‘Momo’ not cyber threat but malicious joke, says Kaspersky Lab

E-security firm Kaspersky Lab has issued a statement saying the viral “Momo Challenge” is a mere malicious prank and does not pose a threat online.

“It is important to remember that this not a genuine cyber threat in terms of infecting or corrupting devices or seeking to steal. However, it is a malicious joke intending to shock and unsettle and, as the craze gathers momentum and media hype increases, more people are going to be tempted to scare their friends or, more worryingly, use the meme to harass and intimidate,” said David Emm, principal security researcher of Kaspersky Lab Global Research Analysis Team (GReAT).

Emm noted that a threat like this can feel overwhelming for parents as their children, who have never known a world without Internet, navigate the online world at super speed.

“Children are often the first to be exposed to new Internet culture content as they seek it out and share it more prolifically. While this does not seem to be an attempt to spread malware, it comes as a timely reminder that as parents, we need to maintain close contact with our children’s online world, and that open dialogue is the best defense against both malicious content and cyber threats, as well as not accepting/opening any content from unknown sources,” the researcher said.

He added: “It is always good practice talk to your children about the basics of Internet safety before they uncovered anything sinister. This will help them cope when threats emerge.”

Meanwhile, Aangat Tayo party-list representative Harlin Neil J. Abayon III said the government can use the Data Privacy Act to shut down the spread of suicide games and other malevolent activities in cyberspace.

“If the software of suicide games and pornographic memes target people because of their age or sexual life and that targeting method uses personal information or invades personal accounts using that personal information, I believe RA 10173 can be used to protect netizens,” Abayon said.

He also said the NPC “can issue a cease and desist order to compel Facebook and Google, through their offices here in the Philippines or directly to their headquarters because RA 10173 has a section on “Extraterritorial Application.”

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