Google has removed seven stalker apps that were accessible on its Play Store as apps for children’s safety or discovering stolen phones, however, were being used to stalk workers, sentimental accomplices or children.
Google Removes 7 Apps from PlayStore for Spying Users Information
The apps had the option to follow the surveilled person’s location, gather their contacts, SMS and call history.
Mobile risk specialists at hostile to anti-virus company Avast found the apps on Google Play Store that were all imaginable structured by a Russian designer.
Avast revealed these apps to Google which at that point removed them from the Play Store.
The apps have been introduced a consolidated multiple times, with the most-introduced applications being Spy Tracker, and SMS Tracker, both with more than 50,000 installs.
“These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people’s privacy and shouldn’t be on the Google Play Store,” Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Avast’s head of mobile threat intelligence and security, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“They promote criminal behaviour, and can be abused by employers, stalkers or abusive partners to spy on their victims. We classify such apps as stalkerware,” he added.
It’s difficult to discern whether your gadget has stalkerware installed on it as you won’t see an app symbol on your phone.
The apps require the person to approach the phone they need to keep an eye on. The person can download the apps from the Google Play Store and install them on the objective gadget.
The app at that point prompts the person who installed the app to enter their email address and password. The spying app is sent there.
“Upon setup, there is no app icon, so the targeted person does not see any sign of the stalkerware app installed on their phone,” said Avast.
For example, the description of “Spy Tracker” app on Google Play read: “Find out more about your child’s life, interests, friends and plans. Parents are responsible for every step that their kids make. So this app is created to monitor them and protect them from dangers that can be revealed via cell phone.”
According to SMS Tracker, “our app will help you monitor work time of your employees to save time and save money. Notify the users of work phones that you are going to install the app. It will teach your employees to use their time at work wisely, to reduce time spent on messengers and arrive to work in time”.
In April, Russian digital security organization Kaspersky Lab said it would begin hailing stalkerware as vindictive. In 2018, it distinguished stalkerware on 58,487 mobile phones.