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Spyware, stalkerware apps gaining traction during lockdown

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    5th Aug, 2020

Global Cyber-security leader Avast has warned in a note that there was a 51-percent increase in the use of spy- and stalkerware since the lockdown in March until June.

Context

Global Cyber-security leader Avast has warned in a note that there was a 51-percent increase in the use of spy- and stalkerware since the lockdown in March until June.

About

What are spy and stalkerware apps?

  • Spyware or stalkerware refers to tools - apps, software programs, and devices - that let another person (such as an abuser) secretly monitor and record information about your phone activity.
  • Spy and stalkerware apps, like viruses and other malware, infect devices that are connected to the internet.
  • While viruses and malware can be detected by antivirus software, spyware and stalkerware apps disguise themselves as useful and send-out stolen data to central servers without the users’ knowledge.
  • A spyware app can also be installed remotely while a stalkerware app can be installed only when someone has physical access to the digitally connected device.

How do such apps work?

  • Spyware: For spyware apps, the easiest method is to disguise the spying code inside the unauthorised versions of other apps and then try and market such premium apps.
  • Stalkerware: Stalkerware apps on the other hand, seek explicit permissions at the time of their installation.
    • Once the app is installed in the phone, it can be hidden from the apps menu into the background, from where they continue functioning.

Reason for increased usage

  • Increased usage of internet by everyone due to various lockdown measures in place. This provides enough opportunities for cyber criminals.
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