Cyber criminal
Cyber criminal

NQ teen investigated after Pro-Nazi content posted online

A Townsville school student has been referred to the Australian Federal Police for claims he's inciting extremism, and the father who uncovered the terrifying content has a warning for parents.

Less than a month after agreeing to pleas from their teenage daughter to download Instagram, these Townsville parents blocked "multiple older men" who they believed were trying to groom young girls.

But what came next was more alarming than they ever imagined.

The parents, who the Townsville Bulletin has agreed not to name, said when they were doing a safety check on the account they uncovered a series of posts from one of her followers appearing to incite extremist threats, photos of machine guns, pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic videos.

 

The boy captioned this post on Instagram, “About to make Allah proud on bus Rn (right now) wish me luck and don’t eat pork.”
The boy captioned this post on Instagram, “About to make Allah proud on bus Rn (right now) wish me luck and don’t eat pork.”

 

The most concerning of all to the parents was a school jumper used by the student as a head wrap alongside a concerning post.

"About to make Allah proud on bus Rn (right now) wish me luck and don't eat pork," the caption read when translated from Arabic to English.

The father said they'd spoken at length with their daughter about online safety before agreeing to their arrangement and she was completely naive to what and who she was innocently interacting with online.

The student wrote on his profile in Russian and Arabic, which concerned the father because "most people" wouldn't know what he was saying, he said.

This was a stark wake-up call for all of them.

"It's new territory for us," he said.

"We came across another profile where there was a kid in a steamed out shower sexualising himself."

 

Pictures of guns were found on the boy’s Instagram account.
Pictures of guns were found on the boy’s Instagram account.

 

The father said he "wasn't taking any chances" and reported the account to the Australian Federal Police immediately.

"It could be harmless fun but it was very pointed discussions and my concern was that he was being groomed," he said.

"We've seen young males in Sydney stab people in the streets of Parramatta and I don't discount anything.

"You imagine if this school was in western Sydney - there would be choppers flying above but because we're in little old Townsville people think we're immune."

The father said terrorism began by preying on vulnerable people and comments on this profile, which has now been removed from Instagram, rang alarm bells for him.

"Thank you ***, very cool, I expect great things from you," was one comment below the school bus photo.

 

The boy shared pro-Nazi pictures on his Instagram page.
The boy shared pro-Nazi pictures on his Instagram page.

 

Upon further investigation, it was found that a number of the profile's followers used tactics to breach alerting cybersecurity authorities.

Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and Criminal Code Act 1995 any content that advocates terrorist acts, or promotes, incites or instructs crime or violence is deemed illegal and subject to law enforcement. It's understood the school was assisting the AFP in its investigation. The school refused to respond to the Bulletin's questions or provide its social media safety policy.

 

A post from the Townsville teen on Instagram.
A post from the Townsville teen on Instagram.

 

Online security specialist Sam Elgawady has spent more than 30 years working across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.

He said the internet had become a normal part of our day-to-day lives making everyone vulnerable.

"Its more dangerous than someone breaking into your home and there is no insurance for that," he said. "Parents need knowledge on how to protect kids because we are using up to 30 per cent of internet globally and the other 70 per cent is underground on the dark web where people get every illegal thing you can think of - it is there. Even professional assassins, this is the reality it's not a movie so we need to understand and equip people with knowledge."

 

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles at Townsville Police Station. Picture: Evan Morgan
Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles at Townsville Police Station. Picture: Evan Morgan

 

Townsville Police Child Protection Investigation Unit officer-in-charge Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said there was no denying that we now lived in a digital world so being oblivious to its dangers posed more of a risk.

"A significant portion of our work deals with online offending whether it's child exploitation, extortion, cyber bullying, or people using devices as a carriage service for assault," Det Snr Sgt Miles said.

"Individuals think by creating various online personas and using the anonymity social media provides they are protected from law enforcement agencies but there are significant numbers of people in the community who have a large amount of skillsets to identify who these potential offenders are." Det Snr Sgt Miles urged everyone in the community to visit the Australian Government Esafety Commissioner website for advice.

"It has excellent information in giving ideas and alerting people to a whole range of tools and information online that is easy to follow," he said. Currently being trialled in Brisbane, the new QPS online safety initiative named Taskforce Argos is expected to roll out in Townsville later this year.

The AFP did not respond by deadline.

 

 

CYBERCRIME REALITY FOR LAW ENFORCMENET

 

The team of detectives tasked with protecting Townville's children are faced with confronting online predators daily, as the officer in charge reveals that no app is safe from groomers.

The internet has provided global connection and endless opportunities to exist as a global economy but with every benefit a hidden risk can be found.

Townsville Police Child Protection Investigation Unit officer-in-charge Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said there was no denying that we now lived in a digital world so being oblivious to its dangers posed more of a risk.

He said the best advice he could give parents was to arm themselves, and their children with education of safe use.

"Each and every application, social media site, chat forums they all hold a variety of opportunities and risks to the users for the simple fact anyone can be anything," Det Snr Sgt Miles said.

"And, people don't really know they have ill intentions until that exchange has progressed.

"We live in a digital world and to exclude a child from that environment would be counter-productive to what it is were trying to achieve so it's about education and understanding what can and can't be done."

Det Snr Sgt Miles said a 'significant' amount of policing resources were poured into digital investigations and people would be shocked by what was frequently uncovered.

"It's almost a daily occurrence and certainly one of the challenges for us is to be actively educating both students and their parents," he said.

"A significant portion of our work deals with online offending whether it's child exploitation, extortion, cyber bullying, or people using devices as a carriage service for assault," Det Snr Sgt Miles said.

