Kerala

Beware! paedophiles are on the prowl

They pounce on children spending more time on net during lockdown

Parents giving unrestricted Internet access to children to keep them entertained within the home during the lockdown may better watch out.

For, the digital trends detected by the Countering Child Sexual Exploitation (CCSE) Cell, functioning under the Cyberdome of Kerala police, has warned of paedophiles exploiting the ‘perfect opportunity’ to target children spending more time online.

Perceptible hike

“CCSE team has witnessed a perceptible spike in those seeking Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on the net, especially the darknet. Action is being taken against 150 persons in the State found browsing for CSAM. The demand for CSAM has increased drastically in the darknet chat rooms also,” said Manoj Abraham, Inspector General and nodal officer of Cyberdome.

The CCSE under the direct supervision of the State Police Chief Loknath Behera has deployed hi-tech tools to identify those downloading CSAM from the internet. IP address is being collected using specialised software, even though many of the individuals are using TOR (free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication) and VPN to surf the net anonymously.

The number of porn groups dealing in CSAM over WhatsApp and Telegram have increased drastically with social media and gaming sites being exploited by criminal elements to get access to children.

Telegram has removed many such groups with over 200 members from the State after being reported by the State police while efforts are on to identify their admins. A Special Cell has been created in Cyberdome to track all such suspected telegram and WhatsApp groups.

Malwares

Instances of abusers installing malwares to activate web cams to steal information of children have also been reported. The recent spike in obscene pictures from inside households and apartments uploaded over the Internet has coincided with the advent of the lockdown, police said.

“Abuse of children locked up in their homes cannot be ruled out and from the pictures being uploaded such incidents are very likely during this period,” said Mr. Abraham while urging parents to keep a close watch on the browsing history of their children.

Police have already written to the major social media service providers to deploy artificial intelligence to moderate CSAM content during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the countrywide statistics published by Pornhub, one of the world’s biggest porn sites, has mirrored the Cyberdome’s finding that there has been almost 100% spike in visits to adult sites from India during the lockdown period.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 12:22:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/beware-paedophiles-are-on-the-prowl/article31367976.ece

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