Kaspersky Stalkerware

Kaspersky recently launched a new report exploring the threat of stalkerware, a tool that enables someone to spy on another person’s private life using a smart device.

The State of Stalkerware in 2021” report reveals that stalkerware affected over 32,000 Kaspersky mobile users worldwide last year and is often used in abusive relationships. 

Kaspersky found out that there’s a direct connection between online and offline violence. Moreover, usage of stalkerware could be close to one million instances globally yearly based on a rough estimate from the Coalition Against Stalkerware. 

To add up to this point, the 2021 survey conducted by Digital Stalking showed that 24% of people confirmed being stalked using technology, and 25% confirmed having experienced violence or abuse at the hands of their partner. The exact correlation was also found in most countries where the survey was run.  

Two non-profit organizations–US-based NNEDV (the National Network to End Domestic Violence) and WWP EN (the European Network for the Work with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence)– also shared tech-enabled abuse in the survey as a growing issue. 

The connection between online and offline violence around the world. (source: Kaspersky)

“ICT technologies are powerful tools for perpetrators exerting coercive control, especially in relationships where violence is already present offline,” commented Berta Vall Castelló and Anna McKenzie from WWP EN. 

It’s also true that domestic violence had risen in numbers during the pandemic, especially during long-term lockdowns. 

Further to Kaspersky’s report, Russia, Brazil, the United States, and India are the top four countries with the most significant number of unique users identified as being victimized by stalkerware. Notably, Germany is the only European country being the top 10 most affected countries. 

To address this growing issue, Kaspersky co-founded and ran the Coalition Against Stalkerware, an international group dedicated to tackling stalkerware and combating domestic violence. Kaspersky had also joined forces with Interpol in 2021 to deliver training to over 200 law enforcement officers on stalkerware. Furthermore, Kaspersky is also one of the partners of the DeStalk project, funded by the European Commission to develop a strategy to train and support professionals in victim support services, perpetrator programs, officers of institutions, and local government, amongst others.

Another is the development of TinyCheck; a free, open-source tool aimed to facilitate the detection of stalkerware in a non-invasive and straightforward way on a victim’s device. It can run on any operating system without making the perpetrator aware. 

To read the full report on The State of Stalkerware in 2021 on Securelist.

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