Cyberstalking is a huge menace in society, since it is easy to fall foul to a stalker, be they an ex friend or someone you met. A few minutes of being distracted is all it can take for someone to install something on your phone or computer and they can stalk you.
What is cyberstalking?
In the past, a stalker would intrude into your personal life, they may take photos of you and your family, they may follow you and they may even contact you in some belief that you should be with them.
Cyberstalking is when someone does the same thing online. It is very easy for someone, given physical access to your computer or your devices to install software that spies on everything you do.
It started with RATting (A form of Remote Access Tool – like those people who fix your computers remotely often from far off countries – or the common scam variants of that) or with spyware that reported what sites you go to. These days, the software has become far more complex, and often records your conversations on camera and microphone; your calls and texts so the stalker can watch and listen.
Every mobile device has a built in GPS receiver that can broadcast your location so they know where you are anywhere in the world. You use this for the sat nav, or to remember where you took certain photos, but with spy software installed on your device, the attacker knows exactly where you are at all times.
Where does this happen?
If you leave your phone unlocked lying around or if anyone wants to look at your phone for any reason, they can install an invisible spy app to your device in seconds. Once that is in place, they can extract detailed information about everything on your device, such as the calls you make and texts you sent as well as all the photos and videos you have taken along with access to your camera and microphone at any time they want to record you.
The same goes with your computer.
I’m sure you have seen friends appear with a second account and claim that they lost their password on their old account or that their account was locked out, often these are fake accounts that they used to gain all the information your friends have access to, so all your posts, posted photos and videos and who your friends are. Facebook, for instance will tag your friend’s faces on your photos for you so if you aren’t the target, the attacker can use you as the go-between, since they see what their victim looks like.
They can then post a fake news post or video of perhaps a celebrity that has just died, or something similar and when you click on the link, malware installs the spy app to your computer and copies the fake news post or video onto your wall without your knowledge in the hope that your victim clicks on the link and they have access to that person’s computer.
How do I stop them from doing this?
Contact the police if you suspect that someone is stalking you, but be prepared to change a lot of information.
- Email passwords, and in some cases changing your email entirely.
- Create new Apple, Google and Microsoft accounts for your devices.
- Create completely new social media accounts. Make sure your friends are genuine when you re-add them.
- Back up all your photos and videos off your phone and perform a factory reset. This removes everything from the device, and then you use your new account to connect to your device.
- Be careful with links on social media, copy the link and open it in a web browser you don’t use with that social media, if it asks you to log in, you know it’s a site intending to capture your details.