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Women advised to use caution on the web — online session

By Rana Husseini - May 21,2020 - Last updated at May 21,2020

AMMAN — Digital media specialists warned Internet users, especially women, to follow safety precautions when surfing the web in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and lockdowns.

“The lockdowns and curfews forced people to heavily depend on the Internet, and this resulted in more people, mainly women, who fell victims to hackers who were able to access vital personal information and images,” said Shad Tabal, a digital security trainer at Solidarity Is Global Institute (SIGI).

Tabal added that women are the most “targeted by hackers and individuals who find ways to access their personal information or photos and then start blackmailing them”.

“We received increasing complaints from women and girls in the past two months during the lockdown and most fell victims to cyber hacking and were asked to pay money, engage in sexual activities, send more photos to their blackmailers among other things,” Tabal, who is also in charge of the Salam project.

Tabal was speaking during an online session that was organised by SIGI and titled: “Skills to Use the Internet in a Secure Manner”.

Sawsan Matar, a trainer at SIGI and also in charge of the Salam project added that “many women who fall victims to cyber hacking face various social problems, which could sometimes lead to their death”.

That is why, Matar added: “We focus on raising women and girl’s awareness in various parts of the Kingdom on ways to use the Internet safely and protect themselves from being hacked online”.

The Salam project is supported by the SecDev Foundation and implemented in partnership with SIGI, the Karak Castle Centre for Consultations and the Jordan Open Source Association.

Also speaking during the online event, Obada Alquran, specialised in cyber safety and social engineering, said the worst thing that could happen for social media users is when “someone can infiltrate you as a person through your technology devices”.

“Many people who use digital devices such as computers and mobiles can fall victims to engineering operations through the Internet whereby individuals can invade their privacy and steal their information,” Alquran explained.

Social engineering operations, according to Alquran, are using all forms of technology to inflict harm on people without direct contact “and it includes sending false links, impersonating a person or targeting certain Internet users”.

The aim of these individuals who use various means to steal people’s identification is “financial gains and gifts or blackmailing women, mainly for sexual favours”.

“It is important for families to supervise their children’s use of the Internet and to constantly alert them about the social engineering operations so that they do not fall victim to cyber violence,” Alquran said.

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