Internet Trolls, Online Deception & iPredator
Visit iPredator Inc.’s “Cyber Harassment” page to review or download, at no cost, information on cyber harassment, cyber abuse, defamation and trolls. If preferring not to visit the iPredator parent site, below are definitions for Cyber Harassment, Online Deception, iPredator, iPredator Bridge & Internet Trolls.
“Cyberstealth is defined as a method and/or strategy by which a child, adult, group or nation uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they troll, stalk and attack their target(s). To ensure successful anonymity, Cyberstealth employs Online Deception, Social Engineering and Disinformation to distract and confuse their target(s). Given the Internet inherently affords everyone anonymity, Cyberstealth used by iPredators (aka, Online Assailants) range from negligible to highly complex and multi-faceted.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2014)
Cyber Harassment:Cyber Harassment is defined as the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to harass, control, manipulate or habitually disparage a child, adult, business or group without a credible or implied threat of harm. Unlike physical harassment requiring physical contact, Cyber Harassment occurs in cyberspace using ICT and is verbal, emotional or social abuse of a person based on their race, gender, religion, socio-economic status, physical attributes, sexual orientation or beliefs. Cyber Harassment is a tactic used by an ICT assailant that may or may not be rooted in an attempt to control, dominate or manipulate their target.
Although Cyber Harassment pertains to unrelenting taunting and disparaging information directed at a child, adult, public figure, group or business using ICT, the motivations of the assailant may be rooted in their own pathological drives and motivations. Cyber Harassment differs from cyberstalking in that it is generally does not involve a credible or implied physical threat. Harassment does not include a constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose. In a rapidly expanding digital world, an ICT user’s privacy and reputation becomes more vulnerable to corruption. As anonymity via the Internet becomes more feasible, Cyber Harassment continues to flourish. Cyber Harassment is the adult form of cyberbullying to a minor.
Internet Troll: An Internet Troll is a colloquial expression used to define an online user who uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to purposely and actively provoke, defame, anger, tease, flame, or incite other online users. More often than not, the Internet Troll does not know the target recipient(s) of their vitriolic statements and behaviors. Internet Trolls regularly appear in all forms of online mediums ranging from online video gaming gatherings to chatroom and forum discussions. When the Internet Troll’s inflammatory statements and actions do not include a direct or implied physical threat to the target(s), their behavior is categorizes as cyber harassment. If the Troll’s verbal assaults include direct or implied physical threats to their target(s), their actions are then defined as cyberstalking.
The motivations for an Internet Troll’s provocative, and often times, bizarre behaviors are numerous. Despite the variations in modus operandi, the vast majority of Trolls are seeking attention, recognition, stimulation pseudo-notoriety and retribution for some unknown perceived injustice. Although there is no hard evidence or clinical research validating the psychology of the Internet Troll, it is commonly believed that the “Veil of Anonymity” afforded to every online user inspires some to engage in egregious behaviors. Those who have begun to investigate the etiology of the Troll suggest that the anonymity of the internet contributes to what has been called, disinhibition effect. It has been postulated that internet anonymity leads some to behave in asocial ways coupled with a lack of guilt or remorse for the harm they cause not being in the target’s physical presence or even knowing their identity.
iPredator: A person, group or nation who, directly or indirectly, engages in exploitation, victimization, coercion, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology [ICT]. iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age or gender and are not bound by economic status, race, religion or national heritage. iPredator is a global term used to distinguish anyone who engages in criminal, coercive, deviant or abusive behaviors using ICT. Central to the construct is the premise that Information Age criminals, deviants and the violently disturbed are psychopathological classifications new to humanity.
Whether the offender is a cyberbully, cyberstalker, cyber harasser, internet troll, cybercriminal, online sexual predator, cyber terrorist, online child pornography consumer/distributor or engaged in internet defamation or nefarious cyber deception, they fall within the scope of iPredator. The three criteria used to define an iPredator include:
- A self-awareness of causing harm to others, directly or indirectly, using ICT.
- The usage of ICT to obtain, tamper with, exchange and deliver harmful information
- A general understanding of Cyberstealth used to engage in criminal or deviant activities or to profile, identify, locate, stalk and engage a target.
Unlike human predators prior to the Information Age, iPredators rely on the multitude of benefits offered by Information and Communications Technology [ICT]. These assistances include exchange of information over long distances, rapidity of information exchanged and the seemingly infinite access to data available. Malevolent in intent, iPredators rely on their capacity to deceive others using ICT in the abstract and artificial electronic universe known as cyberspace. Therefore, as the internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity, if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable.
Cyberstealth, a sub-tenet of iPredator, is a covert method by which iPredators attempt to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they engage in ICT activities planning their next assault, investigating innovative surveillance technologies or researching the social profiles of their next target. Concurrent with the concept of Cyberstealth is iPredator Victim Intuition [IVI]. An iPredator’s IVI is their aptitude to sense a target’s ODDOR [Offline Distress Dictates Online Response], online & offline vulnerabilities, psychological weaknesses, technological limitations, increasing their success of a cyber-attack with minimal ramifications.
iPredator Bridge: iPredator Bridge is a theoretical tenet of iPredator representing the psychological, perceptual & behavioral trajectory of people who use Information and Communications Technology [ICT] to harm others motivate by self-righteousness, moral turpitude, religious/political/philosophical convictions and pro-social perceptual distortions. Not initially driven by criminal, malevolent or deviant endeavors, iPredator Bridge seeks to define why some people approach the nefarious and malevolent realm of iPredator, decide to proceed, and then continue along a trajectory where their cognitive, affective, behavioral and perceptual actions harm others or societies. Similar to the iPredator, they are motivated by personal convictions, greed, power, control, narcissism or psychopathology. Different from the iPredator, they have yet to engage in criminal/deviant activities using ICT or use complex perceptual distortions to validate the harm they cause. iPredator Bridge investigates why some people draw near to this realm and either proceed in their maladaptive trajectory or cease and desist.
