Smartphones as well as various gadgets play a great role in our everyday life. The variety of features and options opens up new opportunities, so voice calls take less than a half of the time we spend with mobile phones. At the same time, those features hide many risks, because the input data we bring into our devices is quite large.
To increase online security and privacy is one of LLHOST INC. key targets. That is why we bring it up again. We have posted an article earlier referring to the fact that many applications get access to your personal data.
The most dangerous of them are spyware/stalkerware. What it is? How to recognize it and to prevent? What are the methods of protection? - those are our today's article about.
Stalkerware is malware that tracks and transmits data to a third party without the user’s consent and knowledge.
According to the NortonLifeLock research, the number of devices infected with spyware has increased by 63% in 2022. Russia, Brazil and the United States of America (USA) are the top three of the most affected countries in the world. In Europe, that top belongs to Germany, Italy and the UK.
Why is spyware so dangerous?
Eva Galperin, the Director of Cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), says that spyware is particularly harmful as our smartphones are an extremely rich data source.
These apps are capable of the following actions:
- track your location,
- listen and record your telephone conversations,
- get passwords to the social media accounts you access from your phone,
- browse photos and videos in the gallery,
- check your browser history,
- collect calendar info (scheduled meetings and events),
- and even read any messages (email, text messages), including messengers and social media!
You can download a stalker app disguised as applications with another functionality, including system ones, or install any application with embedded spyware. Please remember that you can be provided with a phone already affected by stalkerware.
How to detect a spy app on my device?
Stalkerware actively use the resources of the device to connect to the servers that control their work. Since they all are constantly running in the background, we have the following warning signs:
- strong heating of the device,
- unexpected battery drain,
- increase of mobile data usage,
- device malfunctions, system crashes, and device failures have become more frequent,
- unusual pop-up messages and notifications,
- location service is always turned on,
- personalized device settings change: new icons, search engine or home page,
- device runs out of space quickly.
How to protect your device from stalkerware?
There are few simple steps you can take to help users reduce the risk of spyware affecting your devices:
Password. Set up a strong password on your phone of at least 8 characters, consisting not only of letters, but also numbers. Don’t share them with anyone either! Change your password regularly, every few months.
Antivirus. Install an antivirus that can recognize the “spy”.
VPN service. Configure a VPN for your online privacy protection. Private VPN server is able to anonymize user data by changing location and encrypting traffic.*
Applications. Download apps only from official sources, review the permissions of already installed applications.
Access. Do not leave your phone unattended. Your safety is up on you!
*VPN server from LLHOST INC. sets up in two clicks: install the application and download the configuration file you receive by email after placing an order.
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