Adopt a strong stance against impersonation in cyberspace

It is a growing concern that fake profiles are being created to impersonate authority figures and to deceive members of the public (MPs targeted in fake Facebook account scam; March 18).

This also highlights the need to beef up cyber-security and be vigilant online.

With the advancement of technology, the public, the authorities and the police need to work together to report fake profiles and look at ways to manage these cyber-security threats.

The public needs to be educated and informed. They should always check and verify the accounts and information with the respective agencies. They should not provide their personal information to these fake profiles.

Without the necessary checks, the public would fall into the impersonators' trap.

In government organisations, a cyber-security taskforce is needed to monitor social media platforms and detect any impersonation and scam activities.

This is needed to safeguard personal and sensitive information from scammers.

Better policing of cyberspace, especially social media platforms, will help this taskforce to identify such threats and improve security, such as increasing authentication protocols.

In the light of these impersonation cases, the authorities need to reach out to social media platforms such as Facebook and work with them.

This partnership will allow feedback and improvements to be made to the system to minimise the chances for impersonators to create such accounts with malicious intent.

The Government should send a strong signal that such acts will not be tolerated. Perhaps legislative action is needed.

By taking proactive steps, knowing about cyber-security and being aware of such scams, we may be able to deter these impersonators from setting up fake social media accounts.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Adopt a strong stance against impersonation in cyberspace'. Print Edition | Subscribe