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What is Cyberstalking and How to Protect Yourself?

Cyberstalking has become a growing issue. 40 percent of Americans have experienced online harassment according to the Pew Research Center. While most victims of cyberstalking are women, 20 to 40 percent of the victims are men.

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What is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is using the internet and technology to harass or stalk a person. It can be considered an extension of cyberbullying and in-person stalking. However, it takes the form of text messages, e-mails, social media posts, and other mediums and is often persistent, deliberate, and methodical.

Cyberstalking often starts with seemingly harmless interactions that go on to become systematic in an annoying or frightening manner. Some even find the initial stage of cyberstalking to be amusing and harmless, but it stops being fun anymore when the interactions do not end even after the recipient has expressed their displeasure and asked for the interaction to stop.

The content that is directed at the victims is often inappropriate and disturbing. A cyberstalker might terrorize a victim by sending messages several times a day and from different accounts.

Cyberstalking does not necessarily involve direct communication, and some victims may not even realize that they are the victims of online stalking. The victims can be monitored through various methods and the information gathered can be later used for crimes such as identity theft. Some stalkers even go as far as harassing the victims offline as well and even contacting their friends.

Some common characteristics of Cyberstalking behavior are tracking locations, monitoring online and real-world activities, obsessively tracking the victims’ whereabouts, intimidating victims, etc. Social media stalking may include sending threatening private messages or faking photos.

Oftentimes, cyberstalkers make false accusations, spread malicious rumors, create fake social media profiles or blogs, or create and publish revenge porn.

There might be a misperception that because it does not involve physical contact, Cyberstalking is not as severe as the physical form of stalking. This is not true in any case. The internet has become an integral part of everything that we do, be it personal or professional. This has only eased the way communications take place along with the increased access to personal information.

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Cyberstalking Examples

Cyberstalkers use a variety of tactics and techniques to humiliate, harass, control, and intimidate their victims. Many cyberstalkers are technologically savvy as well as creative in their ways. Here are some examples of how Cyberstalking might take place:

Consequences of Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is no different than stalking and leads to consequences that can be detrimental to the victims both physically and mentally. Victims who are harassed online experience fear, anger, confusion, and insomnia along with other health issues. Cyberstalking affects the overall well-being of victims. They often suffer from anxiety, distress, depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation.

If you are experiencing Cyberstalking, it is important that you reach out for help. You can contact a loved one, see a mental health professional, seek legal help, or even file a police complaint against the stalker if you think that you are in immediate danger.

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Difference between Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying

Here you will know what is cyberbullying and Cyberstalking are and the differences between them.

In Cyberstalking, the victim is harassed online through electronic communication devices, instant messaging, social networks, discussion groups, etc., for the purpose of revenge, anger, or control. A stalker may be a stranger or an acquaintance of the victim.

Cyberbullying is mostly when a child, preteen, or teen is harassed, humiliated, tormented, threatened, embarrassed, or targeted through the internet, interactive and digital technologies, or electronic devices by another individual of the same age range. If adults are involved, it is considered cyber-harassment or Cyberstalking.

Cyberbullying happens in a repeated, deliberate, and hostile manner. It can be as simple as repeatedly sending emails, texting, or harassing someone. Cyberbullying may involve:

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Types of Cyberstalking

Let us explore the various kinds of Cyberstalking that are prevalent:

Legal Implications of Cyberstalking

Punishment for Cyberstalking

India is at the top of the statistics when it comes to global sexual harassment. The online harassment faced by women also reflects the harassment in the physical world. 50 percent of women in the major cities of India have faced online abuse according to a survey by Feminism. Cyberstalking against men is also becoming quite common nowadays, making the ratio almost 50:50.

Here are some instances of cyberstalking laws in India:

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How to deal with Cyberstalking?

If anyone is experiencing Cyberstalking, acting immediately is crucial. Here is how you can deal with it:

How to avoid Cyberstalking?

Increasing your privacy settings is the first thing to do to prevent Cyberstalking. Enable strong privacy settings:

Remove all personal data that is on the web. You may have to reach out to third-party websites to get some of the data taken down. In case you need to have a postal address for business purposes, use a post box address or office address and not your personal address. The best security measure is not giving out your full name online, only your first name.

Beware of calls or emails that ask for personal information, however reasonable the request may seem. In case of calls from banks or credit card companies, verify with the headquarter or branch given on your paperwork.

Securing your data will not help you if your device is hacked. To prevent Cyberstalking, ensure basic security in your online life.


In this blog, we have tried to cover all aspects of Cyberstalking. We have also learned how to avoid this. Every country and state has its own Cyberstalking laws. No matter the region, it is a punishable offense and should always be reported if the offender does not take it seriously and continues with the harassment.

Having any doubts or queries related to Cyberstalking? Drop them on Intellipaat’s Cyber Security Community!

The post What is Cyberstalking and How to Protect Yourself? appeared first on Intellipaat Blog.

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