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Uncovering the Rising Evil of Stalkerware

Uncovering the Rising Evil of Stalkerware
  • This year has seen a rise in the use of stalkerware deployed on victim’s devices to abuse the privacy of individuals.
  • Countries, where stalkerware was predominantly observed, include Russia, the United States, India, and Brazil.

What is stalkerware?

Surveillance software that lets users spy on other people is called stalkerware.

  • It can secretly monitor the target’s location, messages, and call details among other things.
  • When installed on the target’s device, stalkerware can provide a wide range of personal information without consent. Some of them have been observed to have voice and video recording capabilities.
  • Using stalkerware can lead to harassment and infringement on the privacy of the targeted individuals

An analysis by Kaspersky has revealed that the use of stalkerware has risen by 35% as compared to last year.

Stalkerware disguised as legitimate software

‘Monitor.AndroidOS.MobileTracker.a’, ‘Monitor.AndroidOS.Cerberus.a’, and ‘Monitor.AndroidOS.Nidb.a’, were observed to be the most commonly used stalkerware in 2019.

  • Monitor.AndroidOS.MobileTracker.a is available as the Mobile Tracker Free application. This application is a tool to track employee and children activities.
  • The Monitor.AndroidOS.Cerberus.a stalkerware is positioned as Cerberus, an anti-theft application.
  • Certain representatives of the Monitor.AndroidOS.Nidb.a advertise it as a means of spying on partners.

Why it matters

Stalkerware attacks involve choosing specific individuals to spy upon. Because of its highly targeted nature, stalkerware is less common than other attacks going by the numbers.

  • But targeting victims for specific purposes could mean potential abuse.
  • Countries most affected by stalkerware include Russia, India, Brazil, United States, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, and Iran.
  • The diversity in the geographical location of these countries possibly indicates the global problem of stalkerware.
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