Kochi

Is Blue Whale the real threat?

State Police Chief Loknath Behera and Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan at the inauguration of c0c0n X – 2017 that got under way in the city on Friday.

State Police Chief Loknath Behera and Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan at the inauguration of c0c0n X – 2017 that got under way in the city on Friday.  

One cannot be fully guided by media and internet reports, says expert

Are the threats posed by Blue Whale game real or imaginary?

With many questions remaining unanswered, it was more an imaginary one, and the hysteria created over it only helped the real threats in the cyberworld go unnoticed.

This was the conclusion reached at the end of a session on the threats posed by online gaming conducted by Riyaz Walikar and Akash Mahajan from the Bengaluru chapter of Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a free and open software online community, at the Kid Glove track of c0c0n X, a two-day hacking and cyber security briefing which got under way here on Friday.

“Where the information is coming from, and what is the credibility of the source of that information were critical factors in determining the threat perception. One cannot be fully guided by media and internet reports,” Mr. Walikar said.

He then went on to pose eight unanswered technological questions to drive home the point on Blue Whale. Is there an app or a website? Where are the challenges coming from? Who is hosting the service or app? What are the end points? Who is the creator? Is there any forensic evidence from devices acquired from suspected victims of the game? Is there any communication channel that can be intercepted?

Real threats

They said that with these issues remaining unanswered there was no point in buying into the hysteria created over the game as it only served to ignore the real threats.

The real threats are caused by downloading crack versions of online games from unofficial sources, done mainly to avoid paying for original versions. The crack versions come packaged with malware which are capable of extracting valuable data from users. There are crack versions of many popular online games with seemingly similar names to deceive unsuspected users. Parental supervision can avoid it to some extent. Also, parents can reconfigure operating systems like Android and iOS to restrict access.

Also, awareness needs to be created among children that downloading crack versions amounted to theft. Buying into baseless hysteria instead of taking such precautions will only result in playing into the hands of unscrupulous players who will benefit from such a smoke screen, said Mr. Mahajan.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:07:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/is-blue-whale-the-real-threat/article19520064.ece

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