"Individuals think by creating various online personas and using the anonymity social media provides they are protected from law enforcement agencies but there are significant numbers of people in the community who have a large amount of skillsets to identify who these potential offenders are." Det Snr Sgt Miles urged everyone in the community to visit the Australian Government Esafety Commissioner website for advice.

"It has excellent information in giving ideas and alerting people to a whole range of tools and information online that is easy to follow," he said. Currently being trialled in Brisbane, the new QPS online safety initiative named Taskforce Argos is expected to roll out in Townsville later this year.

 

 

Cyber crime hacker using mobile phone internet hacking in to cyberspace, online personal data security concept.
Cyber crime hacker using mobile phone internet hacking in to cyberspace, online personal data security concept.

CYBER SPECIALIST ANALYSIS

 

Cyber security specialist Sam Elgawady has spent more than 30 years working across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.

He said the internet had become a normal part of our day-to-day lives making everyone vulnerable.

"Its more dangerous than someone breaking into your home and there is no insurance for that," he said.

"Parents need knowledge on how to protect kids because we are using up to 30 per cent of internet globally and the other 70 per cent is underground on the dark web where people get every illegal thing you can think of - it is there.

Even professional assassins, this is the reality it's not a movie so we need to understand and equip people with knowledge."

Mr Elgawady said everyone should be educated in cyber security, especially parents.

"They need to know and discuss the dangers with their children to build the trust of how serious this is,"

"Teenagers need to have monitoring coming from their own understanding not just a physical monitoring from someone else.

"Everyone should have fundamental knowledge of this."

 

 

Townsville to become cyber secure hub.
Townsville to become cyber secure hub.

 

TOWNSVILLE TO BECOME CYBER SECURE HUB

 

Townsville will soon become a leader in cyber security with the development of a node designed to protect businesses from cyber attacks.

Federal government figures report cybercrime costs the economy more than $1 billion a year and with businesses increasingly going digital, safeguarding personal and business data has become a national priority.

As part of AustCyber's national network of cyber security innovation nodes, the Townsville centre will help boost the sector's local workforce with its specialist staff skilled in providing the business solutions.

Townsville residents now have the opportunity to become skilled with industry recognised qualifications following TAFE Queenland's introduction of a Certificate IV in Cyber Security to be delivered at its Pimlico campus from 13 July 2020.

Mayor Jenny Hill said that establishing the AustCyber node in Townsville was a key component in delivering the Smart Townsville strategy.

"This node will support the development of local cyber security capability to ensure Townsville industry has access to cyber security in the same way businesses in the major capital cities do," Cr Hill said.

"This node, together with the North Queensland Regional Data Centre and Smart Precinct NQ, will provide a strong foundation for high growth companies to establish and prosper in the region."

Australian Cyber Security Growth Network figures suggests a severe shortage of job-ready cyber security experts existed with nearly 17,000 more specialists needed by 2026.

 

IT teacher Sam Elgawady at TAFE Pimlico will be teaching a cyber security course.
IT teacher Sam Elgawady at TAFE Pimlico will be teaching a cyber security course.

 

TAFE Teacher Sam Elgawady said all businesses regardless of size needed to consider its cyber security threats.

"Hackers can use private data to impersonate an individual or business, and they may even have access to switch on your device's camera or mic, so they can see and hear everything," he said.

Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the Node would connect and upskill cyber companies, which turn resulted in more jobs in the region.

"The cyber security industry has the potential to almost triple in size over the next decade, with revenues expected to increase from $2 billion in 2018 to $6 billion by 2026," she said.

Defence, medtech, mining technology and services, advanced manufacturing, food and agriculture have been highlighted as priority industries for cyber security.

AustCyber chief executive officer Michelle Price said the organisation

was focused on growing a globally competitive cyber security sector for

Australia.

"As a local presence for AustCyber, the node will ensure Townsville and

North Queensland benefits from the activities outlined in Australia's

cyber security sector competitiveness plan, supporting sustained

industry growth around servicing domestic cyber security needs while

exporting capabilities to the world," Ms Price said.

"Queensland is the first within AustCyber's national network of nodes to

establish three separate node locations, with three node managers

working in partnership across the state.

"These nodes will give the Sunshine State a clear economic advantage

and strengthen the knowledge economy, particularly in the priority areas

of defence, advanced manufacturing, health and education."

TAFE Queensland Director of Education and Training (north region) Ian

Smythe said cyber security was one of the world's fastest growing

industries and the node will ensure Townsville keeps pace.

"In today's modern world nearly all information is stored digitally and the

risk of hacking has never been greater," Mr Smythe said.

"There are strong job prospects for cyber security professionals and

TAFE Queensland's Certificate IV in Cyber Security will help more

people in Townsville gain the skills they need to protect organisations

against malicious cyber activity."

 

 

TAFE Queensland to fill gap in workforce where rapid technological advancements have created an obvious demand for IT skills, cyber security is a growing concern.
TAFE Queensland to fill gap in workforce where rapid technological advancements have created an obvious demand for IT skills, cyber security is a growing concern.

 

OPPORTUNITY FOR SUITABLE WORKFORCE

 

An estimated 20 per cent of Townsville's population is made up by defence members and their families.

As Australia's largest garrison city, this part of the community has been identified as ideal candidates given their specialist skills and training in national defence.

The Oasis chairman, Lieutenant General John Caligari (retired), said

veterans would make a natural and significant contribution to the

development of a cybersecurity capability in Townsville.

"A memorandum of understanding between The Oasis Townsville and

TAFE Queensland is currently being finalised and will strongly support

veterans employment and Townsville businesses in the growing need for

cyber security," Lt Gen Caligari said.

The Oasis was established in Townsville to help transition serving members into civilian life by providing wellbeing, compensation advocacy, and employment support.

 

 

Originally published as Fears groomed 'radical' schoolboy living among us


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