MMS. What was the first thing that came to your mind after reading MMS? More often than not it’s sex scandals. Like Google has become a synonymous for search, MMS has become a synonymous for unauthorized capture and/or release of a video clip containing intimate acts, usually sexual in nature, aka Sex Scandals.
It’s not only illegal, it has serious repercussions for the victim, including social humiliation, shunning and even suicide in extreme cases. Yet, the internet is filled with them. Who is to blame? The advancement of technology that has made it possible to capture such acts, often without the knowledge of the victim, trusting nature of the victim or the lack of awareness among the masses. In my humble opinion, all factors are to be blamed to some extent. But this doesn’t mean that things have to stay this way. Remember, every problem has a fix. In fact this can be solved by practicing basic technology hygiene. Here’s how:
Avoid capturing such acts on a camera
This may seem obvious but you’ll be surprised to know that many people still do it. The recent iCloud hack, The Fappening, proves this point. Today, like everything else, cameras are also connected to the internet, therefore they can be hacked into. Even if they can’t be hacked into, content that they produce is often backed up on cloud drives, leaving it vulnerable. If at all you have to, make sure that it’s removed from the camera storage as soon as possible and transferred to an encrypted storage device.
Don’t let your partner talk you into it
This rule is applicable especially to teens and adolescents. Being at a tender age, they are more trusting of their partners and give in to their demands. They often discount the possibility of things taking a bad turn. However, when things do head south, such clips or images are the first weapon of choice to take revenge or inflict emotional injuries. Therefore, follow a strict no camera policy when ‘hanging out’ with your partner.
Scan the area thoroughly
While the miniaturization of camera has been a boon for porn industry, it has also destroyed lives of many (discounting the sting operations). Beware of hidden cameras, seemingly dead, out of battery cellphones, pens, usb drives etc. Make it a practice to scan the area for such devices before indulging in private acts. Check the computer for a recording webcam (keep an eye on the webcam LED), check the concealed places like flower vase, semi-open cupboards, roofs. It might seem paranoid but prevention is better than cure.
Avoid such acts over video chats or video calls
You’ll never know if the other person is recording the session. Why take the risk.
What to do in the aftermath
In case you find yourself a victim of such a scandal, follow these steps:
- Do not panic. I know it’s easier said than done because a lot is at stake. That’s precisely why I ask you to do this, a lot is at stake. If you panic, you might take an action that you’ll regret even more.
- Go talk to someone you trust. Do that before you decide to panic. Trust me on this, they will help you out. Most importantly they will handle you and prevent you from doing something irrational. It’s a scary situation to be in but you don’t have to go through it alone.
- Seek legal counsel, as soon as possible, to decide upon your next course of action.
- If your legal counsel suggested to launch a FIR, do it. Period. Police has the capability and authority to trace and catch the perpetrator and get your video removed from most websites.
- If the video has been shared publicly or sent to multiple people, there’s little you can do about it. Unfortunately, internet is written in ink and even if you try your best you will not be able to get rid of all the copies out there. The only thing you can do is to move on. Again, this is easier said than done. Even if you try your surroundings might not let you. Remember, this is not the end of life. Don’t loose hope.
Cameras are the enemy of privacy. They don’t come with boundaries but you can establish them. Practice basic technology hygiene and keep yourself safe. This post is a small step in raising awareness about the healthy use of technology. Share it with your friends and family and make them aware on how they can keep themselves safe. Let there be no more MMS Scandals.
Uday Mittal (OSCP, Associate CISSP, DCPP) is the founder of Yaksas CSC. He has over 4 years of experience in dealing with various issues related to cyber security. He is actively working towards educating people on cyber security risks and steps to mitigate them. He’s also a member of (ISC)2, ISACA and DSCI.