Apps for Stalkers Disguised as Parental Control Tools

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

Sell something called “SuperParent” or even the actual FlexiSpy — and all is swell. Frankly, I’m not opposed to monitoring a child’s phone, kids shouldn’t have phones anyways.

But sell something called “iStalk” or “StalkU,” well … this won’t quite go over well with the authorities or the general community.

It’s all in a name (pardon the cliché).

Apps that track users contain Spyware. A wannabe stalker can secretly install such an app on their intended victim’s phone via any of the following:

  • Manual access to the phone
  • Link to a Twitter share
  • Share for LinkedIn or Whatsapp
  • Text a link posing as security update

Sending a “malicious” link works when its clicked. However the stalker will usually need to have access to the victim’s phone to install the tracking software. With the way people leave their phones lying around, this is fairly easy to do – to users who don’t have a password set up for their device or share their password with their “stalker”.

What can some “stalking apps” track?

  • Call logs
  • Contents of text and chat messages
  • Location of phone (and hence, victim if the phone is with them)
  • Listening in to ambient sounds picked up by the phones microphone
  • Listening in to phone calls
  • Access to voicemail

According to a 2014 study by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 54% of domestic abusers use tracking software, for which its icon can be visibly concealed from the victim.

Though availability of tracking apps has become more limited over time, due to the revelations of how these have been abused, they are still available, such as mSpy, which can be easily downloaded to Android devices.

Downloading stalkware to iPhones is more challenging, but far from impossible. In fact, one technique doesn’t even require physical access to the target’s phone. And even then…this can be breached by a techy stalker.

How do app makers cover their butts?

They include language with their apps, such as citing that consent of the target is required before installation, or that the app company will cooperate with law enforcement should a complaint be reported.

Stalkware isn’t going away anytime soon. Thus, the emphasis needs to be on prevention.

How to Prevent Remote Stalking

  • Heavens, please don’t let your new boyfriend/girlfriend talk you out of having a password with some kind of nonsense like, “If you trusted me you wouldn’t need a password.”
  • Never share passwords.
  • Tell him or her – on the first date – that  your phone is off-limits to them. If they give you flack, it’s over. Only a control freak would mind this.
  • If they keep cool, this could be an act to gain your trust. Never leave your phone alone with that special someone.
  • Keep your phone turned off unless you’re using it.
  • Disable the GPS feature.
  • Never leave your phone unsupervised in the presence of other people, even your new boyfriend’s great-grandmother.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Tags:
spyware
apps
malicious

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,921,885
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Robert - I can understand that there are now fake apps just like fake it support.

Aug 01, 2019 12:06 PM #1
Ambassador
3,873,609
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Yikes. I'm sending this to my friends with children. 

Aug 02, 2019 06:43 PM #2
Ambassador
3,873,609
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                                     

                                         Thanks, Robert. 

Aug 03, 2019 07:15 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,219,550
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Lots of things to consider.... Thanks, Robert. 

Aug 04, 2019 07:38 AM #4
Rainer
144,979
Robin Wells
RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections - Penetanguishene, ON
Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time

Thanks for post!  Very important informaiion and scary.  Many don't think about the apps on their phone - some they even install themselves.  Even those who think they are knowledgable often do not fully understand the technology today and the potential risks involved.

Aug 05, 2019 04:30 AM #5
Ambassador
3,990,050
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Robert, for the continued education. It's impossible to keep up with it all.

I plan to share this with some parents who could benefit.

Jeff

Aug 09, 2019 05:33 PM #6
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainmaker
864,319

Robert Siciliano

Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker
Ping me to book a program for your group
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention