of the game progresses, the more the task is to be terrifying.
  • Some terrifying steps are drawing blue whale with blades in your body, watching horror movie or a murdered video at 4.30am in the morning, and At the end, the 50th task is to jump from the top roof of the house.
  • Once this gaming app is downloaded to the mobile, it cannot be deleted in any way. Moreover, the continuous mobile notifications forces the mobile user to play this game.
  • The game started in Russia. 21-year-old Philippe Vicontacte was the admin of a social media page called “Blue Whale Suicide Game”, was the prime suspect for this death game and finally police arrested him. According to Police, Philip confessed of conducting the game. Unfortunately, his philosophy was to correct the society through his game. He was proud to say that his goal was to push those who should not live in the society, to push them to death.

Insight

Drugs, games and porn are the three major addiction for teens. This addiction is a rampant and children usually begin getting obsessed at the ages of 10-12. Cellphones usually serve as the conduit. Usually when studies get difficult, children tend to gravitate towards the Web and get enticed into all the wrong stuff.

Teenagers undergo hormonal changes and hormones take over their intelligence. Even if parents are caring and available for them, they will want to do something thrilling. Also, social media has gained so much popularity that children want to become famous through social popularity. They want a lot of attention so they indulge in this popularity stunt.

Teenagers are more vulnerable because the virtual world allows them to act freely, without the restrictions prevalent in the real world.

It has been observed that some teenagers have very low self-esteem, and rely significantly on peer approval. For them, the external environment becomes a source of inspiration, which is why they are willing to do anything to (project) a certain image.

Developers of such games are well aware of the vulnerabilities of the teenagers and know that they succumb to peer pressure easily. They are also well aware of the fact that teenagers nowadays are finding themselves unhappy, directionless and lacking goals

The worse part of the games like Blue Whale is that the creators of the group do not allow participants to leave. Hence it is important that parents teach their children about safe online behavior. Users, especially teens should exercise more caution before sharing any personal information such as their address on their profile because this gives cyber criminals a chance to bully and threaten them. Also, users should be more careful before joining vague groups, as their online footsteps can be tracked.

Conclusion

The ideal way for parents to keep children away from games like Blue Whale and other hazardous temptations is to invest more time with teenagers. Always keep a close watch on what your adolescent does on their social media sites and the internet.

Are you sure your child does not get dressed up in the middle of the night or does not want to catch you in the early hours for the last time, before jumping down the empty pails from the roof?

Let’s talk with our little ones, spend time with them as friend. Let us try to mix with them through Physical Games, Stories, Sudden Trips, Week End Shopping together.

Cyber-crime is not about only losing some money in bank, loosing mail passwords, wasting some data on ransomware. Issue is more serious as it is related to our lives. Our next generations, human minds are now targeted.

It is high time to react before it crashes.