Stalkerware applications found installed on large numbers of phones
- More than 58,000 users had spying software installed on their mobile phones.
- These programs are available mainly through websites and are not listed on mobile distribution platforms.
Stalkerware, a spying application installed to track a person’s activities has been discovered in numerous mobile devices. In an extensive report published by Kaspersky Labs, the security firm detailed how these risky applications were found in over 58,000 devices.
The report also indicated that some of the stalkerware collected user data and sent them to third-parties possibly linked with other money-making schemes.
The big picture
- Among the 58,847 users observed with stalkerware on their phones, 35,000 were not aware of such applications running on their devices until they installed Kaspersky’s mobile antivirus.
- All of these applications were not listed on the App Store or Google Play Store and were exclusively found on websites.
- The firm’s findings also showed that most of the stalkerware were either hidden from plain view or had masking features upon installation.
- Some applications had complete access to user data and were apparently sending them to unknown C2 servers.
- Developers of the stalkerware applications are reported to be unknown and had a false country of origin.
- The detected stalkerware applications include MobileTool, iSpyoo, Talklog, Reptilicus and many more.
Kaspersky’s researchers opine that the stalkerware providers each had their own style of promoting themselves in offering spyware services.
“What surprised us most in this research is that, apart from the programs being so easy to find online, they are extremely bold in their promotion and distribution. Forget Darkweb forums or underground markets, developers of these applications have built their own economic environment. They provide different offers for different needs, with tariffs ranging from half a dollar per day to $68/month,” the report suggested.
Despite being unethical, spyware applications are legitimately distributed and its providers are allowed legally to offer such services.