Tackling CSAM One Wi-Fi Hotspot at a Time

by Ian Heritage

At Trend Micro our work to combat online threats and make the digital world a safer place stretches far beyond the obvious: malware and cyber-attacks on customers. In fact, since 2008 our Internet Safety for Kids and Families (ISKF) programme has been a leading light in the industry, spearheading Trend Micro’s efforts to be a more responsible corporate citizen. One of its core goals is to help combat the spread of child sex abuse material (CSAM) online.

We’re delighted to be driving these ambitious aims forward, most recently with newly minted recognition as a “Friendly WiFi Approved Provider” in the UK.

Family friendly Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is rightly regarded with some suspicion by cybersecurity experts, who point out that it could enable attackers to eavesdrop on private conversations and even steal important log-ins. However, there’s another risk: that the internet service behind it could allow individuals, especially young people, to view inappropriate and even CSAM material.

First trailed by the Prime Minister in 2013 and launched the following year, the Friendly WiFi scheme is industry’s response. By applying to be certified under the scheme, public and guest Wi-Fi providers can show they’re putting their customers first. How? By offering global public assurance that the wireless networks consumers use when out and about is independently certified as filtered from pornography and CSAM.

Although Trend Micro doesn’t run its own public/guest Wi-Fi networks across the UK, we wanted to get involved and show our support for the initiative and the wider aims of online safety that ISKF has been driving for over a decade. That’s why we’re delighted to now be certified as an Approved Provider.

ISKF and the next decade
This latest recognition can be seen as part of our three-pronged approach to tackling CSAM. This is built around the following tenets:

Educate: raising awareness among young people about the risks involved in sharing images or trusting people online.

Integrate into products/services: blocking known CSAM using watchlists such as those run by the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and building it into our products, ie via web reputation. We’ll also alert industry hotlines if our products and services come across such content.

Collaborate: We’re already serving on the advisory board of the INHOPE Foundation, a global association of internet hotlines.And we’re always on the lookout for new ways to team up with like-minded organisations across the world.

Friendly WiFi is just the latest in a long line of initiatives by ISKF to extend our goal of creating a world safe for the exchange of digital information to the world’s youngest citizens. We educate, we collaborate, we innovate and we practice what we preach all around the world in order to help realise this vision.

Trend Micro’s bottom-line message to kids and families is that, if you’re online: be safe, be savvy and be kind. It might not always be easy, but there’s plenty of support and advice on our website to help those who need it.

To find out more about ISKF and family Friendly WiFi, please visit this link!

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