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Simfin

online safety and digital citizenship specialist

Murder in Slow Motion

03.05.19

 I was asked by a local authority, following the brutal murder of a young woman, to develop a course for front line colleagues to help them provide support for victims of digitally assisted stalking.

I have delivered the course many times in recent months and the feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive.

The course covers a range of themes including the urgent need to help people develop strategies to survive the pressures and challenges of  relationships in a digital age.

I feel this is such an important area that I have chosen to share the following practical guidance with you.

Let me know what you think.

 

Guidance for victims of cyberstalking and those who support them


Abusers Are Not Mind Readers


Abuse victim’s can often feel as though they are losing their mind. Abusers will seem to mysteriously know personal and intimate details about the victim’s life. Abusers will use technology to invade and control the victim’s home and online life. This control can be stopped if the victim receives, and acts upon, practical and informed advice and guidance.

Abusers gain information about their victim via:


• People
• Social media
• Technology

Assume:
• There is a GPS tracker in their car.
• There is spyware on their phone, smart watch, tablet, computer.
• There are cameras and microphones hidden in everyday objects in the victim’s home.

GPS tracker: This may be a GPS tracker or a mobile phone. The abuser will almost certainly need access to the vehicle to retrieve and charge the device. Ensure the abuser does not have access to the vehicle.


Spyware on the phone: This will record video, photos, voice, all text and messages in all apps, and social media. It will also share search history and password changes. Do not discuss the abuser in presence of, or via, the phone.


To remove spyware; factory reset device and change all passwords. Use two factor authentications to receive notifications if accounts are accessed by abuser.


After the factory reset set up a white list on the phone. This means only approved numbers can call.

Password protect the phone.


Notify all friends and colleagues about the abuser and ensure they do not allow them access to victim’s online and social media presence.
Cameras and microphones will be in the home in everyday objects including smoke alarms, clock radios, cuddly toys, air fresheners etc. there are two types of devices; Leave Behind and Wi-Fi.


Leave Behind record video, image and sound in the device. This means the abuser must go into the home to retrieve the device and the recordings.


Wi-Fi devices will record image, video, sound and live stream in real time to any device, anywhere in the world. This means the abuser can watch and listen live, at any time on a phone, tablet or computer. These devices will almost certainly be connected to the victim’s home Wi-Fi. To disable these devices, change the router/modem and Wi-Fi passwords.

Check list

• Factory reset your phone.
• Change home Wi-Fi and router passwords.
• Check for monitoring and tracking devices in your home, your bags and your car or bike.
• Change passwords and do not use the same password for everything.
• Check privacy settings on social networking sites and limit the amount of information you share.
• Notify all friends and family who may be used by your stalker to track and harass you.
• Screen shot evidence.
• Store all evidence in multiple locations including cloud and with trusted contacts.
• Be aware of geo-location and tagging on social networking sites and ensure that this is disabled on your phone and tablet.
• Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.
• Report stalking to website administrators.

Further support

FightCyberstalking.org Toolkit 
Palladin National Stalking Advocacy Service 
Get safe Online 
Revenge Porn Helpline 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 0808 802 0300 
Suzy Lamplugh Trust 
The Alice Ruggles Trust 

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