AV-Comparatives Discusses the Growing Problem of Stalkerware and Its Devastating Impact - the preliminary stage of femicides

·3-min read

Stalkerware is used by women and men, and sometimes the first step before violence against woman and femicides.

INNSBRUCK, Austria, May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In order to build mass awareness against the use of stalkerware, AV-Comparatives has recently discussed how these applications compromise the privacy and safety of thousands of electronic device users around the world.

AV-Comparatives, an independent organisation known for its accurate evaluation of security software products and mobile security solutions, has recently warned electronic device users about the growing use of stalkerware and strongly condemned the use of such spying applications for their negative impact on individuals as well as the larger society.

The use of stalkerware or monitoring software for stalking represents not only a gross intrusion into people's privacy, but also a possible security concern if the companies running these apps are themselves hacked or accidentally leak data belonging to victims of their customers.

Using stalkerware against women is an especially pervasive issue and can lead to violence on the part of the stalker. AV-Comparatives informs that according to a 2017 report from the European Institute for Gender Equality, seven in ten women in Europe who experienced cyber stalking also faced physical and/or sexual violence in some form from an intimate partner.

Commercially available to anyone with Internet access, stalkerware typically is set up on someone's mobile phone without their knowledge or permission. Once installed, the user often remains unaware of its presence.

AV-Comparatives mentions that depending on the type of stalkerware in place, the abuser might be able to perform any or all of the following activities: • Read anything the victim types by logging each keystroke. This can include account credentials to banking apps, online shops, and social networks • Know the location of the victim by tracking their movements via GPS • Hear what the victim says by eavesdropping on or even recording their phone calls • Read any type of message, even those that are encrypted • Monitor social network activity • See photos and videos • Switch on the camera It has been observed that the use of stalkerware has actually increased significantly, in spite of extended periods of lockdowns around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Over the past years, several measures have been initiated against stalkerware. However, AV-Comparatives believes that the only way to combat this ever-increasing concern is to raise mass awareness about stalkerware.

'Whatever the legal status of the software may be, the act of stalking someone is a crime in many countries. You could go to prison for it. You might lose your friends, family, health or career over it. In short, the person you might hurt most by installing stalkerware is yourself. If you are thinking about being involved in any aspect of someone's private life without their explicit consent, we strongly discourage you from doing so and suggest you seek professional mental help,' said AV-Comparatives co-founder Andreas Clementi.

Please have a look at the latest stalkerware report from AV-Comparatives https://www.av-comparatives.org/android-stalkerware-test-2021/ To find out more about AV-Comparatives, please visit https://www.av-comparatives.org About AV-Comparatives: AV-Comparatives is an independent organisation offering systematic testing to examine the efficacy of security software products and mobile security solutions. Using one of the largest sample collection systems worldwide, it has created a real-world environment for truly accurate testing. AV-Comparatives offers freely accessible results to individuals, news organisations and scientific institutions. Certification by AV-Comparatives provides a globally recognised official seal of approval for software performance.

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