The number of “wear stalkers” apps is growing rapidly. Protect yourself.

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It was like a calculator app. But in reality, it was spyware that recorded every keystroke. This is the type of data that allows stalkers to freely access their privacy. Conclusion of this week after downloading the free Flash Keylogger application on an Android smartphone. The app described itself as a tool for monitoring family online activity by recording what the family entered. Once installed from Google In the official app store, you can replace this icon with a calculator or calendar app icon. In my testing, the app recorded all entries including web searches, text messages, and emails.

Flash Keylogger is part of a growing group of applications called “stalkerware”. These apps numbered in the hundreds a few years ago, but have grown into the thousands since. They are widely available on the Google Play Store. To a lesser extent, Apple’s App Store often goes by harmless names like MobileTool, Agent, and Cerberus. And they’ve become such a tool for digital domestic violence, and Apple and Google started admitting apps as a problem last year.

According to a survey by security firm NortonLifeLock, the number of devices infected with stalkerware increased by 63% between September and May of last year. This month, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had banned one of the app makers, Support King, from offering SpyFone, a stalkerware that provides access to victims’ locations, photos and messages. It was the first such ban.

“This is a very big, very invasive problem and linked to some of the worst abuse we’ve seen in domestic violence,” said Cyber, a digital rights organization, Electronic Frontier Foundation. Security Director Eva Galperin talks about the app. ..

Stalker wear and tear is a thorny issue as he lives in the gray area. There are legitimate uses for monitoring apps such as parental control software that monitor children online to protect them from predators. However, this technology is secretly installed on a partner’s phone and becomes stalkerware if it spies on the partner without their consent.

Due to the more open nature of Google’s software system, programs have more in-depth access to device data and users can install their favorite apps on their phones. These applications are therefore available on phones running Android. Researchers say it’s more prevalent. However, new tracking software targeting the iPhone is also emerging.

After contacting the app, Google said it banned apps that violate the policy, such as Flash Keylogger.

An Apple spokesperson presented us with a security guide released last year in response to threats from these apps. He added that the new stalkerware is not an iPhone vulnerability that technology can fix if an attacker gains access to a person’s device and password.

The fight against the attrition of stalkers is tough. You might not think it’s there. Even so, it can be difficult to detect because antivirus software has only recently started reporting these apps as malicious.

This is a guide on how stalking clothes work, what to look out for, and what to do about it.

Types of stalker wear

Surveillance software has exploded into computers for decades, but recently spyware makers have focused on mobile devices. The app has become known as stalkerware, as mobile devices have access to more detailed data such as photos, real-time location, phone conversations, and messages.

Different stalker wear apps collect different types of information. Some even record calls, record keystrokes, track locations, and upload photos of people to remote servers. But they all work the same in general. An attacker who has access to the victim’s device installs the app on the phone and disguises it as ordinary software such as the calendar app.

From there, the app hides in the background and later the attacker recovers the data. The information can be sent to the abuser’s email address or downloaded from a website. In other scenarios, an attacker who knows the partner’s password may simply unlock the device to open the stalkerware and view the saved data.

Self-defense stages

So what should I do? The Coalition Against Stalkerware, founded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups, and numerous security companies have provided the following advice:

– – Check for abnormal behavior on the deviceLike a battery that drains quickly. It could be a free giveaway that the stalker app is still running in the background.

– – Scan the device.. Some applications, such as Malwarebytes, Certo, NortonLifeLock, and Lookout, can detect wear and tear due to harassment. However, to be complete, take a closer look at the app to see if it is unfamiliar or suspicious. If you find stalkerware, pause it before removing it. If you decide to report the abuse to law enforcement, this can be useful evidence.

– – Ask for help.. In addition to reporting stalking behavior to law enforcement agencies, you can seek advice from resources such as the Domestic Violence Hotline and the Safety Net Project sponsored by. the national network to end domestic violence.

– – Audit your account online Check the apps and devices connected to them. For example, on Twitter, in the settings menu[セキュリティとアカウントへのアクセス]Click the button to see which devices and apps can access your account. Disconnect from anything that looks shady.

– – Change password and password.. It is always safer to change passwords for important online accounts and to avoid reusing passwords between sites. Try to create a long and complex password for each account. Likewise, make sure that your password is difficult for anyone to guess.

– – Enable two-factor authentication.. Use two-factor authentication for the online account providing it. This basically requires you to confirm two pieces of ID before you log into your account. Suppose you enter the username and password for your Facebook account. This is step 1. Facebook then asks you to enter the temporary code generated by the authenticator application. This is step 2. With this protection, even if an attacker uses stalkerware to find your password, you will not be able to connect without this code.

– – For iPhone, please check the settings.. According to mobile security company Certo, the new stalker app, WebWatcher, uses a computer to wirelessly download a backup copy of the victim’s iPhone data. To protect yourself, open the Settings app and[一般]Look at the menu to see if iTunes Wi-Fi Sync is enabled. Disabling will prevent WebWatcher from copying the data.

Apple He said this was not considered an iPhone vulnerability as the attacker must be on the same Wi-Fi network and have physical access to the victim’s unlocked iPhone.

– – Start over again.. Buying a new phone or erasing all the data on your phone and starting over is the most effective way to get rid of wear and tear on your device.

– – Update software.. Apple Google regularly releases software updates that include security fixes that may remove stalkerware. Make sure you are running the latest software.

Brian X. Chen @ c.2021 The New York Times Company

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The number of “stalker wear” applications is increasing rapidly. Protect yourself.

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