When people say “There’s an app for everything”, they probably didn’t refer to having apps that can stalk people. But apparently, those exist too and have been used by around 130,000 people to spy on their significant others, employees, and kids. After a report from Avast identified 7 such apps that have apparently escaped detection, Google has now removed those apps from the Google Play Store as they are in obvious violation of its policy that prohibits commercial spyware app.
Avast released a report after they detected seven apps on the Google Play Store that are masquerading as a way for parents to monitor their kids’ smartphone usage but are in fact just stalkerware. These apps have been downloaded 130,000 times collectively and if you’re the one being stalked, on the surface you have no way of knowing that a spyware has been installed in your device and someone is monitoring your every move.
For it to work, the “stalker” should have physical access to their “prey’s” phone. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and then installed on the target device. The app will prompt the installer to put their email address and password and then the spying app will be sent there. If successfully installed, the snoop will be able to track the surveilled person’s activities like location, contacts, SMS and call history.
Obviously, the apps are meant to be hidden since you will also be given instructions on how to prevent the owner from knowing something has been installed on their device. Obviously there are moral and ethical issues here, not to mention criminal, since it’s an obvious violation of one’s privacy. Google immediately removed the seven apps that Avast were able to identify through their mobile threat detection platform apbklab.io.
The seven apps identified were the following:
* Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free
* Spy Kids Tracker
* Phone Cell Tracker
* Mobile Tracking
* Spy Tracker
* SMS Tracker
* Employee Work Spy