Stalking an individual or group through electronic means, especially the Internet, is termed as Cyberstalking. Cyberstalkers harass other individuals by means of false accusations, threats, identity thefts, or damage to data or equipment. An isolated incident of inappropriate cyber behavior cannot be termed as cyber stalking. Cyberstalking is the unsolicited assault on the mental senses in which the offender constantly breaks in to the Internet world of the victim with the motive to upset the victim. Individual acts cannot cause mental abuse; it is their cumulative effect that tends to victimize.
False accusations, harassment and threats from the tripod of cyberstalking. The cyber stalker will either post false accusations on the victim’s space on the Internet or even dedicate a blog or a space just for this purpose. The idea is to influence the thinking of others and to solicit their tainted views. Sometimes the objective might be to gather personal information of the victim. They might try to trace the victim’s IP address in an attempt to get more information. Often, the cyberstalker will get others to believe that he is the victim. The next level is to damage the victim’s computer by sending a virus to the victims computer. Often they will manage to get the victims credit card number and order items in the victim’s name.
Cyberstalkers generally find their victims through search engines, through online social networks like Facebook, Orkut, chat rooms, bulletin boards and blogs. They send unsolicited mail and engage in live chat harassment. The next level of harassment is physical stalking which cyberstalking might evolve to on occasion, which involves harassing the victim over the phone and through physical assault.
While some countries like the U.S, U.K., Australia have taken steps to prohibit cyberstalking by way of legislation and punishment, much needs to be done. The scale of the crime is vast as the Internet gives you access to people all over the world and sometimes the extent that legislation can do remains limited as the perpetrator might not even belong to the country of the victim.