Anyone can monitor others using a type of software known as stalkerware.
Stalkerware is a form of commercially available spyware that lets you monitor people you have a personal relationship with.
While stalkerware is most commonly used for monitoring employees, there are those who use it to spy on spouses or intimate partners. The use of stalkerware has increased dramatically in recent years. Not only is it unethical, it’s just plain creepy.
Types of stalkerware
Apps that monitor communications.
This class of stalkerware is designed to capture conversations or even everything you type.
Apps that track locations
An app may keep track of GPS coordinates or guess your location based on the Wi-Fi networks you connect to.
Apps that steal files
These apps watch your devices for any changes and transmit them to a server the stalker can access.
Signs of stalkerware
There are several signs that you may have stalkerware on your devices, such as:
- Your device behaving strangely after leaving it unattended
- Unusual processes running in your task or app managers
- Your battery depleting faster than usual
- Altered permissions on apps and services
How to protect yourself against stalkerware
There are several simple ways to protect yourself against stalkerware:
- Be on the lookout for unusual behaviour on your device including faster battery drain or a sudden increase in data consumption.
- Change all of your passwords and enable multi-factor authentication on devices that you trust.
- Ensure that your operating system and apps are up to date so any known vulnerabilities are patched.
- As a last resort, backup all of your data and perform a factory reset on your device to start afresh. Keep in mind that with a fresh install/factory reset of your device’s operating system, you should take care to only install essential apps.
Stalkerware and other forms of monitoring software are on the rise. Stay vigilant against it to protect your privacy, and your safety.