Anonymity gives the cyberstalker a definite advantage in that, without the target knowing, he could be around the corner, in the next cubicle at work, or in another state.
More complex forms of harassment include mail bombs, sending the target a devastating virus, or spamming the target with electronic junk mail.
Cyberstalking shares important characteristics with offline stalking.
Another recent incident demonstrates how the lack of law enforcement training and expertise can frustrate cyberstalking victims.
A woman complained to a local police agency that a man had posted information on the web claiming that her nine-year-old daughter was available for sex.
Knowing his or her victims are unable to identify the source of the harassment or threats makes the cyberstalker bolder, encouraging him or her to continue the harassment.
This makes many perpetrators more willing to continue pursuing the victim not only at work, but at home, with all the information in the world about the target.Even so, not all law enforcement agencies respond aggressively to allegations of online stalking, for a variety of reasons.Typical of other types of victims, the majority of cyberstalking victims do not report the incidents to law enforcement either because they feel that a criminal offense has not yet occurred, or because they feel that law enforcement will not take them seriously.In the first successful prosecution under California's new cyberstalking law, prosecutors in the Los Angeles district attorney's office obtained a guilty plea from a 50-year-old former security guard who used the Internet to solicit the rape of a woman who rejected his romantic advances.The suspect terrorized his 28-year-old victim by impersonating her in various Internet chat rooms and online bulletin boards where he posted, along with her telephone number and address, messages that she fantasized about being raped.With an electronic buffer between him and his victim, the cyberstalker feels more comfortable in engaging than he would physically confronting his victim.