Technology ethics professor Lambèr Royakkers defines cyberstalking as perpetrated by someone without a current relationship with the victim.
About the abusive effects of cyberstalking, he writes that: [Stalking] is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere.
They may also use the Internet to research and compile personal information about the victim, to use in order to harass him or her.
Profiling of stalkers shows that almost always they stalk someone they know or, via delusion, think they know, as is the case with stalkers of celebrities or public persons in which the stalkers feel they know the celebrity even though the celebrity does not know them.
Kowalksi states that much of this stems from the anonymity of the perpetrators, which is a common feature of cyberstalking as well.
According to a study by Kowalksi, of 3,700 bullied middle-school students, a quarter had been subjected to a form of harassment online.
It is a form of domestic violence, and experts say its purpose is to control the victim in order to encourage social isolation and create dependency.
Harassers may send repeated insulting or threatening e-mails to their victims, monitor or disrupt their victims' e-mail use, and use the victim's account to send e-mails to others posing as the victim or to purchase goods or services the victim does not want.
It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten, embarrass or harass.
They patrol Web sites looking for an opportunity to take advantage of people." It is blamed for limiting victims' activities online or driving them offline entirely, thereby impeding their participation in online life and undermining their autonomy, dignity, identity, and opportunities.
Cyberstalking of intimate partners is the online harassment of a current or former romantic partner.
A conviction can result in a restraining order, probation, or criminal penalties against the assailant, including jail.
There have been a number of attempts by experts and legislators to define cyberstalking.