The Avast Threat Labs finds that digital threats to privacy and security have increased following the introduction of containment measures. This observation would be almost harmless if only the anti-malware publisher correlates the proliferation of spyware and harassment software with the increase in domestic violence during the same period.
The attack tracking laboratory noted a 51% increase in the use of spyware and stalkerware between March and June 2020, compared to January and February 2020. This represents an increase of 46% in average per month compared to the first two months of the year.
And this is where we leave the purely technological domain of cybersecurity to enter the social domain of domestic violence. Because this growing digital threat has the backdrop of an increase in domestic violence during confinement. During this period, 3919, the emergency telephone number, intended for women victims of domestic violence in France, was dialed 9,906 times in April 2020 (compared to 5,098 times the same month in 2019). In addition, calls from relatives and neighbors to the police to report a situation of domestic violence (as a proportion of all calls about it) increased between February and April 2020, ranging from 23% to 31%.
Spy on victim to tighten grip
When we analyze how this software works, we better understand the correlation established by Avast researchers. Stalkerware is malware that allows you to locate a person, access their personal photos and videos, intercept their e-mail, messages and conversations on applications such as WhatsApp and Messenger, as well as listen to his phone calls and record his conversations on the Internet without his knowledge.
Thanks to this malware, the executioners have tools that Avast does not hesitate to describe as domestic malware. This grip is facilitated by the proliferation of connected devices, and the existence of stealthy spy and harassment applications is another way for attackers to exercise control over their victims, who are unable to leave their homes due containment measures.
” Stalkerware identifies an emerging category of domestic malware with worrisome and dangerous implicationssays Jaya Baloo, CISO of Avast.While spyware and infostealers aim to steal personal data, stalkerware is different: it deprives the victim of his physical and cyber freedom. Usually secretly installed on cell phones by so-called friends, jealous spouses, ex-partners, and even concerned relatives, stalkerwares track the physical location of the victim, monitor the sites visited on the Internet, text messages and messages. telephone calls, thereby violating a person’s individual and online freedom“