WhatsApp scam involving ‘fake family members’ sweeps Northern Ireland

  • The PSNI are urging people to be cautious following a recent wave of scams that involve texts or WhatsApp messages.
  • These are from an unknown number claiming to be a family member and encouraging the recipient to transfer money.
  • Police received 11 reports across Northern Ireland on the 13th of October.
  • The scam involves someone claiming to be a family member and asking for money to pay bills or claiming they are ‘short’ and asking for a bank transfer.
  • This is accompanied with a story that they’ve recently changed phone number.
  • Police are urging people to be careful and report any concerns to Action Fraud or by calling 101.
  • Full story, here.

Facebook starts rolling out end-to-end encrypted backups to WhatsApp

  • The roll out of WhatsApp’s end-to-end encrypted chat backups for iOS and Android began yesterday.
  • This feature was previously announced in September.
  • The encrypted back-ups will still be stored in Google Drive or iCloud, but WhatsApp users will be asked to secure them with a 64-digit encryption key or password.
  • This means that the backups will be unreadable to anyone without the encryption key or password.
  • Currently, un-encrypted WhatsApp backups stored on Google Drive or iCloud could be accessed by law enforcement or governments if given access by Google or Apple.
  • The feature will roll out slowly for anyone with the latest version of WhatsApp.
  • The Facebook white paper can be accessed here.
  • Full story, here.

Facebook must prioritise children’s wellbeing

  • A global alliance of child protection campaigners and experts have issued a letter urging Facebook to act and restore faith in its platforms.
  • Signatures include the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Child Rescue Coalition in the UK.
  • This follows the leaks of internal Facebook research and whistle-blower accounts of Facebook prioritising commercial gain over children’s safety.
  • The letter contains steps to address concerns over its approach to protecting children on Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
  • Steps include making all of Facebook’s internal research public and sharing research on how services contribute to child sexual abuse.
  • Facebook is urged to publish risks assessments and review the child protection implications of encrypted messaging.
  • Full story, here.