A US-based Indian woman took to social media in an act of defiance, standing up to cyberbullying. Taruna Aswani is being lauded by scores of social media users, since writing a post on Facebook, taking on her cyber blackmailer.
Aswani informed her friends and family on Facebook that her Google cloud account had been allegedly hacked by "someone that claims to know me". She claimed that the hacker wrote her an email threatening to expose personal and sensitive information, including personal photos, to her family, friends and co-workers, unless she agreed to perform sexual acts.
Aswani said in her post, "I have in the last 24 hours received 2 emails from someone that claims to know me that has hacked into my google cloud back up. He has been threatening to release some private pictures and videos of me to my friends family and colleagues.
"As embarrassing as the videos may be (they were sent to my boyfriend at the time) I choose to stand up to this man. Instead of cowering down to his requests. I do this so that other women may take a lesson to stand up to bullies and low life's like this and may get the confidence to stand up as well in case he is known to us and is targeting all of us, but we're either too scared, ashamed or clueless in how to manage or handle such situations."
Aswani posted screenshots of the email sent to her by the hacker, a part of which read, "I have access to your all your friends/social media and family and co-workers (NMS healthcare and heritage inc) contacts that you have and I think some will be happy and some embarrassed to see it but if you have a thick skin then it shouldn't worry you."
At the time of writing, Aswani's post has been shared over 2,000 times and over 7,600 Facebook users have "reacted" to the post. Over 1,000 users have commented on the post, many of whom have praised Aswani for her courage in standing up to cyberbullying.
Aswani told IBTimes UK that she has been in contact with the deputy commissioner of police of the cyber crime branch of Mumbai, Sachin Patil, who took the IP addresses of the emails she received, with the intention of tracking down the hacker. She added that law enforcement in the US was also currently investigating the matter, but has not revealed any information yet, as the investigation is ongoing.
Aswani also said that since her post, she has had no further communication with the hacker.
"Going public was the best decision I made," Aswani said. "I've received hundreds of messages from girls all over the world, mainly Indian girls sharing similar stories and how they didn't have the courage to speak up. They're now drawing inspiration from my story to take action against the men that have victimized them. That's been the biggest accomplishment since I went public with my story.
"Despite the negative comments, the amount of support and love I've received through my story has left me spellbound. I didn't realize how many lives I would touch by just sharing my experience. And now that I have, I hope to continue to forever inspire and be there to support all the women out there who find it difficult to speak up."