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Stalkerware often masquerades as legitimate anti-theft or parental control applications on smartphones, tablets, and computers. However, their true nature is much different than it seems.

These software, which are usually installed without the consent and notification of the person being monitored, allow the perpetrator who installs the software to have control over the life of the victim to whom the software is installed. stalkerware Software capabilities vary depending on the application.

It revealed that 31 thousand 31 unique people worldwide were affected by tracking software in 2023, and this number increased by 5.8% compared to 2022. The figures confirm that the downward trend in 2021 has reversed and digital harassment remains a global problem.

In 2023, Russia, Brazil and India were the top three countries most affected by this type of software in terms of the number of users. Iran, which was in the top five the previous year, is still in the top five.

Compared to 2021, the top 10 countries affected by this issue have changed little. While Germany dropped from 7th to 10th place, Saudi Arabia, which ranked 8th in 2022, is not among the most affected countries this year.

stalkerware

Stalking software and offline-online violence relationship

More than a third (39%) of respondents globally reported experiencing violence or abuse from a current or former partner.

Of those questioned for the report, 23% said they had recently experienced some form of online stalking from someone they were dating. Additionally, 40% of participants overall reported being followed or suspected of being followed.

On the other hand, 12% of respondents admitted to installing or setting parameters on their partner’s phone, and 9% admitted to pressuring their partner to install tracking apps.

However, the idea of ​​unknowingly monitoring their partner was not approved by the majority of individuals (54%) and an attitude was expressed that they were against such behavior.

Regarding attitudes towards consensual monitoring of a partner’s online activities, 45% of respondents expressed disapproval, highlighting the importance of privacy rights.

In contrast, 27% supported full transparency in relationships and viewed consensual monitoring as appropriate, while 12% found it acceptable only when mutual agreement was reached.

Fighting Stalkerware

The use of stalkerware software is not prohibited in many countries of the world. However, installing such an application on another person’s smartphone without their consent can be punished as an illegal act.

However, the person who will be held responsible for the situation is not the developer of the application, but the user, that is, the perpetrator. Stalkerware, along with other related technologies, is an element of technology-assisted exploitation and is often used for abusive purposes in relationships.

First of all, Stalkerware is not a technical problem, but a problem that requires action from all segments of society.

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Security

The Eight Most Common Mobile Threats

We trust our mobile phones with everything, both private and work-related, but we do not pay enough attention to mobile security. Don’t underestimate the issue of mobile threats.

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We trust our mobile phones with everything, both private and work-related, but we do not pay enough attention to mobile security. Don’t underestimate the issue of mobile threats.

According to a recently released report by Verizon, many people underestimate the issue of mobile threats. Almost half (49%) of users believe that clicking on a malicious link or attachment could only negatively impact their device.

The average user’s SMS phishing The probability of being exposed to attacks is 6-10 times higher than email-based attacks.

People often combine their personal and work lives on a single device. 78 percent of users use their work devices for personal activities, and 72 percent use their personal devices for business activities.

mobile threat

The most common mobile threat topics:

Phishing: Attackers use social engineering techniques to persuade individuals to click on malicious links, share personal information, download malware, or provide account information via email (phishing), SMS (smishing), or calls (vishing).

SIM hijacking: SIM hijacking occurs when an attacker uses personal information they find on the internet to impersonate someone else and contact a telecom provider to redirect your calls or messages to their device, giving them easy access to your data.

Malicious apps: Disguised as legitimate applications, these applications are often accidentally downloaded from unofficial sources such as third-party app stores or websites, or through phishing emails that direct victims to visit these app stores and websites.

Once installed on a device, these malicious apps can perform various harmful actions such as data theft, financial fraud, or acting as spyware.

mobile threat

Fake banking apps: It is a dangerous type of malicious application. If you unknowingly download and install a fake banking app, you could enter sensitive information such as login details, account numbers, and other personal data into the app and unintentionally hand that information over to cybercriminals.

Fake credit apps: Deceptive apps posing as legitimate lenders offering high-interest loans are created by cybercriminals to collect victims’ personal and financial information. They can then use the collected data for identity theft, financial fraud or other malicious activities.

Ransomware: During a ransomware attack, cybercriminals may encrypt your files and demand a payment. They may claim that if you accept their demands, they will give you a decryption key. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Poor physical security: Weak authentication methods are a big problem when it comes to mobile threats. Cyber ​​criminals who take over your device can easily access your data or payment information and use it as they wish.

Similarly, if you lose your device and it is not adequately protected, you can jeopardize not only your own cybersecurity but also your company’s cybersecurity.

