Computers & Laptops

India one of the 10 most-affected by stalkerware: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 03, 2021

Russia, Brazil and the USA are at the top of Kaspersky’s 2020 list of countries hit by the secret surveillance software

Stalkerware, a secret surveillance software, remains a significant problem affecting users globally, according to a new report called ‘The State of Stalkerware 2020’ by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

As per the report, Kaspersky found that a total of 53,870 mobile users were affected globally by stalkerware in 2020.

In India, 4,627 users were affected by stalkerware, as per the report. Russia, Brazil and the United States of America are at the top of Kaspersky’s 2020 list of countries where users are most impacted. Russia recorded the highest number of cases at 12,389.

Germany is the first European country on the list at sixth place in the global rankings with 1,547. Iran, Italy, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia complete the list of 10 most- affected nations.

“Stalkerware is a form of cyberviolence, and a global phenomenon that affects countries regardless of size, society, or culture,” Kaspersky said in the report.

However, the software affected a smaller number of users in 2020 as compared to 2019 where Kaspersky found a total of 67,500 mobile users affected by stalkerware.

“When talking about improvements, it is important to take the start of the pandemic into account as stalkerware is often used to digitally control the life of an intimate partner,” it said

“With this in mind, it is unsurprising that the yearly curve of users affected by stalkerware globally shows a decline in reports from March to June 2020, before numbers began to stabilize thereafter. This coincides with the beginning of worldwide lockdowns, and later when many countries around the world began to ease restrictions,” it said.

“We see the number of users affected by stalkerware has remained high and we detect new samples every day. It’s important to remember that there is somebody’s real life story behind all these numbers, and sometimes there is a silent call for help. Therefore, we are sharing our part of the picture, with the community working to end the use of stalkerware in order to have a better understanding of the issue. It is clear that we all need to share what we are finding so we can further improve detection and protection for the benefit of those affected by cyberviolence,” said Victor Chebyshev, Research Development Team Lead, Kaspersky.

In 2019, Kaspersky co-founded, along with nine other organisations, the Coalition Against Stalkerware, which now has 30 members from five continents. The Coalition aims to improve industry detection of stalkerware, mutual learning from non-profit organisations and companies, and raise public awareness.

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Published on March 03, 2021
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