Cyberstalking is one of the worst things that can happen to you online. It is also one of the most dangerous things as a cyberstalker can easily pose a real-life risk to you. Although we don’t need to quit our online world, we do need to learn some cyber-smarts and cyber-defense to protect ourselves from such intrusive cybercriminals.
We have consulted with online security experts to gather their best tips on how you can secure yourself from cyberstalkers.
“Navigating privacy issues in today's interconnected and digital world is difficult. The ways in which third parties are collecting people’s information is constantly changing, and one way to protect your online privacy is removing your personal information from data brokers, search engines and the internet. We’ve compiled a complete list of data brokers, along with an opt-out guide for each data broker website. This is a process that could be made individually and for free. However, it can take hours to go through each website and remove the personal information for just one person – let alone an entire family. For that, companies such as DeleteMe remove you from more than 30 data brokers like Whitepages, Spokeo, BeenVerified, plus many more for a fee.”
Rob Shavell is a privacy expert with a decade of experience in protecting users’ personal information online. He is also the CEO of Abine/DeleteMe, a Massachusetts-based Online Privacy Company providing services that protect people’s online security and digital footprint.
“There are many different ways to protect yourself from cyberstalking, including using strong passwords and making sure that your email account is set up, so the emails go straight into a trash folder. Additionally, you can use privacy settings on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram so only people who already know about it will see what's going on in your life. You should also make an effort to regularly change those same online passwords for websites where you have accounts as well as any other password-protected system such as banking institutions because if one security leak happens then, all of them could be compromised at once!”
Adil Advani, Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist PureVPN
“To delete your personal information from Google and protect yourself from stalkers: First, contact the site owner and ask them to remove the information. You can check the contact details on the website, look them up on Whois, or contact the site’s hosting company. If you are at risk of “significant harm”, you can contact Google directly. However, the company will not delete all types of information, but will delete non-consensual nude images, fake pornography, or outdated content. While Google cannot remove websites from the internet, it can remove them from showing up in searches.”
Unplug to Protect Your Privacy: “Deactivate all of your social media accounts, blogs, or any other personal and unnecessary online account. Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi networks to hide your web activity and device’s IP address. Use a service like DeleteMe to remove yourself from data collection websites. You can also do this manually, although it will be time consuming to contact each data collection website individually. Set up a junk email address to give websites when needed. If you’re shopping online, check out as a guest. Only provide personal information, like your email or phone number, when it’s absolutely necessary.”
Aliza Vigderman is a Senior Editor and Industry Analyst at the digital security website Security.org.
“There is nothing scarier than a cyberstalker, someone who is haunting you via the digital landscape. Sadly, they have become more and more common over the years and don't seem to be going away any time soon. But thankfully, there are steps you can take to avoid such menaces and they all start with you being vigilant and protective of your privacy.
Turn off Your Locations: “Perhaps the most important thing you can do to avoid cyber stalkers is to turn off your locations on all your social media sites. There is no reason to tag where you are at any given time. If you want to tell your followers that you visited a place, you can report it after you are home and safe.
Keep Your Profiles Private: “It is also doubly important that you keep your profiles private and only accessible to people you know, people you trust.
Block: “Don't be afraid to use the block button of anyone who attempts to contact if you don't know them. Also, don't ever respond to messages from strangers. They may seem harmless at first, but they could always be a cyber stalker attempting to get in touch. These are just some of the few steps you can take to make sure you are safe from any and all cyber stalkers. When in doubt, err on the side of being safe - and private.”
Eric Florence, Cybersecurity Analyst at Security Tech
“Ignore and delete friend requests from people you barely knew. If you can still remember how your parents taught you not to talk to strangers, apply them online too. Do not accept friend requests and follow requests to some random people. Make sure your privacy settings are set into a private mode to ensure you have control on people who can follow you and be friends with you.”
Chris Worrell, Chief Privacy Officer Privacy Bee