When I was a kid, I didn’t have many worries. My biggest concerns revolved around knowing how to strap my roller blades up correctly and keeping an eye on the sunset so I could head home before curfew. Today’s kids, however, have to worry about other things—things like stalkerware.
Stalkerware is one of the many pieces of malware that threatens your family’s cyber safety. Stalkerware attacks are rare, but if you and your kids are actively exploring the digital landscape (and let’s face it: who isn’t?), it’s pretty important to know what stalkerware is and how to go about stalkerware removal.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s make like a penguin and dive right in!
What Is Stalkerware?
Stalkerware, also known as spyware, is exactly what the name suggests: software that stalks you and your family. The Coalition Against Stalkerware defines it as “software programs, apps, and devices that enable someone to secretly spy on another person’s private life via their mobile device.” Basically, stalkerware lets hackers, tech abusers, and stalkers bug your device so they can monitor your digital activity.
Stalkerware is pretty freaky because it allows hackers to get a ton of data about your digital going-ons. People who use stalkerware can track your online activity—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They can also read your texts, listen to private phone calls, and even track your location via GPS. Yikes!
How Does Stalkerware Infect My Child’s Device?
Thankfully, it’s pretty difficult for hackers to infect a device with stalkerware. These nefarious applications typically need to be downloaded directly onto your child’s device, meaning that hackers need to bypass your child’s phone password and account passwords before they can download any malware. Good news: if your child has complex, secure passwords, there isn’t much to worry about.
Some devious hackers have found a way around this, however. CNET reports that the application Loverspy, for example, delivered its code onto a targeted computer via an email. The email contained an attached e-card, which caused a drive-by download to install the software onto their device when it was opened. Thankfully this can be avoided pretty easily: just don’t click on unknown links!
How to Find Stalkerware
As you’ve probably already guessed, stalkerware isn’t going to be easy to find. It’s designed to be undetectable, so don’t count on finding stalkerware by looking for apps titled “STALKERWARE APP” in big, red letters. Instead, here are two things you can do to locate stalkerware on your phone and PC:
- Search through every app installed on your device. Sometimes stalkerware is disguised as common software, like a camera or calculator app. If you suspect that someone is spying on your phone or computer, go through every app individually. Confirm that the app fulfills the function you expect it to, and immediately delete any that arouse suspicion.
- Scan for stalkerware with an anti-spyware tool. Because cybersecurity is such a prevalent issue in today’s technological world, many security companies offer anti-spyware software that can scan your device for malware like stalkerware. If it finds anything shady, it will send your device an alert. Software like this is typically available only on computers and Android phones, so if you’re an avid iPhoner, you may be out of luck.
How to Perform Stalkerware Removal
So, you clicked on the ol’ calculator app and discovered that it’s actually stalkerware: now what? Here are three easy ways to get rid of stalkerware once you’ve found it lurking in the recesses of your device’s data.
- Enact a factory reset. When you find malware on your phone, the easiest way to get rid of it is to return it to factory settings. This wipes your phone entirely, ensuring that all negative software is removed. However, it also removes everything positive that you have on your phone, including pictures and songs, so make sure you take some time to back up your data and protect all your memories so they don’t get wiped away forever.
- Update your phone’s OS. A lot of malware is designed specifically for the operating systems they’re downloaded onto, so updating your device’s operating system to a newer edition (or downgrading it to an older OS) could disable stalkerware.
- Use an anti-spyware app. The aforementioned anti-spyware apps do more than just detect malware—they remove it for you as well. Remember: these services cost money, so do some research and make sure you’re choosing a good one before you commit.
Troomi Protects Your Kids from Stalkerware
Hackers that create and utilize stalkerware are sneaky, and their tricks may beguile your children into downloading stalkerware onto their mobile phone.
There’s nothing more important than your child’s safety; that’s why smartphones from Troomi Wireless use security to protect them from digital stalkers and hackers. Click here to learn a bit more about how Troomi smartphones keep your kids safe from harm—while helping them have fun flexing their creative muscles at the same time.Stalkerware is sneaky and sophisticated, sketchy and security-compromising. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to perform stalkerware removal. Just follow these steps and your child’s device will be secure in no time!