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What is the threat?

There have been recent reports that seemingly innocent videos on YouTube, WhatsApp and other outlets include violence provoking and/or other inappropriate content. These videos have been dubbed the “Momo challenge” similar to last years “Blue Whale Challenge”. It was reported by various news outlets that children and adolescents were being enticed to perform a series of dangerous tasks including violent attacks and suicide. Although this threat has not been validated by SkOUT and may be a hoax, it reminds us of general best practices that should be observed.

How does it operate?

Videos, such as Minecraft and unboxing videos, were edited by unknown sources. According to an article on CNN by AJ Willingham and Harmeet Kaur, “people are placing scary imagery and language into YouTube videos that are supposed to be child-friendly, like cartoons and toy reviews”. The challenge is the latest social media viral concern described as a “suicide game”.

Why is this noteworthy?

Earlier this week, “Momo” was the top new trending search team on Google for the US, Australia, Canada and the UK. Schools across the country have released advisories on this threat. This issue highlights the continued changes in the threat landscape to modify widely spread material (Videos, images, etc.) that can connect with emotions of individuals quickly.

What is the exposure or risk?

Although YouTube monitors and removes videos that include inappropriate content, the content can be uploaded thousands of times before they get reported and removed. Is your business also protecting its content that may be available for alteration?

What can you do?

The following is recommended:

  • Awareness where videos (personal and business) may be available and distributed.
  • Check for Integrity of your companies marketing/branding contents, as this can be utilized for such challenge, that can be tarnishing your brand reputation.
  • Ensure advanced endpoint protection is installed and operating properly on all your devices.

If you have children:

  • Check your child’s phone/ iPad/computer regularly.
  • On YouTube, select restricted mode so that children cannot access content flagged by the YouTube community as potentially sensitive.
  • Ensure parental/privacy settings/content filtering are enabled on all social media platforms.
  • Ensure children’s accounts have limited privilege so that parents must approve the download and install of any software or applications.

References:

For more in-depth information about the recommendations, please visit the following link:

If you have any questions, please contact our Secure Intelligence Center.


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Posted by Doris Au

Doris is a product marketing manager at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she is responsible for connecting managed service providers with multi-layered security and data protection products that can protect their customers from today’s advanced cyber threats.

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