Stalkerware remains significant problem throughout COVID lockdowns

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Stalkerware remains a significant problem with more 50,0000 users affected globally in 2020, according to new research from Kaspersky.

The recent Kaspersky report, The State of Stalkerware 2020, found a total of 53,870 mobile users were affected globally by the secret surveillance software used in the field of domestic violence.

The situation has not much improved compared to the year before. In 2019, Kaspersky discovered 67,500 affected mobile users. 

“At the same time, when talking about improvements, it is important to take the start of the pandemic into account as stalkerware is often used to digitally control the life of an intimate partner,” Kaspersky says. 

“With this in mind, it is unsurprising that the yearly curve of users affected by stalkerware globally shows a decline in reports from March to June 2020, before numbers began to stabilizs thereafter. This coincides with the beginning of worldwide lockdowns, and later when many countries around the world began to ease restrictions.”

Global dimension of stalkerware

Stalkerware is a form of cyberviolence, and a global phenomenon that affects countries regardless of size, society, or culture: Russia, Brazil, the United States of America, India and Mexico are at the top of Kaspersky’s 2020 list of countries where users are most impacted. Below them, Germany is the first European country, occupying sixth place in the global rankings. Iran, Italy, the United Kingdom and, lastly, Saudi Arabia complete the ten most affected nations.

Table 1 – 2020 Top ten most affected countries by stalkerware – globally

1 Russian Federation

Affected users: 12,389

2 Brazil

Affected users: 6523

3 United States of America

Affected users: 4745

4 India

Affected users: 4627

5 Mexico: 

Affected users: 1570

6 Germany

Affected users: 1547

7 Iran

Affected users: 1345

8 Italy

Affected users: 1144

9 United Kingdom

Affected users: 1009

10 Saudi Arabia

Affected users: 968

“We see the number of users affected by stalkerware has remained high and we detect new samples every day,” says Victor Chebyshev, Research Development Team Lead, Kaspersky.

“It’s important to remember that there is somebody’s real life story behind all…