Unsecure Wi-Fi: If you’re using public Wi-Fi at a hotel or coffee shop, you may be the target of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, in which an attacker can interfere with communications between your device and the website you want to connect to.

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Security

Do Wearable Devices Present a Privacy Risk?

Smartwatches, fitness trackers and other wearable devices have become as commonplace as our mobile phones and tablets. These connected devices do much more than tell the time.

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Smartwatches, fitness trackers and other wearable devices have become as commonplace as our mobile phones and tablets. These connected devices do much more than tell the time.

While wearable devices are entering our daily lives more than ever before, they are also collecting more data and connecting to an increasing number of other smart systems.

It is useful to understand these potential security and privacy risks in advance. Threatening There are many ways for actors to monetize attacks against smart wearable devices and the related application and software ecosystem.

They can intercept and manipulate data and passwords and unlock lost or stolen devices. There are also potential privacy concerns about secretly sharing personal data with third parties.

wearable devices

Where do wearable device ecosystems fall short?

The device you plug in is only part of the picture. In fact, there are multiple elements, from the device’s software to the protocols it uses to connect to its application and back-end cloud servers. All are vulnerable to attack if security and privacy have not been properly taken into account by the manufacturer. Here are a few of them:

Bluetooth: Bluetooth Low Energy is often used to pair wearable devices with your smartphone. However, over the years, numerous security vulnerabilities have been discovered in the protocol. These vulnerabilities could allow close-range attackers to crash devices, spy on information, or manipulate data.

Devices: Often the software on the device is vulnerable to external attacks due to bad programming. Even the best designed watch is ultimately made by humans and therefore may contain coding errors. These can lead to privacy leaks, data loss, and more. Additionally, weak authentication/encryption on devices can mean that they are subject to interception and eavesdropping. Users should also be aware of shoulder surfers when viewing sensitive messages/data on their wearable devices in public places.

Applications: Smartphone apps connected to wearable devices are another attack route. They can be poorly written and full of security vulnerabilities, revealing access to user data and devices. Another risk is that applications and even users are careless about data. You may accidentally download fake apps designed to look like legitimate apps and enter your personal information into them.

Back servers: As mentioned, providers’ cloud-based systems can store device information, including location data and other details. This presents a tempting target for attackers. There’s not much you can do about this other than choosing a reputable provider with a good track record in security.

wearable devices

Tips for keeping wearable devices safe

  • Be careful to choose reputable wearable device providers.
  • Take a close look at the privacy and security settings to make sure they are configured correctly.
  • Change settings to prevent unauthorized pairing.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication.
  • Password protect lock screens.

Protect your smartphone:

  • Only use legal app stores
  • Keep all software updated
  • Never jailbreak/root devices
  • Limit app permissions
  • Install reputable security software on the device

Protect your smart home:

  • Don’t sync wearables to your front door
  • Take care to keep devices on the guest Wi-Fi network
  • Update all devices to the latest firmware
  • Make sure all device passwords have been changed from factory default settings
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Security

53% of Malware Steals Data!

The share of corporate devices compromised by data-stealing malware has increased by a third since 2020. 21% of employees whose devices were infected ran the malware repeatedly.

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The share of corporate devices compromised by data-stealing malware has increased by a third since 2020. 21% of employees whose devices were infected ran the malware repeatedly.

An alarming trend has emerged that shows corporate devices are facing a growing threat from information thieves. The share of corporate users compromised by such malware has increased by 34 percent since 2020, according to data from data-stealing malware session files found on the dark web.

By 2023, experts show that one in every two devices (53%) infected with identity-stealing software will be corporate. Data shows that the most infostealer infections are found in Windows 10 Enterprise edition.

malicious

Recommended Steps to Minimize the Impact of Data Leakage

After infecting a single device, cybercriminals can gain access to entire accounts – both personal and corporate. According to Kaspersky statistics, a session file contains, on average, 1.85 corporate web applications containing a login with a corporate email address.

These applications include webmail applications, customer data processing systems, internal portal and more.

To minimize the impact of a data leak caused by phishing activities, we recommend you follow the steps below

  • Immediately change the passwords of compromised accounts and monitor these accounts for suspicious activity;
  • Advise potentially infected users to run antivirus scans and remove malware on all devices;
  • Monitor dark web markets for compromised accounts to detect compromised accounts before they impact the cybersecurity of customers or employees.
  • To detect potential threats and take immediate action security software use it.

For greater protection against skimming infections, develop an employee security awareness program and offer regular training and evaluations.

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