Mumbai: NortonLifeLock (NASDAQ: NLOK), a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, today unveiled new findings from its 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report. According to the report, 74 per cent of Indian adults who have been in a romantic relationship admitted to “stalking” their current/former partner online without their knowledge or consent.

Conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release – Online Creeping surveyed over 10,000 adults 18+ across 10 countries, including 1,000 Indian adults, to assess consumers’ online habits and whether it diverges into cyber stalking.

The most common forms of “stalking,” it was revealed, were reviewing the search history on their partner’s device (32 per cent); checking text messages, phone calls, direct messages, emails or photos on their partner’s device (31 per cent); and tracking their partner’s location through a location-sharing app (29 per cent) – all without their partner’s knowledge or consent.

Furthermore, 26 per cent said that they used their knowledge of their partner’s passwords to access the latter’s devices and online accounts, while 25 per cent used an app to surreptitiously monitor their text messages, phone calls, direct messages, emails, or photos.

Among those who had stalked a current or former partner, 39 per cent said they wanted to make sure they were safe physically and/or mentally; 36 per cent said they wanted to know what their partner was doing; while 33 per cent claimed they took to online stalking when they found out that their partners were doing the same to them.

“For most people, checking up on someone online is not a crime. However, this behaviour becomes problematic when it becomes a pattern, wherein technology is used to track someone’s activities. The report suggests that almost half of Indian adults would be more likely to stalk their current/former partner online if they knew they wouldn’t get caught. It is therefore crucial for Indians to understand the difference between checking up and stalking someone.”

Ritesh Chopra
Director Sales and Field Marketing
India and SAARC Countries
NortonLifeLock

It is interesting to note that 52 per cent of Indian adults believe that it is harmless to stalk a current/former partner online; 59 per cent believe that online stalking is okay if it is to check on their partner’s physical or mental well-being; 53 per cent say that online stalking is justified if either or both partners have cheated or have been suspected of cheating; while 51 per cent say they don’t care about being stalked online as long as they are not stalked in person.

  • 59 per cent of Indian adults believe online stalking is okay if it to check on their partner’s physical safety or mental well-being
  • 46 per cent of Indian adults admit they are more likely to stalk a current/former partner online if they know they will not get caught

There’s limited awareness in India about stalkerware or creepware; only 32 per cent are familiar with it, 35 per cent have only heard the name, while 33 per cent are unaware of it.

However, 54 per cent of Indian adults who are currently in a romantic relationship believe that their partner is likely to download stalkerware/creepware on their device or have already done so. This belief is more pronounced amongst the younger generation (58 per cent under the age of 40) as compared to the older generation (41 per cent above the age of 40).

NortonLifeLock Inc. (NASDAQ: NLOK) is a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, protecting and empowering people to live their digital lives safely. We are the consumer’s trusted ally in an increasingly complex and connected world.

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Anup Satphale

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