Kaspersky researchers have found a new sample of stalkerware — commercial software that is usually used to secretly monitor users’ partners or colleagues — which has functionality that supersedes all previously found software. Named MonitorMinor, this software enables stalkers to covertly access any data and track activity on devices they are surveying, as well as the most popular messaging services and social networks.
The very essence of stalkerware discourages user privacy, putting many people’s personal information and personal lives at risk. If people’s data is being monitored and controlled, the result is often noncyber-related consequences for the victims involved. However, the creators of MonitorMinor even go through obfuscation of the application, demonstrating that they are well aware of the existence of anti-stalkerware tools.
According to Kaspersky telemetry, India currently has the largest share of installations of this stalkerware (14.71 percent). Mexico (11.76 percent) is next, followed by Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the UK (5.88 percent in each country).
“MonitorMinor is superior to other stalkerware in many aspects and implements all kinds of tracking features, some of which are unique, and is almost impossible to detect on the victim’s device. This particular application is incredibly invasive — it completely strips the victim of any privacy in using their devices, and even enables the attacker to retrospectively look into what the victim has been doing before,” said Victor Chebyshev, Kaspersky research development team lead.
“Existence of such applications underlines the importance of protection from stalkerware and the need for joint effort in the fight for privacy. This is why it is important to highlight this application to our users which, in the hands of the abusers, could become the ultimate instrument for control. We have also pre-emptively shared information about this software with the Coalition Against Stalkerware partners, to protect as many users as possible, as soon as we can,” he added.
To minimize the risk of falling victim to a stalker, Kaspersky recommends the following:
•Block the installation of programs from unknown sources in your smartphone’s settings.
•Never disclose the password or passcode to your mobile device, even if it is with someone you trust.
•Change all security settings on your mobile device if you are leaving a relationship, such as passwords and location access settings on applications.
•Check the list of applications on your devices to find out if suspicious programs were installed without your consent.
•Use a reliable security solution that notifies you about the presence of commercial spyware programs aimed at invading your privacy on your phone, such as Kaspersky Internet Security.