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Be wary of stalkerware

By Katie Ritchie

 

Jesse’s ex-boyfriend had always been difficult. He called it “over-protective because he cared.”

Her family called him controlling. He wanted to know where she was and who she talked to.

When they broke up, Jesse started running into him everywhere. He said it was fate. It was actually stalkerware.

Stalkerware is sneaky tech. These legal apps and programs can monitor your online behavior. They can track or copy GPS location, photos you take, text messages, call or browser history, recorded audio, and more. These apps are designed to spy on you.

Why don’t Google Play and the App Store delete these dangerous apps? The apps are marketed as a way to keep an eye on children using phones. Unfortunately, parents aren’t the only ones who use them.

If you worry that your computer or cell phone has been bugged, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

To prevent stalkerware: Protect your devices with reliable, hard to guess passwords and don’t give them to anyone. Don’t allow your device to install third-party apps or programs. Check what programs are on your device regularly, and delete any you don’t use. Regularly scan your device with antivirus and antimalware software.

If you think you’re already infected: Run a virus and malware scan. Malwarebytes can detect stalkerware on Mac and Windows computers, or Android mobile devices. Currently, Malwarebytes cannot detect Stalkerware on iOS phones.
Kaspersky Lab creates antivirus solutions for all devices. It will alert you if there are privacy risks like stalkerware.

If the scans aren’t picking up anything and you don’t see any unfamiliar programs or processes, you might be safe. If you are worried the threat isn’t gone, it may be time to do a restore to your factory settings or call a professional.