Stalkerware on the rise globally

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on October 13, 2019 Published on October 13, 2019

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India sees a sharp decline in intrusion attempts

There is a huge spike in stalkerware installation attempts on mobile devices this calendar year so far. Hackers try to deploy stalkerware to spy on people’s private life. Good news is that the number has seen a sharp decrease in India.

Cybersecurity experts see over 37,000 stalkerware intrusion attempts in the first eight months of this year, showing an increase of 35 per cent when compared to the numbers in the same period previous year. In India, however, the number has gone down by 67 per cent.

Cybersecurity experts at Kaspersky see a widening of the problem as they discovered 380 different types of stalkerware being used. This number has gone up by 31 per cent during the period under observation.


The number of attacks, at 37,532, looks very small when compared to the other malware attacks. The cybersecurity experts, however, say that the number seems significant considering the nature of the attack. Unlike most consumer threats, stalkerware is typically used through specifically targeting victims.

“Stalkerware often needs to be installed manually on the victim's phone, so the abuser needs physical access to the device,” an expert said.

Successful attempts could lead to huge damages. Stalkerware programmes try to intrude into a ones private life. Hackers can get access to messages, photographs, social media, geolocation and audio or camera recordings of the victims. These applications run hidden in the background without a victim’s knowledge or consent. They are often promoted as software for spying on people’s partners.

“Despite a spike in the attacks globally, we see a huge drop here in India. This shows that we are moving in the right direction,” Saurabh Sharma, Senior Security Researcher Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GreAT) in Asia-Pacific, said.

How to tackle

* Block installation of programmes from ‘unknown sources’ in phone settings.

* Don’t reveal the password or passcode to your mobile device.

* Don’t store unfamiliar files or apps on your device.

* If you are leaving a relationship, change all security settings on your mobile device.

* Check and delete all the suspicious apps installed without your consent.

* If you suspect any stalking attempt, take help.

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Published on October 13, 2019
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