Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report Reveals 74% Indian Adults Who Have Been In A Romantic Relationship Admit To Stalking Their Current Or Former Partners Online

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India, 24 June 2021 – NortonLifeLock (NASDAQ: NLOK), a global leader in consumer Cyber Safety, today unveiled new findings from its 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report. 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[1], including 1,000 Indian adults, to assess consumers’ online habits and whether it diverges into cyber stalking. According to the report, 74% of Indian adults who have been in a romantic relationship admitted to “stalking” their current/former partner online without their knowledge or consent.

The most common forms of “stalking,” it was revealed, were reviewing the search history on their partner’s device (32%); checking text messages, phone calls, direct messages, emails or photos on their partner’s device (31%); and tracking their partner’s location through a location-sharing app (29%) – all without their partner’s knowledge or consent. Furthermore, 26% said that they used their knowledge of their partner’s passwords to access the latter’s devices and online accounts, while 25% 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% said they wanted to make sure they were safe physically and/or mentally; 36% said they wanted to know what their partner was doing; while 33% 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,” said Ritesh Chopra, Director Sales and Field Marketing, India & SAARC Countries, NortonLifeLock. “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.”

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

There’s limited awareness in India about stalkerware or creepware; only 32% are familiar with it, 35% have only heard the name, while 33% are unaware of it. However, 54% 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% under the age of 40) as compared to the older generation (41% above the age of 40).