Coalition Against Stalkerware’s One Year Anniversary Recognizes Milestones, New Members and Celebrates UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women | Coronavirus

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WOBURN, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov 25, 2020–

Today, the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women also coincides closely with the Coalition Against Stalkerware’s one year anniversary. In its first year, the Coalition has more than doubled its membership, expanding both in geography and expertise in its partners including domestic violence advocacy and direct service organizations, IT security vendors, mobile security companies, privacy solutions providers, an association of technology journalists, and organizations focused on cyber safety.

For some years, the problem of stalkerware has been on the rise. Non-profit organizations are experiencing a growing number of survivors seeking help with the problem, and cybersecurity companies are detecting a consistent increase in these harmful applications. Launched in November 2019, the Coalition Against Stalkerware became an important organization dedicated to protecting consumers from abuse, stalking and harassment via commercially-available surveillance software.

Stalkerware programs enable an abuser to intrude into a person’s private life and can be used as a tool for abuse in cases of domestic violence and stalking. By installing these applications on a person’s device, abusers can get access to their victim’s messages, photos, social media, geolocation, audio or camera recordings (in some cases, this can be done in real-time). Such programs run hidden in the background, without a victim’s knowledge or consent.

Data from member organizations has shown a sharp rise in stalkerware apps in recent years.

  • In 2019, Kaspersky detected a 67% year-on-year increase of stalkerware usage on its users’ mobile devices at a global level. The number of stalkerware installations worldwide during the first 10 months of 2020 (from January to October) totaled more than 48,500, which is close to the total (almost 52,000 installations) observed over the same period in 2019.
  • According to Malwarebytes, while these apps have always presented a significant threat to users, the shelter-in-place orders that began taking effect in March 2020 resulted in a dramatic uptick in usage….

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