Preventing cyber stalkers from obtaining information


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Introduction

Cyber harassment, cyber stalking, cyber bullying, and hacking are becoming more common cases for us. More and more we are getting calls from individuals and businesses about individuals targeting them anonymously online. That anonymity can make it extremely difficult to figure out who is targeting you or your business, and law enforce cannot or will not always help. Here are some things you can do to minimize damages caused by cyber stalkers.

Notify your work and school

Certain individuals will do whatever they can to slander those they do not like or agree with. This includes anonymously targeting their company and school with harassing, embarrassing, or slanderous claims about the victim. We’ve seen many cases where the cyber stalkers will leave slanderous reviews on companies or send messages straight to company staff where the victim works. The best thing you, as a victim, can do in this scenario is to inform your company of the situation. They also may be willing to help in certain ways, such as removing you from the company website or responding to the attacker that you do not work there.

If you’re applying for a job and in fear of what your potential new employer will find online about you, it is best to know that you have someone who’s cyber stalking you and that you’re actively working to get it resolved. Some professions may be highly critical of applicants who have suspicious online activity, such as education, child care, law enforcement, or other sensitive professions. As such, it is important you disclose the situation to your potential employer. It may also be in your benefit to present any police reports you can, which may strengthen their understanding of your situation and verify it is, in fact, someone else.

Dismantle your online presence

Online stalkers are usually people you once knew, but no longer have contact with. Since this is the case, they will rely on publicly available content and information about you. It is important to minimize what information is available to the cyber harasser. Less information means the attacker is less likely to know which parts of your life to target. You will also be minimizing new photos that they could possibly obtain.

In extreme cases where your personal safety is at risk, it may be necessary to obfuscate your online presence in order to throw off the attacker. Such examples include falsifying your current employer in order to prevent that individual from showing up or harassing your actual employer.

Address confidentiality program – Texas only

If you’re a resident of Texas and you’ve been a victim of certain crimes which you can show evidence of, the state of Texas has a program which will protect your address from online databases and keep it confidential. The program is called the “Address Confidentiality Program” and is available to individuals who have been stalked, abused, or victims of certain crime crimes. You can read more about this on the Texas attorney general website:
https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/crime-victims/services-crime-victims/address-confidentiality-program

Change technology, devices, and habits

We’ve had many requests for cases by individuals who believed their tech devices were being hacked by malevolent forces. In every case that we’ve dealt with, there was little to no evidence of hacking. Hacking is not something Joe Schmoe can do, especially when it deals with iPhones and iOS. We only need to look back a couple of years to see that FBI failing to gain access into a terrorists iPhone. It simply cannot be done.

That said, there are methods of getting around technology security. These methods are not really considered hacking, as much as they are gaining unauthorized access. If someone knows your Facebook password and logs in, this is not hacking. The same goes for iCloud. If someone has your password, they can gain access. It is best to change passwords, or better yet, delete the account altogether. If the attacker has no idea what the username in, he cannot even use his or her knowledge to reset your password. In many cases, this makes it impossible for the attacker to gain access.

When it comes to PCs, it is possible to install a remote access program which may compromise your computer. However, any amateur style remote access tool would be clearly visible to any seasoned cyber investigator and could easily be removed. However, if someone has gained unauthorized access into your PC, it is necessary to collect evidence. Spectre Intelligence can assist with this, for more information visit our cyber investigations page:
https://www.spectreintel.com/cyber-investigations/

Research yourself

If you want to see what type of information you have floating around the internet about you, conduct an online investigation into yourself. This can help determine where the attacker is gathering information. Some of the best methods to search yourself in search engines is:

– Searching your email in quotes
– Searching your phone numbers in quotes
– Searching your name in quotes, checking listings and pictures.
– Searching your online usernames in quotes
– Using publically available information search engines, such as YellowPages and Pipl
– Searching social media sites to locate your name or username

Whatever accurate information you find about yourself, make a concerted effort to remove that information or demand removal to the company that is posting it. Many times, companies will remove information when requested, especially if it opens up liability for them.

About us

Spectre Intelligence is a private investigation and intelligence firm located in sunny Round Rock, TX (Austin area). If you need investigation or cybersecurity services, visit us at www.spectreintel.com and www.spectretechnology.com