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Tens of thousands of mobile users were infected by the class of software known generically as stalkerware last year. According to just-published research by Kaspersky, 2020 lockdowns related to the global COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on installations, but the scourge of privacy-busting software still invaded the lives of many at-risks individuals. According to Kaspersky’s “The State of Stalkerware 2020” report, there were 53,870 mobile users within its telemetry who were affected by stalkerware during the year. That’s a drop from the year before, when 67,500 mobile users were affected, but still up from the 40,386 instances detected amongst Kaspersky’s client base in 2018. This is despite the fact that Google banned stalkerware apps from Google Play last year. Stalkerware is defined as software that can be installed on someone’s phone, allowing the person’s physical location to be tracked, calls and messages monitored, social-media activity snooped upon, and photos and videos to be seen. It can also switch on a device’s camera to see what the target is doing or who the person is with. In general, it allows someone to remotely spy on another person’s life via their digital device. This is usually done without the affected user giving their consent or being notified. The Coalition Against Stalkerware warns that these pernicious apps “may facilitate intimate partner surveillance, harassment, abuse, stalking and/or violence.” The issue statistically does correlate to…

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