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The Tools and Mindset of Cyber Stalkers

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This chapter shares not only the tools of cyber criminals, but in the case of cyber stalkers, it explains how they think.
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Toni emerged from her hairdressing appointment to find her ex-boyfriend, Frank, a violent young man who once put her in the emergency room with a broken rib, sitting across the street on a bench. Walking quickly to her car, Toni, hands shaking, fumbled to find the release lock. Once inside, she locked all the doors and sped off. This was the fourth time in the last week that Frank had found out where she was going. She headed toward her friend Claire's house, checking in the rearview mirror the whole way to see if she spotted Frank's car. She deliberately made several wrong turns and circled the block three times to ensure no one was following her. Two hours later and feeling much better from her visit with her friend, Toni stepped out of Claire's house only to find Frank sitting across the street again.

How did Frank always know where Toni was? Just prior to their breakup, Frank had installed a small receiver inside Toni's car that he had purchased on the Internet for $500 (see Figure 1.1). This GPS Snitch device is no bigger than a set of keys and can be hidden in just about anything—a bag, a car—to give a stalker instantaneous knowledge of someone's whereabouts. It runs on batteries but can be hard-wired into a vehicle to eliminate the need for batteries. It was hidden behind the dashboard. The receiver, which was hard-wired into the vehicle, was feeding Toni's whereabouts to Frank 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All Frank had to do was dial up his cell phone or access a computer to find out exactly where Toni's car was (see Figure 1.2). The map overlay shows the path of a vehicle equipped with GPS Snitch. The path and location can be retrieved via an Internet browser or a web-enabled cell phone. If the cell phone is not web-enabled (meaning it cannot display an Internet page), the location can be sent via text message ("123 Main Street @ 10:05AM") at regular intervals.

Figure 1.1

(Courtesy Max Borges Agency)

Figure 1.1 GPS Snitch device

Figure 1.2

(Courtesy Max Borges Agency)

Figure 1.2 Map overlay that shows the path of a vehicle equipped with GPS Snitch

High-Tech Stalkers

Many people are familiar with the term stalking, but few understand the concept of cyber stalking, which is stalking with a technology component to it. Whether someone is stalking via the Internet or stalking using the many tech tools available for purchase for tracking and snooping on another person, it is cyber stalking.

  • Many stalkers consider finding and tracking someone a personal challenge, a way of proving that they are smarter than their target.

Many stalkers consider finding and tracking someone a personal challenge, a way of proving that they are smarter than their target. Other times, stalkers' efforts are aimed at trying to upset and provoke their victims by constantly reminding them of their presence. Combine that warped mentality with a little technical knowledge and it's like leaving a car unlocked with the keys in the ignition. Unfortunately, many people (both men and women) lack the knowledge to understand how someone is tracking them.

In this book, we provide numerous examples of cases from both the media and our own experiences in law enforcement with one goal in mind—to make you aware of all the dangers of cyber crime. The more you know, the better your chances are of never becoming a victim.

We not only want to share the tools of cyber criminals, but in the case of cyber stalkers, we explain how they think. We'll put you inside the head of someone who derives devious pleasure in proving he is smarter than his victim and controlling his victim.

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