Security areas to prioritise
Take the Privacy Test by Smart Privacy.
You will find many possible risks and strategies in Safety and security strategies of this guide but your own personal analysis is invaluable. Only YOU know what devices you use, what apps and services you access, how you use them and what you use them for. All this additional context to your situation must be taken into account to choose strategies to protect yourself.
These are our recommendations and ultimately the choice is yours. Many of the recommended strategies may require a change in behaviour or some level of inconvenience, so you should choose the strategy and recommendations that best suit your situation.
Devices and apps
Do you trust the devices, applications and networks you use?
Your devices (such as mobile phone or laptop) will likely be tracking your location, your data and your behaviour. This information will typically be shared with service providers to enhance the services you use, but can be accessed maliciously by someone who has hacked your device, your connections or the services you are accessing.
- Your device may be running malware/spyware which records your usage and shares this with a malicious third-party
- Your connections may be insecure, allowing network traffic to be monitored for private information
- The applications and services you use may be insecure and may have been compromised, giving access to your credentials or other information
In the services you use, what personal data is stored or shared by private businesses or other organisations?
This covers all your personal information that is in the possession of private companies, government agencies, charities, clubs and online networks. This could include online shopping websites, like Amazon and eBay, or utilities websites like your internet or energy provider.
To learn more about how your data is being tracked check: Me and My Shadow.
The law varies in every country but even when organisations are legally obliged to protect your personal data, poor security measures may mean that this information can be leaked.
For more information, visit the "How Do I Know If My Data Has Been Leaked” section below.
Your email account
Your email account is very likely at the centre of everything you do online. Accounts you create on other websites require your email address, either directly when setting up the account or indirectly if using Facebook, Google or Twitter to authorise access - Facebook, Google and Twitter also have your email address. If your email account is compromised this puts all of your other accounts and data at risk.
Spyware - Electronic eavesdropping
Your phone can be set to record and transmit any sounds within the range of its microphone without your knowledge. Some phones can be switched on remotely and brought into action in this way, even when they look as though they are switched off.
Other security considerations
Keep in mind: Your stalker can potentially monitor the devices of anyone they’ve come in contact with, including your children or anyone that has stayed in the same house.
Physical access to your devices and your cards (credit, debit, transport) allows the abuser to:
- locate you physically
- extract your personal information
- manipulate your finances or information about your financial situation.
Fraudulent use of your bank account can immobilise you or be used to track your location and your actions (e.g. when you pay with a debit or credit card for petrol or at a local supermarket.)
The same applies to important items that you highly relied on (eg. automobile, scooter for work) and that require maintenance from somebody other than you.
Using your credit or debit card, servicing your car or other device MAY put you at additional risk if your abuser has access to them, knows their details, or knows where you get your devices checked. Therefore, please be vigilant if you know this is the case!
Read on for advice on how to protect yourself from stalking even if your devices or cards put you at risk.