How To Protect Yourself From Cyberbullying And Cyberstalking—Expert Advice!

If you were thinking that cyberbullying/cyberstalking was just something that teens have to deal with, think again.

Woman sitting at a table with her computer
Photo by cottonbro studio

In today’s digital age, the threat of cyberbullying/cyberstalking has become an alarming and pervasive issue that continues to grow. With the increasing reliance on technology and social media, people find themselves more vulnerable than ever to online harassment and stalking. 

If you think that cyberbullying/cyberstalking was just something that teens have to deal with, think again. According to, the rise of cyberbullying is a serious issue, with more adults than ever before falling victim to hate and online harassment.   

Cyberstalking in both adults and children has been traced to severe emotional, psychological, and even physical consequences for its victims. Understanding how to prevent, address, and legally combat this form of harassment is crucial for safeguarding oneself in the digital realm.

To shed light on this pressing issue, we had the privilege of speaking with Star Kashman, J.D., the founder of Cyber Law Firm PLLC, a firm that specializes in Cybersecurity Law, Privacy Law, Artificial Intelligence Law, Technology Law, and more.

Growing up, Kashman not only watched her friends suffer at the fingers of cyberstalkers but also had minor instances of her own. “I became interested in technology as a young girl in the digital age,” she tells BrownStyle Magazine exclusively. “I saw how girls were becoming targets and victims of cybercrime— particularly cyberstalking and harassment doxxing— and I began developing a passion to protect others from these issues.”

Kashman claims that dealing with cyberstalking presents an array of challenges but the biggest issue, in her opinion, is the lack of understanding of what data and information are “private” and what is accessible online to everyone.  

“I am passionate about educating on techniques like search engine hacking because it no longer takes the experience of being a ‘hacker’ to obtain access to private and sensitive information online,” she explains. “Most victims don’t know that they can search for vulnerable web and security cameras on search engines like Google or Bing. They have no idea how to use search engines to find if their password is leaked, or if their address and phone number are displayed.”

Below, see how Kashman guides us through the tools needed to protect ourselves and seek justice in the face of cyberbullying/cyberstalking. 

Common Signs of Cyberstalking & Cyberbullying 

“There are times when you will feel that something is off. Trust your gut,” Kashman insists, reminding us it is not uncommon for someone you know to begin targeting you. “There was once a kid in my class who seemed pretty nice and normal. Suddenly when he felt rejected by me, he became a completely different person.” 

Other signs could include notifications that someone tried logging into your account, getting suspicious emails, or even seeing fake accounts try to contact you or view your content. 

woman typing on a laptop
Photo by Christina Morillo

“Stalkers tend to give themselves away, given they are obsessed with their target,” Kashman notes. “They sometimes want to be noticed, so they may contact you at first through their real account and then from a fake account.” 

Common Effects of Cyberstalking & Cyberbullying 

Being a victim of stalking and cyberstalking is frightening, and causes the victims immense pain. The victim may start to retreat from their social life, fearing the cyberbully or stalker could find them when they leave the house, etc. 

“Stress and anxiety are common and expected. Often the stress and anxiety can get so bad that it could make the victim physically ill,” Kashman explains. 

Protecting Yourself From Cyberstalkers & Cyberbullies

Kashman is a big proponent of the phrase “knowledge is key” when it comes to protecting yourself from cyberstalkers and cyberbullies. 

Want to stay safe on the internet? Kashman offered the following legal and ethical ways to protect yourself online.

Enable two-factor authentication. This prevents the stalker from breaking into your accounts and stealing sensitive photos, messages, etc. 

Woman sitting at a table with her computer
Photo by cottonbro studio

Learn to “Google Dork” yourself. In case you are unfamiliar with Google Dorking, it is a method that makes use of advanced search operators to locate content on the internet that’s not easily found using normal search queries. During this process, request that people search engines remove your sensitive data from their website. Often you can “opt-out” of displaying your information. “This is a very tedious process but is worth it,” Kashman reveals. 

Be private about your life online. “I didn’t post about attending law school until after graduation to prevent someone from trying to find where I may have been,” Kashman explains. 

When traveling, wait until after leaving the location to share photos. Make it hard to find you, and hard to access your sensitive information. 

Speak up if you have a cyberbully or cyberstalker. The only way to protect yourself is to seek help. It is scary but necessary. Inform your family so they can support you. If you have a stalker you go to school or work with, tell the staff. You do not have to be in this alone. 

Immediately gather all evidence. Keep record of any call, text, or ANYTHING they do to reach out to you. Take screenshots right away. Do not communicate through an app like Snapchat where the message goes away. Gather evidence right when it occurs and place it into a folder. Every time you report the harassment get a police report. 

“Someone who is stalking or bullying you may create fake phone numbers,” Kashman informs us. To find out if a phone number is fake, the law expert suggests using Google Dorking techniques. “I was able to prove that a number was fake by using Google Dorking, then using free IP tracking/phone number identification tools to find out what free number provider created the number.” 

This information is helpful when you start a court case because it allows the justice system to subpoena further information to use as evidence. 

If they contact you from a real number, you can trace the IP address to prove it is them and match that with their current address. 

Legal Ramifications

“One of my favorite (and least favorite) laws is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It outlaws obtaining access to information in an unauthorized manner or exceeding authorized access,” Kashman explains. “If you have a stalker obtain any of your personal information through hacking your account or putting any spyware on your devices, you can sue them under the CFAA.”

If you’re charged with the federal crime of stalking under Title 18 U.S.C. 2261A, you could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Support Networks for Victims of Cyberstalking and Cyberbullying

Overall, it is important to remember that it is never your fault if you are a victim of cyberstalking or cyberbullying. YOU are the victim. You did nothing to deserve it, and regardless of whether or not you knew to protect yourself, you still deserve to be safe and secure.

To learn more about Cyber Law Firm PLLC, visit their website.

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Heather Elitou is the Senior Managing Editor at BrownStyle Magazine, where her expertise has led to the publication's success. A devoted mother of three brilliant young women and a loving wife, she finds joy in nurturing her family. Beyond her professional and family life, Heather enjoys savoring the delights of a well-crafted cheese board. She is also known for her love of soulful conversations about living a soft life.