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Putting The Spotlight On Stalkerware This Safer Internet Day - Information From NortonLifeLock

Tuesday 9 February 2021 is Safer Internet Day, an international effort to remind people to make active decisions about what they are sharing, and to choose how, when, where, and for what purposes their data is being used. As a company, NortonLifeLock is taking a stand against domestic violence this year.

Taking a stand against stalkerware and domestic violence

Stalkerware is a niche type of cyber-attack which differs from usual attacks in that its motivations are not usually monetary. Stalkerware is commercial software used to track and stalk victims using their own devices. Often used by jealous ex-partners or otherwise manipulative individuals in a relationship. 

Above: (a) Top Spy Apps lists spyware apps and their uses for interpersonal surveillance. (b) Cheating spouse tracker includes guides recommending specific surveillance apps.

Many malicious phone and computer applications, known as stalkerware, use data to stalk, harass, control, and harm people.

Stalkerware presents a major – and often ignored – threat. NortonLifeLock is a founding member of the Coalition Against Stalkerware and over the years, our researchers have worked to take stalkerware out of the hands of abusers and give victims and survivors tools and training to help protect themselves from harassment, violence, and attacks.

In 2020, NortonLifeLock researchers published papers on the prevalence of stalkerware apps, driving Google to remove over 800 apps from the Android Play Store. Our proprietary “CreepRank” algorithm, developed in partnership with Cornell Tech and New York University and incorporated into Norton™ Mobile Security for Android, automatically detects these types of surveillance apps, stops them from being installed on a device, and removes them if they’re already installed.

Our efforts detected more than 223,000 installations of such malicious applications in a year.

This Internet Safety Day, we’d like to remind you to make active decisions about your data and to help spread this information to those who need it.

For more information or tips on how to defend against stalkerware, click here to read the full article from NortonLifeLock or contact Cathrine Pierce at cathrinep@botica.co.nz.

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