Uploading obscene photos of ex-lovers a trend

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Uploading obscene photos to defame an ex-lover has become a trend in reported cyber crime cases in Brunei, said an assistant investigation police officer.

Familawati Mohsin of the Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit said there have been reported cases of vengeful people who posted uncompromising photos of their former lovers.

"It roughly begins when a couple's relationship has ended. One of them gets emotional and uploads his former lover's obscene personal photos in an attempt to damage her image," she said.

The police officer was delivering a talk at the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry's (AiTi) Cybersecurity Awareness Week 2014 yesterday.

She advised online users to think before they post or send any private pictures through the Internet because such photos may be used against them.

" By the time you try to stop it, your pictures might already be all over the world," she added.

Familawati also urged students to be careful when dating people they met online.

"Even by accepting a random stranger on Facebook or meeting a person from online games could be the starting point to rape," she said.

Citing an example, she said a man knew victim Miss X via online game TIBIA played through his mobile phone. He then received Miss X's information such as her name and telephone number before meeting.

"In worst case scenarios, what could happen is a man brings the girl over to his place, offers her a drugged drink, she loses control and the man takes advantage of her."

Another case involved a man meeting his 12-year-old victim by randomly adding her on Facebook.

They chatted for three months before meeting for a date. In their chat conversations, the man introduced himself as a 19-year-old when in reality he was a 35-year-old married man with four children.

The police officer said this manipulative move by paedophiles is known as sexual grooming - where children or teens are persuaded or trained to perform intercourse.

Victims must report crimes inflicted on them to police as soon as possible, she said.

"What can you do? Ask help from people you trust, parents, close friends, teachers - do not become a voiceless victim. In Brunei, you can call the police at its hotline 993 or go to the nearest police station," she said.

"If physically hurt, head over to the nearest hospital and do not erase the evidence because it's important to not "clean" evidences that can help land the (perpetrator) his deserved punishment."

In another talk, BruCert Operations Officer Eddysham Hj Sanif reminded the public not to share their location or whereabouts online.

"I urge Internet users to always remind themselves that communicating with strangers on the internet is dangerous," he added.

Presenting on security measures from falling victim to online financial scams, he cited a reported case in Brunei where a teenage girl was tricked and raped after she revealed her address.

He also gave an example of a recent case of a 60-year-old Bruneian who fell for an African scam on social media.

The operations officer added that sharing personal information on the Internet could lead to identity theft.

"There is a technique by hackers called phishing. It is a fraudulent attempt, usually made through email, to steal your personal information," he said.

He went on to say that phishing emails would appear to come from a well-known organisation, and would ask users for personal information such as credit card number and password.

"Banks never ask for your password. Remember that," he reiterated.

During a question and answer session, a member of the audience asked whether a bank in Brunei has previously been hacked.

Eddysham responded that there has never been a reported case of bank accounts being hacked in Brunei.

"But we do have cases of usernames hacked here," he added.

BruCert is a consultant that manages IT security for the government, such as resolving virus outbreaks.