Spyware is a type of malware that infects your PC or mobile device and gathers information about you, including the sites you go to, usernames and passwords, payment information, and the emails you send and receive.
Similarly, stalkerware is a type of software or application that spies on victims. Stalkerware apps are capable of a plethora of things. They could be stealing contacts, spying on your browsing history and text messages, and many more things. Stalkerware is more common in personal relationships, but as we move to a more home oriented office environment it becomes even more important to protect against its use.
In addition, the use of Stalkerware Apps and software is on the rise through 2020, seeing a huge increase in areas like India. In India, the rise of stalkerware was associated with the use of it’s covid tracking app.
Although, one is required to have physical access to a mobile device in order to install most stalkerware apps, but an attacker can use social engineering tactics to get the victim to install them.
Typical spyware or stalkerware will gain admin-level access, hide itself, spy on the victim, and communicate information back to the attacker
Types of Spyware/Stalkerware
In most of the cases the functionality of any spyware threat depends on the intentions of its authors. For example, some typical types of spyware and stalkerware include the following:
- Password stealers are applications that harvest passwords from infected computers. The types of collected passwords may include stored credentials from web browsers, system login credentials, and sundry critical passwords.
- Banking Trojans are applications that harvest credentials from financial institutions. They take advantage of vulnerabilities in browser security to modify web pages and possibly even transaction amounts
- Infostealers are applications that scan infected computers and look for specific information on the system.
- Keyloggers are applications capture computer activity, including keystrokes, websites traffic, search history, and communications.
Above all, the best way to protect yourself from spyware and stalkerware is to follow these principles of good cybersecurity posture.
- Don’t open emails from unknown senders.
- Only download files from a trusted source.
- Mouse-over links before clicking on them and check their destination.
- Use a reputable cybersecurity program to counter advanced spyware. See Endpoint protection for more information.
- Secure your device against unauthorized physical access.