Cybercriminals have been taking advantage of the new reality brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out numerous attacks around the world. After Europol warned of the increase in the number of online sexual crimes against minors, the Portuguese Association of Victim Support (APAV) and the Judicial Police (PJ) confirmed an increase in the sexual exploitation of children and young people over the Internet during the pandemic period, with an increase in attempts to contact via social networks.
The Jornal de Notcias reports that APAV registered a greater number of contacts for the Internet Safe Line. The line coordinator, Ricardo Estrela, told the newspaper that the complaints made in April exceeded those of the previous month. In March, 40 reports of child pornography, seven of sexual blackmail and three of child minors were registered.
The PJ also noted the growing trend, indicating that there was an increase in complaints regarding illegal virtual content, such as child pornography. Since the majority of parents who are telecommuting and end up having less time to supervise what their youngsters do on the Internet, the level of exposure to online dangers becomes higher.
It is recalled that, according to Europol's April report, there was an "increase in attempts by adults to contact children through social networks in some countries" during the pandemic period. In Spain, for example, there was an increase of 100 complaints between February and March.