How to defend yourself from stalkerware, the apps that spy on you

According to an FBI report in the world every day two people die of domestic violence, some malware encourages this phenomenon. Here's how to defend yourself

We live in a world where every service is just a click away. From booking dinner at the most famous restaurant in town to watching our favorite TV series. This continuous presence on the Net, however, also puts us at risk. Never as in these years our privacy is in danger. In a particular way this happens because of the so-called "stalkerware".

According to the calculations of the FBI every day at least two people in the world die because of domestic violence. This phenomenon, which is constantly growing, affects mainly women. And technology with its services, unfortunately, is helping to increase these numbers. Are you wondering how? Simple, malicious and very jealous and violent people often use special malware that can be found for a fee on the Net. These are called "spouseware" or "stalkerware". The peculiarity of this malware is that it allows the jealous partner or the attacker to control every detail of the victim's smartphone or computer.

How stalkerware works

At the moment it is practically impossible to understand how many and which people have lost their lives due to a stalkerware attack. It must be said, however, that the phenomenon is growing and is closely related to domestic violence. However, the numbers tell us of an increasing number of people who have been infected in this way in recent years. Stalkerware is practically identical to the famous spyware used by jealous spouses or bosses who are worried about their employees. The victim obviously does not know anything about the infection, but even if he did, it would not be easy to handle the situation. In fact, according to the FBI report, 75% of women who tried to leave their jealous partners once they discovered the stalkerware suffered severe physical violence.

How the infection happens

There are basically two ways to fall into the trap of stalkerware. The first is a phishing attack. That is, we're talking about a malicious link that arrives in an email or in an app or social conversation. If we click on that malicious link we will give the attacker access to our smartphone. The second way to become a victim is less technical. To do this the malicious person must have physical access to the device. Usually this is the technique most used by spouses or jealous partners. Once the attacker gains access to the phone, he can install the stalkerware. Remember that spyware is a strong violation of privacy and carries a criminal conviction.

How to defend yourself

There are practically two main ways to defend against this type of attacks. The first is to protect our smartphone with a PIN. In this way, it will be impossible for the jealous partner or the malicious person to get inside the device. To do this, we must avoid using only an unlock code or a sequence. Much better to use a complex PIN. Even better if we associate an alphanumeric code with fingerprint recognition as well. Obviously if our phone has this sensor. To defend against malicious links and attachments, the advice is always the same: never open them without checking first. To do this you can use specific antivirus software or always ask the person who sent us the link or attachment of the explanations. If the answers do not convince us then we avoid clicking on the link or downloading the attachment.