How to protect against stalkerware, a murky but dangerous mobile threat

Posted: October 9, 2019 by
Last updated: October 8, 2019

Last week, we pledged that—in honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness months—we would continue the fight against the online scourge known as stalkerware, or applications used to track and spy on victims without their knowing consent.

We told readers that, despite working to protect against stalkerware programs for more than five years, it was time to take our efforts to the next level by spreading awareness of stalkerware and its dangers, and demonstrating how law enforcement, cybersecurity vendors, and advocacy groups can team up for better results.

We laid out our vision and our plans for future action, calling on other security vendors, organizations, and individuals to get involved.

And now we’re ready to get back to work.

This year’s NCSAM emphasizes personal accountability, stressing the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. The overarching theme of 2019 boils down to a nifty tagline: Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. If you need that deconstructed a bit, the message asks users to consider key security concerns, such as maintaining online privacy, securing consumer devices and browsing experiences, and protecting against scams and other threats.

In the context of stalkerware, then, the goal of this particular campaign is to raise awareness of this threat, as well as the difficulty defining, and thus protecting against it. We aim to help users be personally proactive by demonstrating why stalkerware is both murky and dangerous, where to draw the line between legitimate monitoring programs and stalkerware, and most importantly, how to protect against stalkerware if users feel it’s being used against them.

What makes stalkerware dangerous

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