Tag Archives: Hacking

The Dangers of Sexting

How Sexting Can Ruin a Person's Life

Reporters talk about sexting on a regular basis, usually involving politicians and public figures. Regular people, including teens, also sext and may not understand the implications of their actions. People have ruined marriages and relationships all in the name of fun and games. Teenagers and daters are targets for identity thieves and scammers. Kids are targets for kidnappers and pedophiles. Parents want to protect their children, but that may not be enough. Children should be educated about the dangers of sexting and contacting strangers online.

What is Sexting?

Sexting involves two people exchanging intimate information through text messages. Predators ask their targets for nude pictures or sexually-themed messages. The predators convince the victims to send the messages to get or keep their attention. Statistics show that 1 in 7 teens routinely sends “sext” messages and 1 in 4 receives sext messages. Parents should discuss sexting with their children. The child should be encouraged to share if they are being pressured by anyone to send sexts. It’s common for a person to receive a message containing a nude photo or sexual suggestion. If that happens, the child should report it. The parent can use an iPhone app to find out who owns a phone number and then report it to the authorities.

Dating Sites

Adults might send sext messages to people they meet on dating sites. Many people using online dating sites tend to move very fast in forming relationships. Hackers engage targets who get caught up by the romance and ignore their instincts. Hackers can use the messages to gain valuable information or threaten to post the messages or pictures unless the victim pays. The scammer can sell the information to another who will use it for financial gain and cause the target grief and legal troubles for years to come.

 Sextortion

“Sextortion” is a form of extortion or blackmail. The victim exposes him or herself to another through sexually-related messages or photos. The recipient uses that information and posts – or threatens to post – the information online or send it to the victim’s contacts. As a result, people can be targets of “revenge porn,” a method wherein the victim has personal information or photos posted online by a former friend or lover who wants to get revenge. The act can cause fights, embarrassment, loss of a job or worse. School officials might punish teenagers, causing them to be expelled or denied access into colleges of their choice. People put themselves and their families at risk, including their careers and relationships. Photos posted on the Internet stay there forever. You can’t delete them or get them back.

Sexting carries legal issues since the person taking or sending the photo can receive fines or jail time for distributing pornography.

Protect Yourself

If someone asks you to start sexting, refuse. It will help you to avoid embarrassment, hacking, and possible legal problems. Avoid storing intimate photos and videos on your computer. A hacker will trick his victim and access the other person’s computer, posting private photos on social media sites.

Cyberstalkers and Their Victims

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is the use of social media, phone calls, text messages, email, and other forms of technology to threaten, harass, pursue, intimidate or steal a person’s information for personal gain. For that reason, anyone who uses the Internet can be a target. Cyberstalkers are often driven by jealousy, anger, hatred, infatuation, revenge, and lust or obsession. Some might suffer from mental illness. Some cyberstalkers, known as Internet Trolls, will harass Internet users for no good reason. A cyberstalker could be a stranger, but most likely is someone the victim knows. The stalker could be an ex, someone from school, co-worker, someone with whom you’ve had an argument or fight, or even a fan or potential love interest.

The Four Types of Cyberstalkers

Cyberstalkers cause a lot of trouble for their victims with rumors, false allegations, lies, harassment, or even identity theft. Cyberstalking can include cyberbullying, which takes place between kids. Cyberstalking may also include inappropriate actions, including those of a sexual nature. Research has shown that there are four basic types of cyberstalkers. They are:

  • Vindictive: Cyberstalkers who want to get revenge or harm another person. They often engage in personal attacks;
  • Composed: Those whose want to annoy the victim;
  • Intimate: One who wants to have a relationship (friendship or love) with the victim. Therefore, cyberstalkers can turn violent if turned away;
  • Collective: A group of cyberstalkers who attack an individual or group for a specific cause.

The Harmful Result

Stalking causes a great deal of harm to the victim. It can ruin marriages, self-esteem, careers, or someone’s credit. Cyberbullies have been the cause of many children committing suicide. Obsessions can move from cyberspace to real-world stalking. Cyberstalkers may claim that they mean no harm, although what is being done may be extremely harmful and often illegal. Victims may not know they are being stalked. The stalker could use spyware or other means of tracking Internet use behind the scenes. You should increase your security if you think that you are being tracked in some way. Take extra precautions.

Precautions

Protect yourself by taking simple precautions. Regardless of how careful you are, it’s possible to become a target. However, you can avoid becoming a victim of cyberstalking, despite the method used to target you.

  • Restrict access to your computer, smartphone, and other devices. Leaving your computer open can allow hackers to alter the system and add software for tracking purposes.
  • Password protection. You should protect all devices with unique passwords to keep from being stalked. Use a web-based password vault to store passwords and change passwords often. Never use the same password for more than one program. Above all, avoid using passwords such as children’s or pets’ names or birthdays.
  • Sign out of computer programs when finished, especially on social media accounts.
  • Search your name online to see what information is available to the public. Do the same for family members.
  • Tell friends and family that you do not want your personal information on their social media accounts. Remove such info wherever possible.
  • Keep online calendars and plans private.
  • Post with care. If you post something, it is nearly impossible to take it back. This includes photographs.
  • Don’t announce travel plans or sharing where you will be on a certain date and time.
  • Use anti-virus, spyware, malware and anti-tracking software on all devices.
  • Teach children how to be smart about Internet use and to report any strange behavior immediately.
  • Don’t give out personal information such as your address, social security number, or bank information.
  • Hackers can obtain all information provided online.
  • Don’t get involved in online arguments.
  • Never open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use screen names that are age and gender neutral.
  • Check the status of bank and credit card accounts on a regular basis.
  • Set up new emails for dating websites and social media accounts.

Cyberstalked? Now What?

If you see signs of cyberstalking, act right away. Police and other agencies often have cyber divisions that can help with the legal aspects of the crime and how to protect yourself.

  • Take suspicions seriously.
  • Report any possible illegal activity.
  • Avoid any contact with suspected cyberstalkers.
  • Record and block any email or phone numbers used to contact you with harassing messages. Use an iPhone cell phone trace app to check unknown numbers.
  • Change your account passwords.
  • Change email accounts.
  • Remove personal information on social media profiles and dating websites.
  • Reset privacy settings on all accounts and programs.
  • Delete online accounts if necessary.
  • Inform family and friends of the event.
  • Be aware of any real-life stalking activity.

In conclusion, it seems that cyberstalking is here to stay. However, if you are mindful, you can stay safe.