Preventing cyber harassment in Pakistan

While internet offers various advantages in the modern era for its users, however, there also comes a time when this facility is misused. Since the development of internet, various cases have been reported where people were harassed online. Online or cyber harassment is when someone uses social media, emails, instant messaging, and websites to bully or harass an individual. You can be harassed through small messages, comments, offensive emails, or by someone posting a blog or a post about you on social media. Cyber harassment can include false accusations, defaming an individual, identity theft, vandalism, or embarrassing.

To educate people about harassment, a young activist Usman Awan from Pakistan has stepped in to work against sexual and cyber harassment in Pakistan. Usman Awan aims to work for the cultural, moral and religious values of Pakistan and also founded an anti-harassment campaign called “Stop Harassment Now.”

Secure Your Social Media Accounts:

Most of our information, pictures, and even our current location is available on the social media accounts. There are many people who do not know that our social media accounts are very vulnerable to hacking and can result into severe consequences like identity theft. There are many women who take their account lightly and do not protect it properly. This can result into easy hacking of their account and manipulation and theft of the data. On social media, women get harassed mostly on Facebook or on Instagram. These two are the most widely used platforms and hence the number of people who like harassing others will also be higher.

While the victim of harassment can be a male or a female, however, female members of our society are more prone to be affected by this heinous act. To make sure that your social media accounts, where your pictures and other information is present, stays safe from people, make sure you follow these two steps.

* Always enable two step verification to secure your account(s). For secondary verification use the phone number which is under your personal use.

* Use a password which is difficult and cannot be guessed easily. Don’t share your password with anyone. Always login from trusted devices and never login any of your accounts from public computers.

Strangers Can Be Dangerous

There have been various cases where accounts of people were hacked when they accessed a link sent by a random stranger. If in case you receive a message from anyone who asks you to open a certain link and login, you must never open it. These are fake pages created to hack into your accounts as soon as you enter your information or open it. Some links ask you to run a script on your laptop which can record the clicks on your keyboard and send information to the hacker from your laptop.

Never Share Personal Pictures and Videos

When in relationship, couples tend to record and take personal pictures. However, in case things do not work between them, those same data is used to blackmail the girl and also posted online. To keep yourself safe from any such incident, please do not share any intimate pictures or videos with anyone. Be it your husband or boyfriend.

The intention of this clause is not to make you doubt intentions of your close ones. It is important to keep yourself safe from any unfortunate incident and for that matter, you should know to keep certain stuff private.

Apart from sharing, you should also avoid keeping any such data in your personal mobile phone as well. In case of theft or loss, you will be a direct target to the thief and can be blackmailed very easily.

Collect Proof to Lodge a Complaint

If you are already a victim of cyber harassment, make sure you are keeping evidence to lodge a complaint against the offender. To keep the evidence and collect record, take screenshots of the messages you have received and keep them in a safe place. Show the collected data to someone trustworthy and then report it to relevant organizations like “National Response Centre For Cyber Crime” which is working against cyber harassment in Pakistan.

Learn the cyber security laws

There are various cyber security laws which protect the victim from the offender. Problem with us is that most of us are not aware of these laws. Every person, whether victim or not, should read all cyber harassment laws which tell everything about punishment of cyber harassment in details.

Keep Yourself Unreachable For Offenders

Various apps and phone manufacturing services also offer the user the facility of blocking unknown and annoying numbers. By blocking, you will not be disturbed by any offensive message or call.

The activist, Usman Awan, states that the first time when a stranger sends you an offensive message, you can either ignore it or add the number to your block list. However, keeping quiet in this matter is not a wise choice. Facebook also provides an option where you can remove message and add friend option from your profile, if you don’t want strangers to add you on the social media.


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