Exposing yourself to the world in seconds – By Nandira Gunetilleke

Exposing yourself to the world in seconds – By Nandira Gunetilleke

cyber crime - eLanka

Source : dailynews

We live in this modern era where we use mobile phones, tabs, laptops, etc to be in touch with the world through the Internet. We use all types of social media platforms and everything else available without thinking twice or without thinking about the actual use of them for an individual. The end result is not that satisfactory, happy or funny. This is why we talk about this topic today.

According to a media report published in one of the popular Sinhala newspapers quoting CERT (Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team), there are over 3000 telephone calls in connection with various cyber-attacks within one month and daily around 25 to 30 individuals visit the institution with various types of complaints. Around 100 emails are received daily in connection with the same.

According to the same media report, the CERT had recorded 60,000 complaints during this year (2023), and it recorded 40,000 complaints last year (2022). The most common complaints are in connection with websites, Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, intellectual property thefts, video data thefts, software thefts etc.

According to the available statistics, the literacy rate of Sri Lanka is 92.38 per cent by 2023. But the IT Literacy rate in Sri Lanka is very low when compared with the literacy rate. Overall Computer Literacy reported by 2021 in Sri Lanka is merely 34.3 percent. The survey results show an increase of 3.5 percentage points from 2019 to 2021. The urban sector shows the highest computer literacy rate (49.0%) among residential sectors. It is still less than 50 per cent.

There were 11.34 million internet users in Sri Lanka by January 2022. Sri Lanka’s internet penetration rate stood at 52.6 per cent of the total population at the start of 2022. Maybe the one and only reason for this is COVID-19 which encouraged people all over the world to use the Internet instead of being physically present at various places. The entire world started to do everything possible online instead of using pens, paper etc. Even school education in developing countries such as Sri Lanka adopted an online teaching system. Therefore this is the one and only reason that stood behind this minor increase of internet users in Sri Lanka by early 2022.

Computer literacy is defined as the knowledge and ability to use computers and related technology efficiently, with skill levels ranging from elementary use to computer programming and advanced problem-solving. Information and communication technology (ICT) literacy describes a learner’s ability to “adopt, adapt and use digital devices, applications and services”. This refers to a learner’s ability to navigate the technical requirements of being an online learner.

It is hilarious to see how Sri Lankan people especially women and children use the internet, especially various social media platforms. The funniest group is Sri Lankan women, especially the Sri Lankan women with less education and IT literacy. They do not know anything about using the mobile phone and the Internet. It is similar to monkeys having sharp knives with them! It is only another fashion for them and nothing more than that. They have no idea that anyone in the world can get access to their private photos, videos, documents etc due to weak privacy settings, by hacking or by force through threats etc.

The first thing is that they do not know how to keep their mobile phones safe. They put it here and there without a proper screen lock and anyone can take it and leisurely use it to tarnish the good image of that specific woman. One can obtain all the information stored in it without much trouble. The most interesting part is the woman does not know who used her own mobile phone to destroy her in cyberspace! She wakes up from her deep sleep only when her friends inform her about her nude photo/video circulating all over.

The second fact is Sri Lankan women and most of the Southeast Asian women do not know the meaning of the word `password’. They cannot live without sharing it at least with one other individual. On the other hand the men, most of the time their boyfriends and husbands demand their passwords. When demanded, the majority of women give those to them without hesitation. It is because those women do not know that no one should ask for their password, and it is unacceptable and asking for it is a direct threat itself. Being honest has nothing to do with passwords. But even some Sri Lankan men do not understand this. There is no point in talking about Sri Lankan women.

Then comes the most interesting part. It is taking nude photos and sending them out. This is a complicated issue because it starts with the upbringing up of daughters by their parents, especially mothers. It is the responsibility of mothers to teach their daughters NOT to take their nude photos in the first place on any ground and not to send them to anyone else for any reason. Only then women will realize that their own nude photos should not be taken and should not be sent out to anyone for anything. Daughters should be taught that a person who genuinely loves her does not ask for her nude photos ever.

The funniest part is that Sri Lankan women do not learn the lesson after watching how they fall into trouble and end up committing suicide or at a Police station over the television news every single night! Usually, it is animals who cannot learn by watching the mistakes made by another animal. This is why dogs are run over by vehicles all the time. But human beings are different, and they learn by watching others’ mistakes. We all can see every night on the television news how many Police complaints received on this issue and various other issues related to this matter. At least one such incident is reported during the news telecast on television channels every day. Those news items show how women send their nude photos, videos etc. to various individuals and fall into trouble. Every night the entire country watches how people fall into trouble by giving their personal information to others via social media, via various apps etc. The latest is online instant loan-providing apps. An entire family committed suicide in India due to one such app introduced in Sri Lanka by a group of crooks.

Unfortunately, Sri Lankans use social media only to show all the others what they have and what they do during their day-to-day life. The main objective of using social media by ordinary Sri Lankans is to tell all the others `look… I am prettier than you, I am richer than you, I am doing much better than you and I am better than you in every way’. We call it in Sinhala `sending the snake’ (Naya Areema).

Foolish and illiterate Sri Lankan people, especially the young generation, have failed to understand that anyone can live without a social media account if he/she does not need it for education, employment or business. The other crucial factor they do not understand is that they do not need to use it except for anything other than education, employment, business, etc. They do not know that there are many scholars, public figures etc here in Sri Lanka who do not have any social media accounts such as Facebook. There are certain individuals who do not use even a mobile phone but very successfully lead their private and public lives without any problems. No media or social media talk about them. Sri Lankans only know one thing. That is how to use social media as a weapon. But people belonging to other cultures and nations use social media to communicate with each other and they use the internet to gain more knowledge and money. They do not waste time and money on social media as most of the Sri Lankans do.

Only a handful of Sri Lankans use social media to earn money in an ethical manner. In India, farmers use social media to sell their products by checking the current market prices and availability. The only group here in Sri Lanka that uses cyberspace to earn millions of rupees is schoolteachers who do private tuition. In one way COVID-19 was a blessing to Sri Lankans because only after COVID-19 they started to use the cyberspace for useful things such as learning, teaching, selling goods etc.

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