On Android, stalkerware is also a threat to “snoopers” themselves!

Recently, a cybersecurity company pointed to a worrying phenomenon on the rise. Not only are stalkerware now a threat to spies, but they also have an increasing impact on victims.

A growing phenomenon

First, let’s remember what stalkerware is. This is spyware (or monitoring) used for cyberstalking purposes. The software in question installs itself on the victim’s device and then offers numerous possibilities. The “snooper” has access to the victim’s images, conversations, location, or browsing history. In full bloom in recent years, this phenomenon often concerns: members of the same family or people who work in the same professional context. In 2019, Kaspersky estimated a 35% increase in the phenomenon compared to 2018.

In a May 17, 2021 publication, cybersecurity company ESET revealed an investigation into stalkerware. After manual analysis of 86 services available on Android, experts have no less than 158 security vulnerabilities and confidentiality. These issues may allow a spy to remotely take control of a victim’s device.

smartphone phone
Credit: GoodFreePhotos

Spies expose themselves too

ESET explains that the study should: act as a warning targeting potential customers of harassment software. The target? Have them reconsider using stalkerware against those around them. ESET visibly takes an educational stance and states that using this software is unethical. However, the environment is usually plagued by private information leakcyber attacks and all kinds of fraud.

However, ESET has raised another, much more surprising point. Indeed, spies expose themselves and can… become victims in turn. Because there may be a relationship between the spy and its victim, that same spy’s data may leak. Experts claimed they discovered something crucial during their research. Some software save information about snoopers, even after requesting deletion of their user data.

Finally, stalkerware poses an increasing threat over time. In 2019, about ten organizations had decided to: seal a union against this software monitoring. Among these organizations we find several cybersecurity companies such as Norton, Kaspersky and Avast, as well as associations that help victims of domestic violence. Finally, let’s mention the creation of a victim information platform: stopstalkerware.org.