One of the most common and worst invasions of privacy is being monitored. Abusers have a need to put their victims down as well as control them. One of the ways an abuser will feel in control is by monitoring and keeping tabs on your use of technology. By using technology, they will control your phone and computer by installing spyware. Spyware is software that is installed in a victim’s devices without their knowledge or consent and gathers various information on the user.
How can you tell someone is keeping tabs on you?
There is no sure-fire way of telling is someone is spying on you. There are however some signs that you can use to tell if you are being spied on:
- If your gadgets have ever been confiscated by your abuser, then returned suddenly
- Your device behaves in a funny manner
- Your abuser restricts your device use to one particular device
- Your abuser is privy to information you have not shared
- You get warning messages about an attempt to gain access to your social media or bank accounts
If you do not live under the same roof with your abuser, it may be hard to prove harassment. You must do a few things to protect yourself in this situation. Here is a guide to survivors of domestic violence:
Encrypt all data
For any communication, always ensure you encrypt all data by choosing communication methods that are encrypted. This means that instead of sending text messages, choose to send messages over Viber, Whatsapp or Telegram as their encryption is hard to crack.
Safely store your data to the cloud
If you can trust your device, meaning your abuser has no access to it in any way, save all your data to the cloud. There are many online storage services you can sign up to such as Dropbox. Even if your abuser takes away your device, your data will be safe.
Use two-factor authentication
If you want to be sure that no one else has access to your data saved in the cloud, ensure that no one else has access to your email account, or the password. If you can trust your device, and you are sure your abuser has no access to it, ensure you have a two –factor authentication will ensure no one can access your mail. This means before gaining access, you have to authenticate the password with extra information such as a secret question that only you know the answer to.
Use a secret USB flash drive
If your device is not safe, consider buying a USB flash drive. Store all your data in this drive and keep it a secret by hiding it somewhere you are sure it will stay safe.
Secure your social media accounts
As with your email account, you must ensure your social media accounts are safe. The two-factor authentication policy comes in handy here by ensuring your email used for sign-up and login is secure.
Your abuser might try to use your social media presence to keep tabs on your activities. Ensure the location in your apps is turned off so that you avoid giving away your location. Set your account to private and block your abuser as well. You have to be careful about sharing information on your social media such as location, or ID documents.
Do not share ride apps
When you have to get a ride from an app such as Uber, as the app makes your ride history data available and leaves a trail if you paid using your credit card. It is much safer if you can get e ride from someone, or use public means, and pay cash to avoid a trail that your abuser may use to their advantage.
Abuse is wrong on all levels but that does not mean it does not happen. The first step to getting out of an abusive situation is to accept it and then work your way out. Technology can be destructive in all its forms, and the inverse is also true, it can be very helpful. The same technology your abuser uses against you, you can use it to protect yourself!