What’s Stalkerware (Spyware) & How To Stop Stalkerware?
We all use Spyware to keep track or monitor someone’s activities for different purposes. It is now being used all around the world to steal data from business systems. It is acknowledged as one of the most creepy forms of malware. We are here to dig in deep and help you get closer to this pervasive type of cyber fraud so that you can remain secure all season and will guide you here on how to stop Stalkerware and avoid getting spied.
When it comes to Spyware, it is acknowledged as a huge part of the malware that has been developed to observe a specific activity secretly on a particular device and then share the same with the fraudster. The respective data can be taken into consideration to trace the activities performed online. The information they get can be sold online to black marketers, and this can cost businesses a lot.
It is also called Stalkerware. This can also consider stealing your personal data of yours in the form of credit card details, account passwords, and more. In the last few years, businesses around the world have reported a lot of spyware attacks that have caused losses in millions.
Most Popular Form Of Collection Data
There is no doubt in stating that Spyware is the most prominent form of gathering private data for illegal purposes. This type of action can be observed in ad networks, banking trojans, companies that are following illegal approaches, and spouses. It is quite a broad program to be in use around the world, and the influence of it can be huge and affect all.
The world is witnessing a huge spike of this malware being used. In fact, as per the report from Malwarebytes, personal spyware detection activities have increased around 30 percent in the last few years.
When it comes to business spyware detection, it has witnessed around 142 percent of a spike in the same amount of time.
This reflects how cybercriminals are interested in stealing and using data from online users. As and when they have the information, they can get the malware deployed on the respective system and ask for ransom as well.
There are different types of Spyware that are used for the purpose of stealing data. Below mentioned are the different types of Spyware that are used:
Adware: This type of Spyware is basically checking your online activity and then showing them ads that you might be interested in as per the information you are browsing. This can not only be annoying but also it has been seen that it can cause some serious damage to your system as well.
Tracking Cookies: As the name suggests, they are basically the same as adware. But, there is a difference. Tracking cookies are quite less intrusive when compared to adware.
Trojans: As and when they enter a specific device, they start looking for sensitive data in the form of account details, passwords, and more. After they collect the information, they share the same with the fraudster who is going to steal the money or make fraudulent purchases and compromise the account’s balance. This type of Spyware can also be taken into consideration for the purpose of gaining remote access to the system.
Keyloggers: This type of Spyware basically lets the miscreant get hold of every single keystroke of your keyboard that also includes the ones that you use for the purpose of logging in.
Stalkerware: This form of Spyware is configured on your mobile device so that the stalker can get complete knowledge of the owner of the phone and his or her whereabouts. This is basically used for personal purposes more than anything else. It helps them track their movements and understand the work they are doing on their back.
Delaware: These days taking advantage of online shopping sites has been the biggest trend. When an online shopping store is providing credits to a website that is helping them avail traffic, steelware intercepts and exclusively get the credit for the respective traffic so, it steals the hard work of some other professionals.
System Monitors: When it comes to system monitors, they keep a track record of everything happening on the device. Right from the keystrokes, chats, emails, dialogues to phone calls, programs launched, they keep track of every single action. This can lead to vulnerabilities and also data leaks.
So, these are the different types of spyware attacks that you might be suffering from. So, it is important that you check with the preventions as well to keep your data secure and safe all the way through. How to stop Stalkerware is still a challenge for internet security personnel.
How Does Stalkerware Work?
This type of malware attack follows two different approaches. The most common approach is making the users click on the malicious links. These links can be shared through emails, SMS, pop-ups, and ads. These links can also be found in Google search results.
There have been cases where one didn’t even click on the malicious link and yet got their system infected. This is done because of the infected ad, which is on a legitimate website. This is acknowledged as malvertising. So, when you land on legitimate websites, it automatically gets you infected, and this can prove to be costly.
There are many files that are infected, and opening the same can let the Spyware go through the systems quite quickly. So, you need to be very careful and ensure that you have all the prevention plans to keep the spyware attacks on the bay. There are ways to not only prevent but remove the same from your IT infrastructure as well to stop Stalkerware effectively.
Can Mobiles Also Fall In Trap Of Spyware Attacks?
The answer is yes! There have been many cases when mobile phones have also been the cause of data leaks or ransomware attacks. So, it can always be the target of Spyware. There are few malicious applications that can cause this problem on your mobile phone. So, you need to be very cautious with it and make sure that you only download the applications that are trusted and from authentic sources.
