Everything You Need to Know About Cyberstalking

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Nowadays, when we voluntarily reveal so much personal information about ourselves that we would never have done in the past. But those of us who are regularly surfing the Internet and using social media sometimes feel tempted to share various life events there. Unfortunately, this makes it easier for stalkers to pursue their victims. In this article, you will learn how to deal with cyberstalking if it happens to you.

What is cyberstalking?

According to EN.VPNWelt.com, about 40% of adults have experienced some form of harassment online. This includes stalking. Women are more likely to be targeted for harassment online.

Most of the time, people only talk about stalking in real life, yet cyberstalking is hardly less significant for victims. Real-life stalking includes:

●     Following a person

●     Observing a person in disguise

●     Calling a person obsessively

And Internet stalking looks a bit different:

●     Constant sending of e-mails

●     Obsessive messaging via social networks or messaging services

The more we reveal about ourselves online, the easier we make it for potential stalkers.

Where does stalking start?

Admittedly, most of us have tried to find information about someone on the Internet. For some, it’s even unavoidable to Google a potential new partner before dating them. Even in the job market, applicants often check their Facebook or Instagram profiles first, hoping to avoid nasty surprises.

However, this type of “online research” is not yet cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is usually aimed at harming the victim in some way, be it through defamation, sexual harassment, or bullying.

It becomes particularly dangerous and stressful for the victim when criminals combine typical stalking with cyberstalking. In this case, even more options arise to harm someone.

The most prominent examples of cyberstalking

Catfishing

This is a form of stalking that occurs specifically on social media. The criminals create fake user profiles, which they often copy from real users, and then write to various people. Often, they introduce themselves as distant relatives who accidentally came across your profile, or they pretend to be romantically interested. In this way, they want to get as much personal information as possible.

Monitoring location check-ins on social media

Many Facebook and Instagram users add location information to their posts. This, of course, is especially handy for stalkers. Because all they have to do to track you is look at your posts. This often then allows them to figure out various activity and movement patterns.

Virtual visits via Street View

Thanks to the location information on photos or other ways, scammers can find out their victim’s address. If they enter this address on Google Maps, they can see exactly where you live via Street View.

Installing stalkerware

Stalkerware is software or spyware that can monitor a victim’s activities through their device. Thus, cyberstalkers can track your location and also gain access to your texts and browsing history. What is particularly frightening for many is that this stalkerware simply runs in the background without you noticing anything.

How to protect yourself from cyberstalking

All of this may sound scary, but there are proven ways you can use to protect yourself from cyberstalking.

1) Look into the privacy settings of the social networks you use because this is where cyberstalking often starts. Be careful not to share too much private information there. It’s best to set up your social networks so that only your friends can see your photos, posts, and personal information.

2) Sometimes, it’s hard not to share all the great places you visit on social media. But before you do it, always think twice about the consequences.

3. Facebook regularly shows you upcoming events in your area and which of your friends would like to participate in them. On the one hand, this feature is handy and makes it easier to plan your free time, but on the other hand, it is a privacy disaster. It makes it easy for potential stalkers to find out when where you are and what your interests have.

4. Use strong passwords that you use for only one account. Do not share them with anyone. If you can’t remember all the different passwords for your accounts, you can easily use a password manager.

5. Use a VPN – A VPN not only securely encrypts all your data but also disguises your real IP address.

6. Always enable multi-factor authentication. This means that two different actions are required when you want to log into an account.


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