Cyber Stalk Like A Hawk

In an age where your private life seizes to exist because of photo uploads, location tags, constant status updates on Facebook and the global over reliance on technology, stalking has become extremely common. ‘Cyber Stalking’ is a crime of threatening individuals using the internet and other forms of online platforms. It generally involves the use of email, social networking platforms, bulletin boards etc. The stalker constantly harasses or threatens another individual using these platforms. Stalkers can be very hard to identify as most of them mask their identities online using different usernames and accounts. This easy availability of anonymity makes it easy for them to gawk at your information and carry out their attacks. It is usually perpetrated by known people and not strangers and is aimed at bothering you and your family in an inappropriate way. The proliferation of low cost spy apps makes infiltration of data simpler providing ample of opportunities to the stalkers.

People are reporting sophisticated levels of cyber stalking where stalkers are accused of using computer programs to send computer messages at regular intervals to annoy and inculcate fear in their victims. Cyberstalkers can gain economic control by obtaining information like credit card or bank account details and ruin the victims credit score. It is different from identity fraud because the stalker intends to deliberately affect the victim and cause dire consequences by affecting them emotionally. It can destroy relationships, careers and confidence. Cyberstalking combined with normal regular stalking can be detrimental. Most of the cyber stalkers reported are men however there has been a rise in the number of female stalkers over the past few years. The age of most of the victims ranged from 20-40 years old. The cyber stalkers surveil and criminally manipulate individuals by emotionally harassing them.

There are several means by which cyber stalkers can harass you. They can send several unsolicited mails against your wish, spam your inbox by sending messages in bulk making it hard to determine or find the legitimate conversations and they can infect your computer with malicious programs and send flaming online verbal abuses. Some of these criminals commit identity fraud and mask themselves in someone else’s name to avoid being caught thus directing the blame on someone else. They can try and threaten your reputation by revealing extremely personal information. Be aware of your phone's geo-location technology. Stalkers can easily gain access to your whereabouts using geo-location tags.

There are a number of ways to guard yourselves from this torment. To prevent further attacks from the stalker, send a clear warning to stop contact and delete or block the individual from your contact list. If the harassment continues and you feel that your safety is in jeopardy report and file a complaint at the nearest police station. Document the entire communication in prior to provide proof and assistance for faster resolution of problems. You can also contact your internet service provider and file a complaint against the stalker. Do not give out your online ID’s and personal contact numbers on public platforms.Avoid calling toll free numbers. Password protect all utilities and accounts. Share personal information only with trusted individuals. Ensure that your wireless hub/router has a security option and avoid unsafe public forums. Utilize stat counters to record incoming traffic and identify who is viewing your profile on your blog and website.

Avoid being in unfortunate circumstances by using security applications and avoid posting private or sensitive information on public platforms. Cyber stalkers stalk like a hawk so you need to be aware and take the ideal precautionary measures. We must draw more ire and attention to such rising issues and report them immediately.

We at Appknox are constantly advising consumers about the need for security and how to implement them. Safety is our major priority and we constantly advice and innovate about various safety measures and practices.

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Published on Aug 12, 2015
Written by Kavitha Ramamurthy


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