Avoid dealing with stalkerwareFloris van Veen
Your phone has not been working as usual lately. And your partner or friend suddenly asks you why you spend so much time in one location. Why are you sitting in the cafe, when you claimed to be home anyway? You may not immediately realize it, but it's strange if someone else knows where you are when you haven't told them. There is a good chance that you have become a victim of stalkerware. Stalkerware is software on your smartphone that allows others to track your location or view other data, without you realizing it. It is therefore a form of espionage.
What exactly is stalkerware?
Stalkerware is a nasty way of stalking. With stalkerware, the stalker installs software on your smartphone or laptop to be able to track you. This concerns so-called 'malware'. This software ends up on the victim's phone without the victim's knowledge. In most cases, the stalker and the victim know each other. For example because they are partners.
In other cases, you get an app sent to you by one of your friends and you don't realize that it can track your location. The stalker can terrify you if he keeps telling you exactly where you are or what photos you have on your phone. He can even watch with your smartphone camera, without you realizing it.
So you usually don't realize that you are being watched. Stalkerware is basically software that allows you to track someone's location and data. For example, parents do this with their children, or employers do it to track their employees. This software often ends up in the wrong hands, causing, for example, insecure partners to stalk the other.
How do you recognize stalkerware?
Stalkerware can basically be divided into two types of software: advanced stalkerware and apps that are misused for it. The advanced stalkerware often costs a few hundred euros, but offers many possibilities to keep an eye on the victim. This professional stalkerware can not only track where you are, but also read all your messages, see which websites you have surfed and which photos you have on your smartphone. This stalkerware is often not visible in the settings and does not appear with antivirus software. The app therefore works completely in the background and you usually do not realize that you are dealing with it.
Other stalkerware is easier to spot. These are free apps that you can easily install yourself. For example, Apple has the "Find My Friends" option. This makes it possible to see where your friends are currently. This software is intended for security, but it is misused by stalkers to keep an eye on you. For example, your partner can add you to Find My Friends, so he can watch you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This only provides the location of the victim. Other data such as text messages or photos cannot be viewed with these apps.
Stalkerware is very annoying. It is a major invasion of your privacy and because there is often little evidence, many stalkers get away with it. It is also not illegal to monitor your children or employees with stalkerware. The same goes for keeping an eye on your partner. It can only be seen as stalking if you abuse the software and make life difficult for your ex with it. In practice, however, it is difficult to prove who installed this software. You are also the only one who can protect yourself. The antivirus software does not help, because the software is often installed unrecognizable.
Tips against stalkerware
It is important to avoid becoming a victim of stalkerware. It seems harmless, but it is not wise to share your PIN or password with anyone. Do you always use the same password or PIN? That could be dangerous. Always try set secure passwordsn and to vary. Do not share your smartphone password or PIN with anyone, including your partner. This way you can prevent a jealous partner from secretly watching you.
Don't fall for phishing. So do not download apps via links from an email and do not download images that you have to download separately. These files may be infected. It is also wise to to use a VPN† It is possible to find out your location via your IP address. Using a VPN changes your IP address and changes your location.
Leave your phone never root or jailbreak† That way your smartphone becomes vulnerable and it is easier to install software that has been tampered with. In addition, we recommend that you always install the latest updates, so that vulnerabilities can be closed in time.
Has your phone fallen victim to this kind of stalkerware? then that is of course possible researched by us become.