What is Cyber Stalking?
Cyber stalking is a type of cyber threat, wherein cyber bullies make use of digital communication to harass, threaten and defame an individual, group or organization. It’s a repeated activity and a rising threat in today’s digital world.
Cyber bullies use emails, phone calls, messages, chats, tweets, comments and blogs to harass and threaten individuals. Making false accusations, leaking personal data, identity theft, data manipulation, spamming, online verbal abuse, spreading rumors, sending malware and monitoring person’s online activity are some of the notable cyber stalking techniques. Cyber stalking is often accompanied by cyber extortion, wherein the cyber criminals demand money or other favors for keeping the stolen data shrouded.
Cyber Stalking examples:
- In India, the first arrest was made in case of cyber stalking in 2015. The convict was a 35 year old man, who was jailed for sending obscene images and videos to the victim. The two met on a social networking site and started chatting after becoming online friends.
The convict was hurt as the victim had turned down his marriage proposal. He then began following victim’s online activities, kept an eye on the profile even after the victim unfriended the convict. Later he started the harassment by sending inappropriate images and videos, which forced the victim to lodge an official complaint. Following which the cyber-crime branch made investigations and arrested the cyber bully.
- In another case of 2011, the accused made fake profile of the victim on a social networking site and caused defamation to the victim and victim’s family.
- In a different case, cyber bullies went to an extreme extent and shared victim’s personal contact information for dating services. The victim was pestered when people started calling the number for arranging personal encounters.
While these are just a few examples, there are many cases of cyber stalking which go unreported. Anger, revenge and obsession cause the cyber stalkers to act in an insensitive way. But it is the victim who has to suffer, many a times in silence.
Preventive measures against cyber stalking:
Being vigilant and having password protection are some very basic preventive measures. You should also keep in mind the following tips to thwart cyber stalking:
- Keep your personal email ID secure by using a non-personal email ID for any registration required on social media sites.
- Be mindful about what you share online like your location, photos, your upcoming travel plans etc.
- Provide your personal details only for those fields which are mandatory to be filled like your name, your non-personal email ID and age.
- Change your passwords frequently.
- Keep your privacy settings set to high for all your accounts.
- Search your name on the internet on regular basis. Check to see if there is anything suspicious about the information that you have shared online.
- Use social media only for entertainment purpose, do not share your personal ups and downs anywhere online.
Cyber stalking is a rising threat and people should stay protected from this cyber-attack. Many a times it happens that despite all the safety efforts put in by the people, they still become the victim of cyber stalking. Thus having a cyber insurance policy is essential in this digital, not-so-safe era.
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