Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, February 15, 2018


High-tech intruders

Access to your life a mouse click away
By Dave Breakenridge -- Sun Media

CALGARY -- With the advent of high-technology, stalking has become a greater threat than ever before. In our five-part series, the Sun Media's Dave Breakenridge looks at the scourge of stalking in the 21st Century.

It used to be stalkers would have to make personal efforts to get their targets' attention, leaving notes or keeping watch outside their homes.

But now, stalkers are getting their threats right into where their victims live -- volleys of love or hate, or both -- landing squarely and repeatedly in e-mail inboxes, websites, blogs about the victims & their families or instant message windows.

Two-thirds of Canadian homes have a computer, and nearly that many have at least one person using the Internet from work, home or school, making the computer an easy-to-access tool of terror.

These cases where a computer is used to torment are becoming more common, said Det. Brad Martin of the Calgary Police Service technological crimes unit.

"It now happens on a pretty regular basis where the Internet is used to harass, embarrass or make life difficult for people," he said.

"The most common stuff we see is e-mail, instant messages to cell phones, websites hosted with private pictures or personal information and registration at seedy websites in that person's name."

As Canada becomes more plugged in, and computers are used more frequently for everything from keeping in touch to balancing the family books, increased computer use by all kinds of crooks is a natural evolution.

In the case of stalking, Martin said, that includes software originally designed as a safety tool for parents.

Things like spyware marketed for parents to monitor a child's computer use, can be used by a stalker to access information which could further the harassment.

"When they're used, the way they're designed to be used they have an important role in the use of computers," Martin said.

"But the dark side is always there and people are going to use good stuff for bad things."

Despite the perceived anonymity of the computer, Martin said cyberstalkers can be caught.

"The technology is there that whoever you are, your communication can be traced back to the sending computer," Martin said, adding the onus in most cyber-cases rests with the victim.

Technology has become so interwoven with criminality, Martin said his unit could have double its four current members and still have an overflowing case load -- adding half of his cases involve child pornography.

Because they are the target of the communication, victims need to keep as much of it as they can to help build a strong case.

"When you're getting harassed with e-mails, don't reply, and save the e-mails -- if you reply you increase the problem and it sort of encourages the activity to continue," Martin said, adding if the behaviour continues, the police should be contacted. Saving the suspect e-mails is important because it gives the police evidence to work with, Martin said.

He also said Internet service providers are, for the most part, co-operative with law enforcement, some more than others.

While e-mail may be the most common electronic tool for stalkers, Edmonton-based Crown prosecutor Steven Bilodeau -- who specializes in cybercrime -- said there are myriad electronic means for a stalker to harass and torment his victim.

"Cyberstalking can take on whole other aspects ... it can be things like hijacking someone's e-mail password or going into a sex forum pretending to be that person," he said.

Calgary police Det. Gordon Robertson said he's worked a number of cases where a computer was used as part of a pattern of controlling and intimidating behaviour.

One case sticks out in his mind as being particularly frightening for the victim.

Roughly a year after his marriage dissolved, a man went to his ex-wife's house while she was asleep and told his son he'd come over to get something he left at the house.

While there, he installed an insidious trojan program -- used to take remote control of the computer -- on his ex's PC.

The woman then started getting e-mails from her former hubby asking about the new guy she's been seeing -- with quotes lifted right from messages she'd sent friends.

"He'd been monitoring her e-mails and computer activity," Robertson said.

Whether it be data storage, communication, hacking, identity theft, or using the Internet to exploit children, Martin said the misuse of technology is just a natural, but unfortunate, evolution.

"The way that criminality is going is crooks are switched onto technology now
and they are using these communication devices more," Martin said.

"They know what's going on and they're not encumbered by the cost of things because they take the profit from their crimes and they invest it in that cost."

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shared by Barbara at 12:34 AM



Thank you. One of the things I love about this website is that it many times shines a light into the nooks and crannies of evil. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" (God does.) The internet has given evil a new vehicle to travel in but it's all really the same thing. Sin. Churching it up, denying that it exists, spray painting a piece of poop and saying it is now "art" doesn't change anything.

Have you noticed that with all this instant information that we have via the internet, we are probably the most brain worn-out generation and decadence seems to have reached new heights?

Let's see what wise old King Solomon had to say about sin in Ecclesiastes 1:9 "there is nothing new under the sun." And therefore, how are we supposed to live our lives? Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. 13Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:Fear God and keep his commandments,for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

We were blessed to get hacked a few years ago. It was a very good hacker, ahead of his time really although others have caught up with him. I've learned many things about the internet since then, the biggest is that we can live without it. Can you believe it? But it's true. This guy was so good he hacked our cable, digital phone line, a government computer on and on and all the while everyone was telling me that it was impossible and that I was crazy. Nope. Just blessed. Why blessed? Because now I can share it with you and YOU may be helped because of it.

Do you KNOW you have a virus on your computer and although experts have looked at it and said no, you know that you do? Check out "boot sector" virus and "bios" virus. Look up "Trojan horse (virus) suspected of contributing to 2008 Madrid aircrash" or how the FBI's website was hacked into recently as a joke by a hacker group. Big yawn around our house. We've KNOWN this. How did we get it you ask? A myspace account. Another student in my class. So simple.

Another thing to keep in mind? Anything that plugs into your computer and has memory storage capability can be infected so he could control our cell phones, ipods etc. Amazing really but yet another form of rape. We got rid of all it for awhile. Quite frankly, it is so peaceful without all these things. We did end up getting most back, but we are no longer dependent on them. (Our jobs don't require them, but I realize many jobs do.) This person didn't steal anything, just liked to watch us while were on-line. I can't sum this up and tell you that it had a big fat happy ending as we never did get rid of it while we lived in that house. (Yes, we also got many new modems, didn't matter, this guy was good.) So, IF you can live without the internet, and haven't already been infected, do it! We used the library for checking email and printing.

1:23 PM  

My stalker thinks he knows all about me, but I now access the internet at a friend's house, my brother's house and the library. It makes me laugh out loud that he still thinks he has control over my actions. He's tried to stop me from enjoying my life, but it isn't working any more. The best revenge is not giving a sh**, and I don't. He hates that.


8:03 PM  

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