There is no doubt in it that Google and Apple have done a commendable job in detecting malicious applications in their online stores. But, yes, nothing is fully perfect. So, you need to always have extra protection or preventive measure available to keep this form of attack away from your system.
Stalkerware: Ways To Prevent
You might not know that there are many types of spyware attacks that you can avert from beforehand itself. We all know that most of the reason behind this kind of attack is because we go to malicious links or websites. So, if we are careful and ensure not to click on any kind of suspicious links, many attacks can be averted. It is important that you make your employees educated about the same. They must not click on any random link or website, not to open any attachment that is suspicious, and ensure that they are not downloading application that is not authorized by the Google or Apple store.
These are a few of the basic steps, if followed, that can make reduce the chances of cyberattacks quite strongly. When you are downloading files, make sure that you only do it from a trusted site. Always have good antivirus software in place to flag the links that are infected. Not having appropriate software can work against you. Cybercriminals know how to check to pass the bogus antivirus application.
While using smartphones, make sure that you only download applications from the Google play store or App Store for Apple devices. They are following strict steps to check with the applications before getting them published in the store. So, you can be certain that the applications are not infected to cause you any kind of damage. There are many kinds of mobile device management software that can help you here as well. With the help of this software, you are only able to download the applications that are approved in terms of quality and security.
Another important aspect that you need to keep in mind is a password to access your device, whether it is your laptop or smartphone. You never know who can access your device and install spyware. So, it is always wise to create a password to unlock your device and remain prevented from any kind of such attacks.
So, if you think you are safe while not clicking on the suspicious links or not opening the malicious files, or getting the right tools installed, there is still a long way to go. All the above specified preventive measures were the basic step to keep the Stalkerware attacks away. But there is still a possibility of the same. It can also happen because of browser vulnerabilities. This can be prevented by keeping your browser version up-to-date. It enhances the security patches of your browser and lets you remain protected from any kind of Stalkerware attacks.
Another way Stalkerware attacks can haunt you is through advertising and pop-up windows. There are many ways that can help you remain secure from this type of malware attack. Browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox come with built-in pop window blockers. So, if there is any spyware attack through pop-up, it gets blocked by the browser itself. The browser is going to alert you about the same as well.
When it comes to advertising threats, you can keep the system protected through ad-blocker installation in the browser. Adblock Plus is one of the most prominent programs known for blocking ads. So, you can make use of it and keep your system completely safe and secure.
So, these are a few of the steps that you must consider following to prevent spyware attacks on your system. But, what are the steps to be taken if they spyware attack is already happening? We have few tricks for that even, keep reading.
How To Stop Stalkerware?
There are times when our system is not responding properly to our commands, and we ignore the same. But, it has been observed that if the system is crashing a lot or being sluggish, then there is a possibility of a Stalkerware attack. You need to act quickly and get the infection removed before it spreads too far.
It is quite a challenging task to get rid of a malware attack manually. In the case of Stalkerware, things get even worse. It has been developed to remain in the form of clandestine. This means it is going to remain hidden, but keep making feel its presence as well. Make sure you do not check with the system resources because it is supposed to be a dead end. Most of the Spyware names their files as per the system resources to trap you in and hide their identity as well.
There are few programs that can help you on how to detect and stop Stalkerware. Most of these programs are free as well. So, you just need to find the right one for your system and run against attack. A few of the programs that you can consider are:
- AVG AntiVirus, Adaware,
- Avast Free Antivirus,
- Trend Micro HouseCall,
- and SpyBot Search & Destroy
When it comes to smartphones, the symptoms are more or less similar to that of your personal or office system. But, there are many other signs as well that you can keep track of like,
Your phone starting itself,
- Not responding right away,
- Fast draining of your batter,
- Data usage surge,
- Unusual texts
- and more.
If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned scenarios, then you must not wait a single minute and act right away. The best possible step you can take is to uninstall any application that is not unauthorized. If you have downloaded any application outside Google or Apple store, then it can cause harm. You must uninstall the same without any delay. Make sure that all your data is properly backed up. After the backup, reset your phone to factory settings. But, make sure that you update your device to its latest version to gain an updated security patch.
Hopefully, you are clear about what Stalkerware is and how it can act on your system or mobile phone. You need to be very careful and always have a specialist to assist you with the same. The above-mentioned preventive measures are always going to be an advantage to have. It helps you remain a step ahead of the cybercriminals that can keep your data safe and secure all the time.
We have covered this topic in our CEH v11 modules. Check this out!