On the electronic frontier, stalkers have upgraded their weaponry and they’re gunning for the unprepared. Cyber stalking is a criminal behavior which occurs when a person uses the Internet to harass, humiliate, damage, or threaten someone. Cyber stalking crimes are classified as misdemeanor or felony crimes based on aggravating factors which may include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation or parole, victim under 16 years, or victimizing the identical person. Based on specific conditions, these crimes are subject to punishment ranging from probation to ten years in prison.
Types of Cyber Stalking
Cyber stalking takes on many forms that might include sending victims harassing or threatening emails and text messages and/or posting personal, false or humiliating information on social media. In some instances these perpetrators may send viruses, spam attacks, and harmful applications via e-mail to compromise or destroy the victim’s computer. Even more ominous are cyber stalkers who intend to locate and confront their prey by obtaining personal information such as home and work addresses and phone numbers.
Scope of the Issue
The Department of Justice reports that 6.6 million people are victims of stalking in the United States. More than 25% of stalking victims, report that they were harassed online during their lifetime. The majority of these victims experienced significant anxiety or fear and considered that they or someone close to them could be harmed or killed. Most victims know the individual stalking them. However, some stalkers fantasize or harbor grudges against public figures or celebrities they’ve never personally met.
Kinds of Cyber Stalkers
Cyber stalkers present mental health issues that vary from irrational anger to psychosis. They range from people who are angry ex-partners who feel refused to more seriously disturbed people who are compulsive, vengeful, or delusional. The motivation for these crimes is to restrain, intimidate or affect the victim. The damaging impact of cyber stalking most commonly consist of severe emotional distress and damage to your reputation. In serious cases physical, sexual, and deadly assaults are reported.
The following security guidelines are intended to assist you prevent cyber stalking by carefully protecting your private information.
Keep antivirus software upgraded.
Never put personal photos, account profiles or email addresses online.
Do not download anonymous email attachments.
Don’t sign into account when using public Wi-Fi networks.
Never reveal your house address.
Delete or password the details of any events you plan to attend.
Handling Cyber Stalking
Inform the individual that further contact undesirable will be reported to authorities.
After this first warning, stop all responding to that person.
Record the time, location, and details of all unwanted contacts or incidents.
Scan and clean your computer completely for malicious software.
Change all passwords.
Block unwanted calls/ net contacts.
Change telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.
File complaints with the stalker’s ISP and sites.
File a police report with documented details of this cyber stalking.