According to security company Kaspersky (famous for the anti-virus of the same name), the presence of stalkware apps in the Play Store has increased significantly by 2019. As a result, there was a massive 373% increase over 2018.
Stalkware is software used to spy on private user data. A stalking app will allow criminals access to victims’ messages, call information, emails, social networks and GPS locations.
Countries with the most cases of ‘stalking apps’
According to Karspersky, the countries with the most occurrences of stalkware on Android are Russia, India, Brazil and the United States. No wonder 4 of the world’s most populous countries are the hardest hit. In the United States and India, criminal schemes involving mobile phones and technology are quite common, such as the famous computer support call center scheme.
Most apps are marketed to the average consumer
Amazingly, most stalkerware apps aren’t hidden from the public. An example of this is TheTruthSpy, an app that serves to spy on a partner if there is suspicion of betrayal. Once installed on the victim’s mobile phone, the app can record all sorts of activities.
Information such as location logs, call management, internet browsing monitoring and even conversations from WhatsApp, Messenger , Snapchat, and other communication apps. All this at the mercy of the malicious person, whether someone close or a criminal on the other side of the world.
In July, Google removed about 8 apps intended to control employees, partners or children. They have all been classified as stalkware and completely removed from the Google Play Store.
What to do if my phone has stalkware?
First of all, If you suspect that your mobile phone is being monitored, try to remind yourself if anyone has touched your mobile phone recently. It may have been a friend or a joke but the consequences are real.
Then install Karspersky or Malwarebytes for Android. These are one of the most reliable security programs on both mobile and desktop. Run the security check that will accuse malware if you have it.
Lastly, if nothing else works and you remain suspicious, reset your phone to factory defaults. Just make sure you back up your data before you do so.