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Stalkerware is defined as software that grants a remote user the ability to monitor the activity on another user’s device without their consent. It is commercially available for anyone to use and install. In some circumstances, the software is pre-installed on devices that are then given as gifts.
It facilitates intimate partner surveillance, harassment, abuse, stalking, and violence, and is an increasing problem around the world which shows no sign of stopping – the number of stalkerware installations on mobile devices worldwide from January to the end of September 2020 amounted to 45,225, compared to 44,368 over the same period in 2019.
This data, released by founding partner of the Coalition Against Stalkerware, Kaspersky, has been released on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Wednesday 25th November) to raise awareness of the issue and it’s part in domestic abuse.
In the UK, more than 900 cases of stalkerware have been detected to Kaspersky since January, making it the third most popular country in Europe for the invasive software, behind Germany (1,384) and Italy (1,043), but above Spain (829), France (813) and Poland (385).
Aston spoke to David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky to discuss how widespread this problem is and how it should be addressed as a matter of urgency.