Definition of Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking refers to the act of persistently harassing, threatening, or monitoring someone through digital means, such as online communications and social media. It often involves unwanted attention, invasion of privacy, and can lead to emotional distress for the victim. Cyberstalking can take various forms, including constant messaging, tracking someone’s online activity, or gathering personal information to intimidate or manipulate the person being targeted.


The phonetic transcription of “Cyberstalking” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be: /ˈsaɪbərˌstɔːkɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Cyberstalking refers to the use of electronic communication channels such as the internet and social media to harass, frighten, and intimidate an individual.
  2. Common cyberstalking behaviors include constantly sending unwanted messages, personally attacking the victim through online platforms, monitoring their online activities, and even manipulating their personal information.
  3. Prevention measures include safeguarding personal information, customizing privacy settings on social media, documenting evidence of cyberstalking, and reporting abusive behavior to law enforcement and/or online platform administrators.

Importance of Cyberstalking

The technology term: Cyberstalking is important because it addresses a growing concern in today’s increasingly digital world – the deliberate and persistent use of electronic communication tools to threaten, harass, or intimidate victims.

As dependence on the internet and digital platforms grow, so do the opportunities for individuals to misuse the technology to stalk, monitor, and control other people.

Cyberstalking can have severe psychological, emotional, and even physical consequences for victims.

By acknowledging and understanding the term, we emphasize the necessity to raise awareness, implement protective measures, and encourage legal actions against these activities to create a safer online environment and protect the well-being of individuals.


Cyberstalking is a pervasive form of online harassment in which a malicious individual repeatedly and consistently monitors, harasses, follows, or interferes with the personal and professional activities of another individual on the internet. The purpose of cyberstalking is to intimidate, threaten, or manipulate the target and exert control over their lives, causing them psychological distress and providing the stalker with a sense of power.

Cyberstalkers employ various strategies, including monitoring social media, sending hostile messages, spreading false information, and even stealing personal data to achieve their objectives. The ultimate aim is to make the target feel vulnerable, exposed, and powerless, leading to feelings of isolation and fear.

These harmful activities carried out by cyberstalkers not only disrupt the daily lives of the victims but can also escalate to severe consequences such as physical harm, economic devastation, and even legal ramifications. It is vital for individuals to be aware of strategies to protect themselves from cyberstalking, such as maintaining secure online privacy policies, identifying and reporting suspicious behavior, and utilizing available online resources.

While cyberstalking may seem overwhelming and unstoppable, early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in preventing the escalation of the victimization and holding the perpetrators accountable. Governments and internet companies worldwide are striving to combat cyberstalking through legislation and advanced technology to create a safer online environment for all users.

Examples of Cyberstalking

The case of Amit Budhiraja and Rinku Suri (2009): In this cyberstalking case from India, Amit Budhiraja, a software engineer, discovered that his wife Rinku Suri was engaged in an online relationship with a former classmate. Amit began monitoring and tracking Rinku’s online conversations and activities without her consent. After confronting Rinku about her online relationship, a heated argument ensued, resulting in Amit murdering his wife and subsequently taking his own life.

The case of Ryan S. Lin (2017): Ryan S. Lin, a 25-year-old software engineer from Massachusetts, was convicted of cyberstalking and harassing his former housemate, a 24-year-old woman. He hacked into her online accounts, including email and social media, and stole private information like photographs and personal journal entries. Lin used this information to harass the victim, her friends, and her family. He also created false online profiles to share these private materials with the victim’s coworkers and prospective employers. In 2018, Lin was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

The case of Kassandra Cruz (2015): Kassandra Cruz, a 23-year-old woman from Florida, created a fake Facebook account to pose as her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. She used this account to send threatening messages to herself, claiming that there were plots to kidnap, assault, and kill her, apparently in an attempt to get her ex-boyfriend to intervene on her behalf. The police investigated the case and quickly determined that the messages were actually sent by Cruz herself. She was convicted of cyberstalking and sentenced to probation and community service.

FAQ: Cyberstalking

1. What is cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking refers to the persistent harassment, intimidation, or tracking of an individual using digital tools and online platforms. Cyberstalkers may obtain and utilize personal information, send threatening messages, or engage in other malicious activities against their victims.

2. How does cyberstalking differ from traditional stalking?

While both involve unwanted attention and harassment, cyberstalking takes place within the digital realm. Cyberstalkers exploit web-based resources, social media profiles, and other digital communication channels to monitor and prey upon their victims. Traditional stalking, on the other hand, involves physical stalking and direct contact with the victim.

3. What are the implications of cyberstalking for victims?

Cyberstalking may result in severe psychological, emotional, and even financial repercussions for the victim. They may experience fear, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and sometimes even relocation or job loss. Furthermore, cyberstalking can escalate into physical violence or additional unlawful activities against the victim.

4. How can victims protect themselves from cyberstalking?

To safeguard against cyberstalking, it’s crucial to practice good online security habits. Actions such as regularly updating passwords, enabling privacy settings, avoiding sharing too much personal information, being cautious about friend requests and connections, and reporting any suspicious activities to law enforcement can help keep individuals safe online.

5. What legal actions can be taken against cyberstalkers?

Many countries and states have enacted specific laws to address cyberstalking, bringing offenders to justice. Victims of cyberstalking should document the ongoing harassment, report all incidents to law enforcement agencies, and acquire legal assistance if necessary. By prosecuting cyberstalkers, victims can seek legal remedies like restraining orders or criminal convictions.

Related Technology Terms

  • Online Harassment
  • Internet Privacy
  • Digital Footprint
  • Cyberbullying
  • Social Media Tracking

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents