Cyber Harassment

Cyber harassment is a kind of cyberattack where the attacker uses digital means to offend, attack, annoy, threaten and even abuse the victim.

Examples of cyber harassment

  • Cyberbullying: This refers to the constant attacking and threatening of a user on social media. It involves sharing sensitive content, spreading rumours, hurtful comments, etc. 
  • Doxxing: Here, the attacker acquires the victim’s private information and shares it online without their consent. The attacker intends to harass or open the victim up to physical harm, and oftentimes, this is the result. 
  • Trolling: A troll is an online harasser who posts offensive statements to anger the victim or provoke them into a response. 
  • Sexual harassment: This involves the sharing of unsolicited sexual content, including messages, pictures and videos. It can also involve the attacker demanding explicit photos from the victim or threatening to expose sensitive content of them.
  • Revenge porn: Here, the attacker shares sexually explicit photos or videos of the victim in a bid to shame them. It is quite common soon after a romantic relationship dissolves, which is why it is framed as revenge.
  • Swatting: In this version, the attackers make a report to the police, claiming the target is committing a serious crime, even though this is false. The police do not know this though, and will respond to the report as to any other legitimate reports and dispatch armed personnel to the target’s address. Swatting poses a real threat to life and can result in the death of the target or their family member. 

How you can stop cyber harassment

  • If you notice any inappropriate posts, be sure to report them through the platform’s help centre. 
  • Keep records of any form of harassment so it can serve as evidence at a later date.
  • Reduce the quantity and quality of personal information you post online. 
  • You can go a step further and report the attackers to the authorities.
  • Surround yourself with a healthy support group, whether offline or online — preferably both.