Large increase show attempts to install ”Stalkerware”, ie software through which someone monitors messages, photos, social media , GPS, recordings or cameras on the victim’s smartphone, in some cases even in real time.
Over 37,000 such attempts were recorded from January to august 2019, a figure corresponding to an increase of 35% compared to the figures for the same period of 2018.
The 122 of these were found in Greece, a size seemingly small but extremely important (since certainly many have not been detected and so monitoring is still active).
In addition, the threat landscape for ”Stalkerware” has widened, as Kaspersky has discovered 380 variants of ”Stalkerware” free on the internet in 2019; 31% more compared to last year. These are the most important findings of the Kaspersky report ”The State of Stalkerware in 2019″.
Unlike legitimate parental control applications, ”Stalkerware” runs hidden in the background, without the knowledge or consent of the victim. They are often promoted as spy software for sexual partners.
In the first eight months of 2019, 37,532 unique users were confronted with at least one attempt to penetrate “Stalkerware” into their device. By comparison, the 2018 picture was 27,798 unique users.
While these numbers may look small compared to figures for other types of malware (for example, only 9% of users who were attacked by financial threats detected in the first half of 2019 ), it is important to keep in mind that, unlike most consumer-targeted threats, ”Stalkerware” is commonly used for specially targeted victims.
”Stalkerware” often needs to be installed manually on the victim’s phone, so the perpetrator needs physical access to the device.
In addition, there are several variants of ”Stalkerware” available on the market. In the first eight months of 2018, Kaspersky’s detection technologies identified 290 potentially dangerous variations, while in 2019 this number has risen by nearly a third to reach 380.