It is unacceptable to violate someone’s privacy, like by stalking your partner with “stalker ware.” This can put the victim and yourself in danger. The number of stalking app attacks decreased by 39% in 2021, so it shouldn’t be a reason for panic. The US is one country where the app remains a problem.
In a survey, it was discovered that at least 30% of people believe stalking is acceptable. An app called TheTruthSpy is a popular stalking tool disguised as a parenting app that monitors your children. The app cannot be used to spy without permission and knowledge. The information obtained is not shared with the app creators and must be accessed by adding a phone number.
The same stalker was a software that at first was covered for exposing the data of victims who had installed it, which has again caused a backlash for showing images of children and infants. COPPA requires to protect the data of those under 13 years old. Cybernews interviewed experts about the trend of decreasing stalker activity, why it was decreasing, and if the threat was still present.
Traces what Republicans and Democrats are saying about Roe. Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic stopped people from attacking other countries. David Adkins, University of Albany’s Cybersecurity lecturer, was skeptical that the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown may have impacted the 2021 survey results. People were less mobile during this time since many were tracking their data.
Another reason usage of stalkers decreased last year is that smartphone users have become more aware of the surveillance capability, and are taking steps to limit it.
Financial services were the most impersonated industry in the first half of 2018 with Credit Agricole, MTB, and PayPal being the most used for phishing. Microsoft, Google, Netflix, and others were among the top 25 brands impersonated six times each.
In 2020, Google updated its policy to prevent bad apps. Surveillance and monitoring apps for kids were excluded from these restrictions, leaving some stalker companies as exceptions to get around the rules. But it didn’t take long until they attempted to use this exception as a disguise.
Apple is more secure than Android because it thoroughly examines apps, and doesn’t allow side-loading. Tim Cook has said it would be putting users in contact with bad actors if they were allowed to sideload. Although Apple devices are still in danger from cyber threats, the threat of stalkers is much lower. Apple only offers two-step authentication as a way to combat this. Cybersecurity Consultant at F-Secure Laura Kankaala has stated that for iOS, “a lot of stalkers were can be traced back to knowing the victim’s iCloud credentials.”
Manufacturers are trying to make devices more resistant to spyware, but it often comes with limitations. Apple has new protections in their operating system that are not backward compatible with older devices. With the adoption of advanced technology, like TouchID and FaceID, it’s more difficult for stalkers to access their victims’ devices. Threat actors will always find new ways to track targets through off-device methods as they are found inefficient. “Apple’s AirTags have reportedly been used by criminals to track both individuals and high-value targets to facilitate stalking and theft,” he stated.
Kaspersky’s global survey revealed that the majority of people would stalk their partner if they thought he or she was unfaithful, and only 50% would do so if their partner was a criminal. But there are more privacy concerns with Roe v Wade being overruled. Location tracking is becoming more popular following the Roe v Wade ruling. Covington warns that “Stalkerware is likely to experience an uptick in use following the Roe v Wade ruling as nefarious individuals and organizations are looking to capture personal details on individuals and their whereabouts.”
There are now “bounty laws” which incentivize people and organizations to sue anyone who is involved in assisting with an abortion. Illinois Attorney General will be introducing legislation to combat cyberstalking. Adkins advises that one early indicator of stalking software is a device experiencing unusual, automated activities. Examples of this behavior may include increased battery heat, data usage, and quicker battery depletion.
You should think hard about what apps are on your phone and whether anyone should be able to use them or not. You should also install an app that will check your device for stalkers if you’re worried about privacy. Vigilance and awareness are the best measures to protect oneself.