Cybersecurity companies focus on the role of ‘stalkerware’ in domestic abuse
In the US, October functions as the month for both cybersecurity awareness and domestic violence awareness. One threat that lies at the crossroads of cybersecurity and domestic violence, is stalkerware, which refers to commercial spyware that can be legally acquired and can be used to monitor people. Software of this kind is often marketed to parents as a way to keep tabs on their children online. As the name implies, stalkerware is also popular among stalkers. In addition, it is often used by domestic abusers who do not respect the privacy of their spouse, partner and/or relatives.
A new Kaspersky report shows that stalkerware installation attempts grew by 35% this year, while the number of stalkerware variants increased by 31%. Vladimir Kuskov of Kaspersky says that his company is working hard to fight stalkers, for example by “increas[ing] the stalkerware detection capabilities of our products.” However, Kuskov stresses that it is important that infosec professionals should “find and agree on a definition of stalkerware” because “this would help distinguish such software better, and therefore better protect users from abusers of their privacy.”