Late Post

Use of abusive stalkerware against women skyrocketed in 2020

The use of harmful stalkerware applications as a tool of domestic abuse against women has spiked in the past 12 months, with much of the increase correlating closely to a rise in reports of domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdowns around the world, according to the Coalition Against Stalkerware, a cross-sector group dedicated to ending the use of stalkerware.

Stalkerware is commercially available, and usually entirely legal, mobile surveillance software that enables an abuser to intrude into, and exert control over, their victim’s private life by monitoring their device’s messages, photos, social media, location data, audio and camera recordings without their knowledge or consent.

Marking both its first anniversary and the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Coalition today reported statistics from some of its members, cyber security firms Malwarebytes and F-Secure, detailing the increased use of such tools.

“Over the last year, we have made significant strides in educating the public about the growing dangers of stalkerware, thanks to the incredible efforts of our partners,” said David Ruiz, online privacy advocate at Malwarebytes.

“Sharing information and working together is critical to ensuring that we help reduce the dangers of apps that can be