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HOW TO: Prevent and Report Online Stalking

By David Perry 2010-04-14 19:06:17 UTC

David Perry is Global Director of Education for Trend Micro. where he represents the company's Internet security awareness endeavors as a leading authority on computer virus prevention. For ongoing updates on the latest threats, check out the Trend Micro microsite .

The social web is not just a model of our world, but an indelible and growing part of it. People correspond, they do business, and just like in the real world, they have addresses, and mailboxes. And in today’s pervasive and immersive online environment, it's almost impossible to be completely anonymous.

The web gathers vast amounts of personal information that we willfully share online — our location, interests, purchases, friends, current activities, etc. Anyone tracking this information not only knows what we say, but in what location we say it, and to whom. This adds up to a large dossier of information on nearly

every Internet user.

One issue that persists in a web-based world is online stalking (also referred to by some organizations as "cyber stalking"). An online stalker can easily hide behind Internet anonymity, or worse, behind someone else’s identity. Below is a quick guide to understanding online stalking and how to best prevent it from happening to you.

1. Get the Facts

The real key to the prevention of online stalking is remembering that every post you put on a social network could potentially be public. Sophisticated search engines and malicious data-stealing Trojans can find and share any information about you, even on the most trusted and secure social networks. Compromised data could potentially be used by criminals to harass you, harm you personally, or steal your identity.

The best thing to do is to stay informed about the latest threats and which popular sites may have been recently hacked. Some important resources with quality information include:

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