Hidden in cyberspace, and through ICT, they contemplate the benefits and detriments, proceed, and then continue a path where their cognitive and perceptual processes are focused upon directly or indirectly harming others. For those who cross this proverbial bridge, they enter a world where their choices are increasingly governed by criminal, deviant, immoral and maladaptive processes.
Although it is assumed all humanity, has residing deep in their psyche, the potential & Dark Psychology for behaving in harmful and malevolent ways they rarely or never activate, ICT and cyberspace offers a direct connection and psychological route to the dark side. Just as ICT and cyberspace is incredibly pro-social and beneficial to humanity, these same technological advancements can lead humanity to diabolical and sinister endeavors.
iPredator Bridge is a symbolic representation of the approach, route and initial crossing into the realm of the iPredator. In a rudimentary and abstract way, it is posited that cyberspace, ICT and all future technological advancements, related to information technology, is an extension of the mind and the instinctual drives of the collective brain to replicate itself outside a human organism. Related to this postulate are the theoretical tenets of Carl Jung [1875-1961] and his construct of the Collective Unconscious.
“The Information Age technocentric concept of being “connected” is actually a paradox of disconnection causing us to lose our instinctual drives for social cohesion, allegiance and selflessness. As our dependency upon Information and Communications Technology [ICT] grows, spreading throughout our collective human consciousness, the less we care for our neighbors and the more we delude ourselves into thinking that online connections are far more valuable than realty based relationships.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2014)
Cyberstealth: Cyberstealth is a concept formulated along with iPredator and is a term used to define a method and/or strategy by which iPredators use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) , if they so choose, to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they troll and stalk a target. Cyberstealth is a methodology entrenched in Information Age Deception or also called online deception. Given the Internet inherently affords everyone anonymity, Cyberstealth used by iPredators range from negligible to highly complex and multi-faceted. The rationale for using “stealth” in the suffix of this term, serves to remind ICT users the primary intent fueling iPredators. This intent is to hide their identity by designing false online profiles, identities, covert tactics and methods to ensure their identities remain concealed reducing their probability of identification, apprehension and punishment.
Unlike classic deception used by traditional criminals and deviants, Online Deception completely relies on the anonymity and “veil of invisibility” available to all ICT users. The primary difference between Information Age Deception and Cyberstealth are the activities iPredators and ICT users engage in. In this writer’s construct, Cyberstealth is reserved for iPredators who actively plan a strategy that have criminal, deviant and harmful implications to targeted victims. Information Age Deception includes all forms of Cyberstealth, but also includes deceptive practices that do not have elements of crime, defiance or harm against others.
Online Deception, [aka, Cyberstealth, Disinformation]: Unlike classic deception used by traditional criminals and deviants, Disinformation [aka, Online Deception, Cyberstealth] completely relies on the anonymity and “veil of invisibility” available to all ICT users. The primary difference between Disinformation and Cyberstealth are the activities iPredators and ICT users engage in. In this writer’s construct, Cyberstealth is reserved for iPredators who actively plan a strategy that have criminal, deviant and harmful implications to targeted victims. Disinformation includes all forms of Cyberstealth, but also includes deceptive practices that do not have elements of crime, defiance or harm against others. Disinformation does not require an ICT user to engage in nefarious, deviant or malevolent activities. Although all forms of deception are problematic, Disinformation can be as subtle of what many call a “white lie.”
Another difference is when iPredators use Cyberstealth to hide their identity from victims. In general, iPredators use Cyberstealth when their actions involve illegal activities and hiding their identity is paramount to reduce being identified, apprehended and prosecuted. ICT users who evaluate their odds of being identified, develop tactics and strategies to minimize identification are motivated by criminal, deviant & harmful causes are iPredators using Cyberstealth.
“Whether used to influence the masses or in cyberspace to persuade others into divulging confidential or sensitive information, social engineering requires psychological manipulation to control a person, group or nation. In the Information Age, children can be just as effective at social engineering as adults and cause driven groups.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2014)
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist and cyber criminology consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Adler University in 1994. In 2010, Dr. Nuccitelli authored the dark side of cyberspace concept known as “iPredator.” In November 2011, he established iPredator Inc., offering educational, investigative, and advisory services involving criminal psychology, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, online predators, internet trolls, the dark side of cyberspace and internet safety. Dr. Nuccitelli has worked in the mental health field over the last thirty-plus years and has volunteered his time helping cyber-attacked victims since 2010. His goal is to reduce victimization, theft, and disparagement from iPredators.
In addition to aiding citizens & disseminating educational content, Dr. Nuccitelli’s mission is to initiate a sustained national educational and awareness internet safety campaign with the help of private, state, and federal agencies. He is always available, at no cost, to interact with online users, professionals, and the media. To invite Dr. Nuccitelli to conduct training, media engagements, educational services, or consultation, please call him at (347) 871-2416 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded by Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D., iPredator Inc. is a NYC Internet Safety Company founded to offer educational and advisory products and services to online users and organizations on cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cybercrime, internet defamation and online sexual predation. iPredator Inc.’s goal is to reduce victimization, theft, and disparagement from online perpetrators.
New York City, New York