Week 8: Hello Handsome ;-)

Remember seeing this billboard before? Well, I’ve seen it almost everywhere and anywhere. This Wechat Sex Scam is one of the more well-known cyber crime that was committed in Singapore. So what is this scam all about?

Basically, scammers who claim to be pretty, young girls will go onto Wechat to hunt down gullible male victims who are seeking for sex. These so-called “pretty girls” advertise their services on Wechat for a cheap price, enticing men to engage them. They even send provocative photos to further lure these men into their trap. And when the day comes for the man to meet the pretty girl, he will be asked to pay first through online credits. These credits often come in the form of Alipay Purchase Cards, or in some cases, iTunes cards. After paying, you will think that they will be able to meet the girl to receive her service, but NO, *poof* she disappears on Wechat (by blocking the victim) and the victim would have just lost their money without even meeting the girl. Many men have paid a few hundred dollars to buy these cards, and in one case, a victim lost $35,000.

You might think, “Wah, why these people so stupid?” But do you know, maybe it’s because online scammers are getting more smart and utilizing better techniques to trick people into believing them. In fact, online scams are becoming so widespread that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) have reported a 46.5% surge in online crimes. Posters (as seen below) have also been created to curb this problem.

In an increasingly Internet-dependent world, it is no wonder cyber crime is on the rise. We have to take more precautions when surfing the Net to prevent ourselves from falling prey to these vices. Even changes were made to the existing Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA) so as to reinforce our security against cyber crimes.

The amendments to the CMCA help strengthen our response to cybercrime. The threats have so far been under control, but they lurk in many dark corners of cyberspace. We therefore need to put in place a robust legislative framework, with safeguards, but also with the necessary enforcement levers as part of a comprehensive cybercrime and cybersecurity strategy to ensure that our computers, systems and data are better protected.

– Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee

With that, I end this post and stay safe on the Internet guys.

About: First Lesson

Coming to COM 125, I’d thought, “What else could I learn about the Internet?”. My generation has been exposed to the Internet for the bulk of our lives, hence we naturally assume that we are adept at using it. But other than knowing how to navigate the Web and use several social media apps, I realized that I know almost nothing about the Internet; or rather, I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. There are so much more things for me to uncover about the Internet, such as its history as well as the potential it could have.

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”

– Eric Schmidt

That said, I was intrigued when I learnt that the Web has three phases, namely Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. So then what are the differences between these phases?

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Web 1.0 At this stage, the Web was a “read-only”. This means that users go to the Web to only receive information. It is a linear form of communication without any feedback.

Web 2.0 The Web becomes more interactive at this phase. Users can now have more interaction with web sites. Users can collaborate and share information with one another. Under this phase, we see the emergence of social networking sites such as Facebook.

Web 3.0 Termed as the semantic web, Web 3.0 is the “executable phase” where data can be processed intelligently by machines.

Reference: Choudhury, N. (2014). World Wide Web and Its Journey from Web 1.0 to Web 4.0 . International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technologies, 5(6), 8096-8100.

The possibilities that the Web can reach are endless and we might in the future, experience a Web 4.0. Machines and the web will only become more intelligent and start to achieve things that we wouldn’t have thought it was possible. Exciting isn’t it. 😉

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As for me, I’ll be interested to see what else the Internet has to offer. Until then, don’t be that fish that is scared of the net. (:

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