Number of complaints of online child pornography and fraud rise


The Safe Internet League has published its Internet hotlines’ semiannual results for 2015. Compared to the same period of 2014, this year saw a significant increase in the number of users reporting websites hosting child pornography, as well as malware and phishing websites.

The hotlines project, offering Internet users a place to report illegal online content, was launched three years ago by the Safe Internet League as part of its official website. To flag up an illegal material a user can click the red ‘Report abuse’ button, located at its main page, and lodge a complaint in a corresponding section. The complaints are then analysed by the League’s specialists (linguists, psychologists, criminalists, etc.). Owners of websites confirmed to contain illegal materials are recommended to voluntarily remove them. If not, the report is then forwarded to the law enforcement agencies or Roskomnadzor for it to put the offending website on the official Russian Internet blacklist.

The majority of complaints deal with child pornography websites. Thus, the first 6 months of 2015 saw around 26 300 reports to that effect. In about 10 000 cases the experts confirmed the reported websites did contain illegal materials. In 9 000 cases web page owners removed the offending content voluntarily. As a comparison, in the first half of 2014 there were only 16 000 such reports, with 7 200 confirmed cases and 7 000 voluntary removals. «Judging by the figures provided by our international colleagues, that seems to be a global trend» commented Safe Internet League Chairman of the Board Denis Davydov.
«We also noticed a sharp rise in malware and phishing (a type of online fraud aimed at gaining access to confidential user data) complaints. Internet technology is making great leaps, and online criminals follow it by refining their schemes» said Mr Davydov. For example, in the first 6 months of 2015 League hotlines received almost 5 000 reports of malware and phishing. In 2 400 cases the websites were confirmed to contain illegal materials, 1 260 of which were voluntarily removed. The same period of 2014 had only 1 600 reports, with 721 confirmed cases and 358 voluntary removals.

The number of websites advertising and selling illegal drugs was also on the rise. The first half of 2015 saw the League receive 2 200 reports of such websites, with 1 450 confirmed cases of illegal content, and 1 275 voluntary removals. Compare that with 2014 figures, were the first 6 months had 1 720 drug propaganda complaints, with 441 confirmed cases and 334 voluntary removals.