With an increased online presence, many people have been taking advantage of innocent users and stalking or harassing them online. Cyberstalking is a crime undertaken by individuals who just want to use the internet to harass, frighten, and intimidate a person.
Key characteristics that define this crime include false accusations, monitoring someone’s online activities or location, threats, and positing derogatory statements. Other strategies cyberstalkers use include identity theft and manipulation by sending malware or virus to a victim’s device and data destruction.
In certain instances, cyberstalkers will use phone calls, instant messages, email addresses, and other communication modes to stalk their victims. You may not know that cyberstalking can also take the form of inappropriate contact, sexual harassment, or unwelcome attention to your life or family activities.
Once you have a clear understanding of what is cyberstalking, don’t have any reservations about learning how to protect yourself. There is robust information on-
What is Cyberstalking and How to Protect Yourself
1. Keep a Low Profile Online
Keeping a subdued online presence is not that easy. It can be tough for some people, especially if you like using your online existence to advertise or promote your business-related activities. Avoid posting personal details online, like your phone number or address.
In most circumstances, it’s advisable to think carefully before revealing real-time information in your online profiles. You can use your nickname to open an account online. Don’t reveal your personal information if you are connecting with people you don’t know well. You may end up chatting with potential scammers or cyberstalkers.
2. Update Your Software
As you protect yourself against cyberstalking, updating your software may not be the first thing that comes in mind. Regularly updating your software can work wonders when it comes to preventing cyber threats or attacks. These updates are designed to patch online security vulnerabilities and keep your information safe.
Regular updates are essential if you use a mobile device and have saved essential data in it, or a scammer may want to track your exact location. Protecting your devices from hackers is one of the best ways of preventing cyberstalking. Make sure you keep your devices updated and working correctly.
3. Hide Your IP Address
The many applications and devices we use daily easily reveal your IP address. You may become a victim of cyberstalking if this address falls into the hands of a hacker. Your IP address is linked to the internet bill, and you have to pay it using your credit card.
Unfortunately, if this information falls into the hands of cyberstalkers, they may use your IP address to find your credit card details and your physical address. It’s not that challenging to mask your IP address. For example, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide your address and replace it with a different location. You will also successfully encrypt all your online activities and keep your data or system safe from scammers’ prying eyes.
4. Maintain Good Online Hygiene
If you are into using social networks, you have to watch your online activities. Having good digital hygiene helps protect yourself against different cyber threats and harassment or cyberbullying. Adjusting your privacy settings is one of the excellent ways to enjoy and maintain good digital hygiene.
By changing your settings, you will fruitfully clean up your accounts. You will adjust who sees or visits your profile or contacts you. Keep your messages, feeds, and timelines threads free from negative reviews or comments. The content you provide will not fuel any negativity among your social media friends and visitors.
5. Shun Disclosing Sensitive Data
Many people who end up complaining about cyberstalking or bullying regularly share their personal information that is accessed by malicious people. Depending on the platform you are visiting or spending time on, ensure you don’t disclose your sensitive or private information. Those who come across this data may use it to threaten or blackmail you. Sharing your address or easily identifiable information online may expose you to online scams. If you have to share private information with a friend, make sure you send it as a private message and not in a public post.
6. Password Protect Your Accounts
Whenever you open a new account online, make sure you come up with strong passwords that will protect against unauthorized access. Protect your cellphones, emails, banking, and credit cards with secure and strong passwords. Ensure the password is not easy to guess and make sure you change your passwords frequently.
Ensure the secret questions you choose when opening your account are not easy to crack. A secure password will be hard to crack or for the cyber-stalker to access your private data.
7. Act Fast Always
If you think a cyber-stalker has been following your activities online, take action, and move faster to block their actions. Don’t be paralyzed with fear and let the hacker or scammer keep on harassing you. If you suspect you are being stalked, block the person if you are using the same platform.
Go on and report to the platform you are using that someone is threatening or harassing you. Some platforms offer easy-to-use buttons to report any abusive behavior or activities. Call the police if you feel a boundary has been passed. Report any illegal behavior that might threaten your online presence or existence.
Protect Your Online Presence Always- Seek Help
To enjoy great online existence or presence, you need to protect yourself as best as you can. At all times, practice proper password management and online account security. If stuck and don’t know how to protect yourself against cyberstalking, feel free to seek help.
There are information technology experts out there who are more than willing to help protect your online existence. These experts will educate you more about cyberbullying or stalking and stay safe from any online scams. You will also learn from them how to protect your social media accounts and IP addresses, and keep your personal data safe.