According to cybersecurity experts, it is becoming a difficult task to track and identify someone who is using the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, group, or organization due to the emerging sophisticated technologies.
Most of the online stalkers defame, slander and come up with false accusations just to injure their targeted victims. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten, embarrass or harass.
“Online stalking is the persistent and frequent unwanted contact from another individual that is highly undesirable and the outcome to either male or a female victim is at best discomfort and annoyance, and at worst severe distress and mental trauma,” Get Safe Online Limited noted.
Experts say hackers are also found wanting in this kind of ugly situation where you are being tracked and monitored from one social media platform to the other. They are bent on searching for your personal information. The risk factors of being stalked online are usually enormous; hence it is imperative that strong online security measures are adopted.
Internet users should always note that there is always an intent behind cyberstalking; it is usually a bad one. Sometimes, it could be from somebody who knows you or someone you don’t even know at all. Your ex might even be the one stalking you online. That is why a relationship that breaks up in a bad way is disastrous.
“People who have an Internet addiction are at particular risk as they can “lose touch with the real world and find it harder to form relationships. This means you become more invested in online relationships and can become fixated on them,” says Emma Short, a psychologist from the national center for cyberstalking research, based at the University of Bedfordshire.
It might be a bit confusing to figure out if you are being stalked online or not, but countries like England have laws that address issues relating to online stalking. Whichever country you find yourself, stalking someone online is like invading someone’s privacy and therefore is regarded as an offense.
“Cyberstalking is a type of harassment,” says Jon Gilbert, a detective superintendent in Bedfordshire. “It’s about how the victim perceives the actions. Even things such as silent phone calls have been seen to be harassment due to the impact that they can have on other people,” he says.
However, it is important victims of this cybercrime to always report to the nearest police stations or seek help from any other angle.
How to prevent yourself from cyberstalking
· Be cautious about public Wi-Fi
· Be cautious about online forums and communities
· Make sure you have the latest software update
· Ensure your wireless router has security enabled
· Do not overload your profile with so much information; just make it simple.
· Change frequently your email and passwords
· Review all your privacy and security settings
· Have an updated antispyware software installed