Cyberstalking: Meaning and Examples

Cyberstalking does not always include face-to-face contact, and some victims may not even be aware that they are being followed online. Numerous techniques can be employed to keep tabs on the victims, and the data acquired may then be utilised to commit crimes like identity theft. Some stalkers even contact the victims' acquaintances and continue their harassment offline.

What is the Meaning of Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is a type of online crime. Internet-related terms like "cyber" and "stalking" refer to the practise of looking into someone's online activity on social media or through other online techniques. In other words, it means simply keeping eyes on other’s activities with the help of computer and internet.

Purpose of Cyberstalking

Purpose of cyber staking may be positive or negative. If someone stalking someone to cheat, to scam, or with the intention to harm by any means, covered under negative purpose. On the other hand, if someone stalking (usually, government agency or family members/friends) with the intention to provide security, then it is covered under positive purpose. Furthermore, some of the government agencies (through cyber stalking) keep eyes on suspected people so that they can protect the national security.

Examples of Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking can take many different forms, such as harassing, embarrassing, and humiliating the victim, draining bank accounts, or exercising other forms of financial control, such damaging the victim's credit, pestering the victim's family, friends, and employers to isolate them through fear-mongering techniques, and more

Types of Cyberstalking

Major types of cyber stalking are −

Direct Cyberstalking

Offenders may send their victims emails directly or deluge their inboxes with emails. Or, they might bother them through IM, voicemail, texts, or other electronic means of communication. They may employ technology to watch over, track, or constantly browse the pages of their victims – frequently without their awareness.

Indirect Cyberstalking

Attacks involving indirect cyberstalking could result in device damage for the victim. They might accomplish this by infecting it with ransomware, which would lock its files and demand payment to unlock them. Alternately, they might put in a virus or keylogger that keeps track of the victim's online activities and/or takes information from the target device.

Effects of Cyberstalking

Its victims may experience a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional repercussions. These negative impacts can have an impact on their current relationships with those close to them and include anxiety, despair, the onset of PTSD, panic attacks, sleeping and eating disorders, among others. A victim of anxiety or PTSD may experience vivid flashbacks of the occurrence, which may set off severe and incapacitating anxiety or panic attacks. Even PTSD and suicidal thoughts have been linked to cyberstalking victims, according to some research.

How to protect oneself from cyberstalking?

Following are some of the techniques through which one can protect oneself from cyberstalking −

  • Primarily, keep your cellphone, tablet, and other such computer devices at safe places and ensure, no stranger can access it; even do not allow family members or friends to access it in a given condition.

  • Use multiple locking system for different computer devices as well as for different apps installed in your devices.

  • Keep changing your major passwords.

  • Do not share your personal information with any person whom you do not know or even after a few meetings; remember, never trust anybody.

  • Take precaution while making public announcements about your attendance at events or while "checking in" at a location on social media.

  • Use the high privacy options on social media and other online accounts to restrict the information you disclose to close friends, family members, and people you can trust.

  • Use reliable, up-to-date security software to stop spyware from being downloaded onto your computer through phishing scams or malicious websites.

  • Last but not the least, avoid keep sensitive data in your computer devices, especially one, which is connected with internet.

Laws in India against Cyberstalking

The following laws are available in India to deal with cyberstalking −

  • Section 67 of the Information Technology Act of 2000 − The Information Technology Act of 2000's Section 67 charges stalkers with up to three years in prison and a fine for sending, causing to be sent, or publishing offensive posts or content on electronic media.

  • Section 67A of the Information Technology Act of 2000 − Anyone who transmits, authorises the transmission of, or publishes through electronic media any material that contains sexually explicit acts or conduct is subject to penalties under Section 67A of the Information Technology Act of 2000. The consequences include a fine of up to five lakh rupees and a jail sentence of up to five years.

  • Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 − In accordance with Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, anyone who observes a woman using the internet, email, or any other electronic communication tool may be sentenced to up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine. First-time offenders are eligible for bail, but repeat offenders are not.


Threats, libel, slander, sexual harassment, and other behaviours intended to intimidate, control, or control the target may all be part of cyberstalking. It's possible to stalk someone in person in addition to online. It is prohibited and covered under criminal offence in (almost) all states and countries and is punishable by law as a named offence or in accordance with harassment and stalking legislation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What kinds of crimes fall under the category of cyberstalking?

Ans. Cyberstalking includes a variety of behaviours such as threats, libel, defamation, sexual harassment, and other attempts to frighten, control, or control the target.

Q2. Who is most susceptible to online harassment?

Ans. The most likely targets of cyberstalking are females between the ages of 14 and 30.

Q3. What leads to online stalking?

Ans. There are several reasons why cyberstalking occurs, including lust, retaliation, domination, and wrath.

Updated on: 13-Apr-2023


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