Inside a network of ‘spy apps’ that secretly monitor and monitor thousands

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are victims of extreme cyber intrusions where data and personal information is stolen.

Powering this crime is a network of spy apps that track and monitor people around the globe.

People who commit thefts often do so to make money. Cybercriminals often have many different motives.

In an article titled Comparative study on the difference between regular crime and cybercrimeTech experts note that some people hack with no purpose – they open locked doors in an act of probing or as a gesture to show they are smarter than government security techniques .

Others may have more sinister motives.

Stalkerware is a term that covers all applications that secretly monitor device activities.

The Stalkerware app can track keystrokes, track the device’s location, record the screen of every user movement, or even access the device’s camera in real time.

And there is very little notification to users that their device has been compromised by malware.

Stalkerware requires no advanced hacking – it can be installed by anyone with access to the device.

It can be disguised as a computer application, as is the case with a New York Times reporter who discovered and flagged the existence of the Flash Keylogger stalking software application in the Google Play store.

“It looks like a calculator app. But it’s really spyware that records my every keystroke – the kind of data that would allow stalkers to get unchecked access to my private life,” Brian X. Chen wrote in September. year 2021.

Once installed, the tracker can get information in the email cache or even gain access to a real-time usage dashboard.

Stalkerware applications are often named and modeled to look like bad apps.
Stalkerware applications are often named and modeled to look like bad apps.

And because of tracking software’s ability to track down unsuspecting victims, it has become a tool for domestic abuse or intimate partner violence.

PCMagazine quotes a study of 2,000 participants, of which 10% “admitted to using an app to track text messages, phone calls, and other forms of communication from an ex or a current partner.” .

In 2014, a woman was stalking, intimidation and abuse by a boyfriend who installed a spyware app that allowed him to access the microphone on her phone.

WomensLaw quotes Non-consensual monitoring as a major red flag in relationships.

A TechCrunch investigation uncovered a network of tracking software applications all developed by Vietnam-based company 1Byte.

Through a series of shell companies, 1Byte was able to support at least nine stalking software applications that have invaded the privacy of approximately 400,000 people worldwide.

Meanwhile, reporters and advocacy groups have worked to publicize tracking software detection strategies and pressured private companies to remove tracking software applications from the online market. line.

The action against tracking software is largely taken by the Federal Trade Commission, an agency tasked with protecting US consumers.

There are 2.5 billion Android users worldwide who may be vulnerable to tracking software.
There are 2.5 billion Android users worldwide who may be vulnerable to tracking software.
Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

FTC has been choose a business and prohibit them from “providing, promoting, selling, or advertising any surveillance application, service, or business,” but far-reaching legislative action has yet to come from the democracy of the United States. naive about technology government.

Cybersecurity experts and activists Gennie Gebhart and Eva Galperin debated about Electronic Frontier Foundation “There is simply no legitimate purpose for covert stalking apps.”

Depending on the type of device, prevention and elimination techniques vary. It should be noted that the person or company that first installs spyware will likely be notified of spyware removal.

Android is more susceptible to software tracking because of its relatively lax accessibility restrictions.

Zach Whittaker, TechCrunch security editor, recommend Android users to manage their Google Play Protect settings and scan their device’s accessibility for fake apps or suspicious settings. Inside a network of ‘spy apps’ that secretly monitor and monitor thousands


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