‘Stalkerware’ Detections Highest In UK

Statistics revealed by Kaspersky have shown that mobile ‘stalkerware’ detections are rising faster in the UK, than anywhere else in the world.

It is said that the number of users targeted by ‘stalkerware’ (malicious surveillance apps) jumped 91% from 2018 to 2019 in the UK, a stark contrast to the global figure which only stood at 67%.

What is ‘stalkerware’?

‘Stalkerware’ apps are marketed as a “legitimate way” to monitor teens and children. This is how they tend to get into the app stores.

In reality, people who have a tendency to stalk men and women (such as stalkers, domestic abusers) use them to harass and intimidate their victims.

In a recent report, Kaspersky said:

“They can harvest almost any data on a compromised device: photos (both entire archives and individual pictures, for example, taken at a certain location), phone calls, texts, location information, screen taps (keylogging), and so on.

“Many apps exploit root privileges to extract messaging history from protected storage in social networking and instant messaging applications. If it cannot gain the required access, the stalkerware can take screenshots, log screen taps and even extract the text of incoming and outgoing messages from the windows of popular services using the Accessibility feature.”

Although the detections for stalkerware have soared in the UK, the industry is still asking for more to be done to remove stalkerware altogether.

In November 2019, the Coalition Against Stalkerware was launched by AV vendors and anti-domestic violence groups.

Christina Jankowski, Senior External Relations Manager at Kaspersky, said:

“Together with out partners from the Coalition Against Stalkerware, we want to combine forces and our expertise to work towards putting an end to violence, especially against women, that is enabled by emerging technologies over ever-connected lifestyles.

“Our goal is to ensure that all those affected receive knowledge to protect themselves against digital stalking, and the support they need if they find themselves victims.”

X