Kaspersky Lab analysts have published reportdedicated to the problem of stalker software. This term refers to surveillance programs that are positioned as legal, and can be bought in the public domain.
Researchers estimate that in the first eight months of this year (January to August), more than 37,000 users around the world faced such threats. Compared to the same period in 2018, this indicator increased by 35%.
But the number of victims in Russia is growing faster than global rates. Thus, according to company statistics, from January to August 2018, a little more than 4,500 users encountered stalker programs, while in 2019 this figure was already almost 10,000. Thus, over the year the number of victims in Russia more than doubled.
The researchers also recorded an increase in the number of samples of stalker software. For the reporting period of 2019, the company discovered 380 options for stalker programs, which is almost a third more than a year earlier.
“Against the backdrop of more significant indicators of malware infection, statistics on stalker programs may not look so impressive. However, in the case of such surveillance software, as a rule, there are no random victims – in most cases, these are people familiar to the surveillance organizer, such as a spouse. In addition, the use of such software is often associated with the threat of domestic violence. In addition, the installation of the program itself requires physical access to the device. That’s why the numbers turn out to be noticeably lower, ”explains Vladimir Kuskov, head of the Kaspersky Lab’s mobile threats research department.
Most often, experts discovered the Monitor.AndroidOS.MobileTracker.a malware. It is positioned as a tool for controlling employees of organizations. However, in fact, malware can conduct surveillance undercover, disguising itself as system applications, and collect a lot of various confidential data. In particular, information about geolocation, correspondence in SMS and instant messengers, phone calls, photo and video files, make recordings from the camera (including in real time), browser history, files, as well as information from the calendar and contact list. Among other things, this program allows you to remotely control the device on which it is installed.