Stalkerware and spyware have been able to spread with near impunity since the beginning of the pandemic, new security research shows…
Stalkerware and spyware have been with people basically since mobile technology became available to the public. These represent real security and privacy threats and have even resulted in real-world harm. However, both have managed to become much more a problem since the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This, according to the most recent research by cybersecurity firm Avast.
Stalkerware and Spyware have Run Wild since the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the United Kingdom alone, there has been a 93% increase in the spread of stalkerware and spyware since the first lock-down measures went into effect. Although both are similar in how they operate, spyware is typically a malware that attempts to remain hidden on a mobile device and transmits information back to malicious agents. Stalkerware is usually downloaded onto a victim’s device by someone he or she knows. Avast chief information security office Jaya Baloo explains:
“The growth in stalkerware and spyware poses a huge concern. Stalkerware is a form of tech abuse, an increasing threat which takes away the physical and online freedom of the victim. Usually installed secretly on mobile phones by so-called friends, jealous spouses and ex-partners, stalkerware tracks the physical location of the victim, monitors sites visited, phone calls and text messages, undermining a person’s online freedom and individual liberty.”