Be Aware of Cyber Stalking..know the protection mantra!
In real world, stalking (the act of following a particular person for a long time with an intention of harming) is a common phenomenon. But in cyber world, it is more dangerous as the stalker is invisible. Read this article to understand the modus operandi of the stalker and the protection mantra.
- Nikhil, 8th, DAV public school, Jasola Vihar, New Delhi
- Apeksha Maurya, 8th DAV public school, Jasola Vihar, New Delhi
- Rashi Gupta,8th DAV public school Jasola Vihar, New Delhi
- Manashvi verma, 6th, Mount Litera Zee School
- Ansh Kumar Singh, 6th, Navy Children School, Karwar
- Shruti Kumari, 9th, DAV Public School Jasola Vihar
Priya (name changed) was continuously receiving disturbingly messages on her phone. After some time, request for meeting was received on her mobile phone. This was going on for quite some time even though she had replied that she was not interested in meeting the stalker. Over past few days, this stalker started sending her morphed photographs with threat of posting them in social media if she refused to meet her. These messages had stunned her. Frightened, she discussed it with her parents. Soon her family members complained to the police.
After investigation police found that the man had located Priya on public Facebook profiles. As her privacy settings was not enough to protect the account, her personal details like the phone number and email addresses was stolen and used by the culprit. The man used her photos and morphed them to threaten her and blackmail her.
The cyber world is a unique place. The moment we connect to cyber world, especially social media our identity and personal information becomes public. It is important for all the online users to be aware about this since such information can be used for cyber stalking. In recent time the cases of cyber stalking have increased tremendously and anyone from celebrity to common peoples can become victim of it. As stalkers always chose their targets due to some specific reason which may range from a broken relationship or be driven by the obsession of the stalker or even to conduct some fraud. Cyber stalking can happen in many ways and can last for weeks, months and even years.
What is Cyber Stalking?
Cyber stalking is a repeated unwanted communications and contacts with a victim that can cause apprehension or fear to victim. In most cases stalkers make unwanted and deliberate communications using telephone calls, emails, text messages, posts on social networking sites, and letters. In some cases, stalkers also send unsolicited materials, such as gifts or items that cause fear and threat to victim.
Intention of Stalker:
- Exploit victim for money, personal gain or harassment
- Seeking an obsessed romantic attachment
- Trying to reconcile after breakup with victim
- Seeking revenge after break-up
- Force victim to act according to criminal’s instruction
- Delusional or imaginary attachment to the victim, be it romantic or belonginess
- Revenge against perceived or actual injustices
- Hate or intolerance towards a specific group
- Random attacks – the victim being in the wrong place at the wrong time
How Cyber Stalking is done?
Cyber stalking done through online medium. Stalker does a profiling about the victim and gain almost all the information which is used for stalking. This information includes name, address, daily routine, victim’s images and some cases victim’s social media account password. After having all the information about the victim, stalkers may do all or few of the actions mentioned below:
- Send vulgar greeting cards to victim
- Creating websites about the victim
- Posting photos online of victim
- Gain controls of victim’s computer with viruses or excessive spamming
- Install Trojans to track online activities of victim
- Record victim’s online history and confidential information including passwords
- Sending threatening, harassing or obscene messages to the victim’s friends, family
Consequences of cyber stalking on victim:
- Cyberstalking could affect the victim's mental health and well-being
- Due to cyberstalking the victim experiences depression and stress
- Confusion about the situation, self-doubt and frustration, guilt, embarrassment
- Apprehension, fear, terror of being alone and being attacked any time
- Anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia (frightened to leave the house, never feeling safe)
- Difficulty in concentrating, attending and remembering things
- Lack of sleep and nightmares
- Getting Irritated, angry and have homicidal thoughts
- Insecurity and inability to trust others
- Personality changes due to becoming more suspicious, introverted or aggressive
- Develop suicidal thoughts
How do you know that you are being stalked?
The most obvious sign of cyber stalking is repeated contact by a person with the victim through any medium of communication even after victim’s refusal to have any further communication. If you find any one of the situations below you can understand that you are being stalked:
- Getting unwanted messaged on your phone, WhatsApp, email or any social media site
- If you find some unknown is commenting on all your post and following you every where
- An unknown person is following your friends and family’s accounts
- The person is available at all the places where you are posting
- Sending in-appropriate online messages about you
- Trying to disconnect you from your friends and family
- Sharing your morphed picture.
There are a number of simple ways to guard against cyber stalking:
- Set up two factor authentications for your accounts (This will reduce chances of your account being hacked by the stalker)
- Don’t share your contact details in social media ( Better to stay anonymous rather than having an identifiable online presence)
- Use your primary e-mail account only for communicating with people you trust (set up an different e-mail account for exposure on social media)
- Don't put any identifying details in online profiles (Avoid posting pictures, tagging them)
- Remove embedded information from photographs (To hide date and location of clicking them)
- Make privacy setting strong of your online accounts including social media, mobile and email. (To ensure that your information is visible to your friends only and not to public)
- Disable location tracking on your mobile, enable it when it is necessary (To avoid revealing your real time location)
- Never handover your mobile to anyone (To avoid dropping of tracking malware)
- If you find anyone the activities are happening with you, you must inform your parents and guardian.
Weseso is a non-profit organization which works for cyber safety of the society with students as agents of change.
To learn more about cyber security read weseso blogs, written by students from different schools. You can also write blogs and take part in various knowledge sharing discussion. To get involved, you first need to become a cyber warrior and become a part of larger community who are committed to secure family, friends and society from cyber crime.
To know how to become a cyber warrior, click the link: https://weseso.org/how-to-become-a-cyber-warrior/