There are applications on our phone that can track our data by our permission. However, there are or rather were some apps in the Play Store that could stalk and track you without you even being aware of it.
Around seven harmful apps were disclosed by Avast antivirus company. On investigating, it was found that they were using the phone’s GPS to track people. Therefore, following Avast’s discovery, Google Play Store removed apps that were being used for spying on people.
These apps tracked the location of the victim, gained access to their contacts, call history, and text messages eventually. Including that, these apps pitch themselves as kids and employee monitoring tool.
Know the Applications Removed by Google
Google has been quite concerned regarding the applications that were considered to be malicious lately. To be more precise, there were seven apps that were removed by Google. Here, we have listed them below.
- Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free
- Spy kids Tracker
- Phone cell Tracker
- Mobile Tracker
- Spy Tracker
- SMS Tracker
- Employee Work Spy
“Spy Tracker” was the most popular app among the seven. Its comment indicated that the app was utilized for stalking romantic partners. Moreover, this app has around 130,000 downloads.
The head of mobile threat intelligence and security of Avast, Nikolaos Chrysaidos, stated that “These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people’s privacy and shouldn’t be on the Google Play Store”.
He further added, “They promote criminal behavior and can be abused by employers, stalkers or abusive partners to spy on their victims. We classify such apps as stalkerware.” The process of installing these apps was as easy as any other app.
Now it’s high time and as a result, Google should take some bold steps to protect Play Store and the trust of the Android users. However, in the library of over 2.7-million apps, there are bound to be some malicious apps. Thus, Google should try to remove most of the apps as soon as possible.
Identify and Get Rid of Stalkerware: An Ultimate Guide
Although Google Play Store removed apps which were basically stalkerware, it is not going to stop the developers to come with similar applications.
The developers claim that these apps are “child monitoring” app which gives them the excuse to exist. Hence, fighting with these unethical apps now rests on us, the ordinary users.
So how would you know if any stalkerware is installed on your phone or not? As a matter of fact, there are not many ways to clearly indicate that.
Once installed, these apps download additional software and instruct the user to delete the original app so no trace of it can be found on the device. This enables the apps to function in the background and as a result, the owner of the device will not be able to detect it.
However, if you have a friend, spouse or a family member, who has any knowledge regarding your activities, then your phone might be infected with a stalkerware.
If such is the case, then your best option is to simply restore your phone to the factory settings. By doing this, you will remove any extra code compromising your privacy and replace it with a new and clear version of the Android OS.
Following that, you need to download all your apps, videos, photos and contacts again. Thus, make sure to backup all of your apps and personal data before resetting your device.
Techniques to Safely Backup and Reset your Android Device
After completing the backup of your personal data, you have to navigate to the Settings, and then tap on Backup & Reset option. After doing so, you have to select Factory Data Reset.
This will delete your phone’s existing Android version and will replace it with a fresh version. In addition, if you want extra security, you can update it to the latest Android version.
As technology is getting more invasive day-by-day, people with wrong intentions will try to take advantage of it.
However, if we keep our privacy as the number one priority, they will make smarter choices regarding technologies.
Even after the doom-and-gloom talk from the analyst, if we follow safe data practice, our future can be in safe hands without compromising any privacy.
I hope this article has helped you to understand stalkerware, its effects and how to deal with it in detail.
Even if Google Play Store removed apps of such malicious nature, there are still other malicious applications that Google has not managed to identify yet.
However, following the steps above will keep your privacy intact. If you have any queries, you can comment down below.