Cyberstalking is the systematic harassment, intimidation, or stalking of a person, a group of persons, or a company using the Internet or other electronic means. Relatives, acquaintances, organizations, and outsiders can all become cyberstalkers.

Constant psychological pressure in the digital space can make a victim’s life unbearable. In some cases, offline harassment and even physical violence can accompany online stalking. Cyberstalking is a crime in many countries.

Cyberstalkers’ tactics and methods

Cyberstalking can take various forms, including:

  • Sending threatening messages;
  • Harassing, humiliating, or insulting the victim;
  • Disseminating false information that could harm the victim’s reputation;
  • Sending messages or ordering goods and services in the victim’s name;
  • Cyberespionage;
  • Doxing.

Cyberstalkers can use the following methods to collect data about victims and track their activity:

  • Online search;
  • Hacking of a victim’s mail and other accounts;
  • Viewing a victim’s posts on social networks and forums, and tracking when they go online;
  • Asking a victim for information in personal messages;
  • Using webcams, microphones, and other surveillance devices such as GPS beacons for vehicles (if they have access to the victim’s home or other property);
  • Using spyware programs, such as stalkerware.

Protection against cyberstalking

Fully eliminating the risk of cyberstalking is almost impossible. Risk reduction methods include:

  • Monitoring account and device security;
  • Setting strict privacy controls on social networks and other Web resources;
  • Digital footprint management and avoiding personal information in public posts;
  • Granting minimum permissions to apps;
  • Not sharing passwords and other confidential information, even with loved ones.

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