Privacy Invasion with Pandemic | Is Omegle safe?

Stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, with no access to your favorite mall, restaurants, and no way for social interactions! People have been spending most of their time online due to a shift in the culture of remote working/schooling. With nearly all public gatherings called off, people are craving social interaction which makes apps like Omegle very popular.

Last month I read an article about Omegle on BBC titled: “Omegle: Children expose themselves on video chat site”.

Ref: BBC Article

Coincidentally, a week later I saw my niece navigating this website. Upon asking her, she mentioned many tik tok stars and YouTube star’s use this platform to prank on strangers considering this application connects you to a stranger “anonymously”.

What is Omegle …?

“Omegle is a free online chat website that allows users to socialize with others without the need to register. The service randomly pairs users in one-on-one chat sessions where they chat anonymously using the names “You” and “Stranger” or “Stranger 1” and “Stranger 2” in the case of Spy mode”

So, What is the problem with this…?

One of the most common is the seemingly unavoidable exposure to pornographic content. Moreover, it is no new news that there are predators lurking online looking to exploit minors, and Omegle is one place where predators have been known to hang out.

There are many tools out on the internet that exploits privacy in Omegle. One interesting tool that I found was a tool that will retrive private messages, that are stored on Omegle’s server Omegle-Chat-Hack.

So, the questions people ask is; “what if I don’t share any details about myself in the private chat”

With that in mind, I started exploring Omegle for research purpose. This application is 50% people naked carrying out sexual act, and the rest predominantly are minors. Kids are just calling out people thinking that it’s anonymous, that is where they are mistaken. Let me show you.

I have used a simple JavaScript to retrieve location of the users. This will give me exact location of the “stranger”

Now with the latitude and Longitude, I can pin-point the exact location of the user using google map. Of course, it’s much easier if it’s a house for a physical evasion.

This article is to bring awareness to people who don’t understand that you’re trading privacy for an online prank.

What can you do to be more safe …?

Well, blacklisting Omegle is a good idea for a parent or a caretaker of a minor. There are many ways to blacklist websites. I using “Pi-Hole” for this, here is a tutorial for that setup Pi-Hole.

If you’re an adult and want to use Omegle, VPN is the way to go.

Online privacy invasion is far way dangerous than you think, and it is imperative that you take it seriously.

Written on March 7, 2021