Emergency Steps to Take During a Severe Online Attack
When you are in the middle of a severe online attack it can be difficult to know how to protect yourself. Fortunately, there are things you can do to better protect your safety, your online data and your wellbeing.
Be safer by taking the following steps:
Think about your physical safety
If details about your location, such as your address, are being circulated online then you may be at risk.
Review and remove online content
Look at the content you have online and, where possible, take steps to remove data that can be used to locate you or contact you. Review photos and videos and take down any personal images that you think could be used to harass or intimidate you. See our guide to securing online data for more details.
Online abusers may try to hack your accounts. Take steps to secure your online accounts and the data within them by using long unique passwords, using a password manager, and turning on two-step verification. See our guide to secure accounts for more information.
Speak with others
If you are being targeted, it can be helpful to speak with others about the harassment you are facing. This can include family and friends as well as your editor and work colleagues. You may want to ask a trusted colleague or friend to monitor your accounts so you do not have to. See below for more resources.
Make your social media accounts private and go offline
If possible, and if you feel comfortable doing so, you may wish to make your social media accounts private and step away from the internet until the abuse has died down.
Share With Your Network
Learn more about what to do during a severe online attack with the following resources:
The Committee to Protect Journalists
A comprehensive review of what to do during a severe online attack. Available in a range of languages, including English, Spanish (español), French (français), and Portuguese (português).
Practical advice on how to talk to others about online harassment.
A detailed review on how to enlist help from supportive cyber communities.