When spouses, colleagues, domestic partners, and random strangers install software to spy on a victim, the "stalkerware" can be a disturbing tool of abuse. And it's a tool that's part of a problem that is growing in size and scope.
A new report, "The State of Stalkerware in 2019," from Kaspersky Lab, shows that from January to August 2019 there were more than 518,223 cases globally when the company's technologies either registered the presence of stalkerware on users' devices or detected an attempt to install it. That represents a 373% increase from the same period in 2018.
The report draws a distinction between stalkerware, which can report location, message contents, and call destinations; and spyware, which can deliver full screenshot and keystroke information to the installer. In both cases, the software can do its work without detection. Fortunately, neither stalkerware or spyware is readily available from a legitimate app store: The threat actor must download the software from an app-specific location and then gain access to the victim's device to side-load the monitoring app.
According to Kaspersky, the Russian Federation is the nation where stalkerware is installed most often, with India, Brazil, the US, and Germany rounding out the top five.
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