Stalkerware is often installed secretly on mobile phones by abusive spouses, ex-partners, and other close contacts to spy on their targets.
Over the course of the past three years, Avast researchers have discovered a diverse range of mobile applications intended for non-consensual stalking.
Often installed secretly on mobile phones by so-called friends, jealous spouses, and ex-partners, stalkerware tracks the physical location of the victim, monitoring their phone calls, text messages, and sites they visit to undermine their online freedom and individual liberty.
“National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is deeply concerned about the significant increase in the use of stalkerware and the dangerous implications for survivors domestic and dating violence and sexual assault,” says Erica Olsen, Senior Director of Safety Net Project at NNEDV, our US partner. “Our Safety Net Project conducted an assessment of service providers documenting that the most common types of technology abuse – harassment, limiting access to tech, and surveillance – all increased during the pandemic.”
And here’s the kicker: Across the globe, the risk of encountering stalkerware on a mobile device has increased by 239% globally over a three-year period.