Google has removed seven apps that are essentially stalker apps from the Play Store. A number of these were disguised as tools to keep track of employees or children. That said, the reality is that they can be used to stalk just about anyone. They have also been installed about 130000 times in total.
Being apps made for stalking, you’d be expecting that they are able to give your location away to the stalker. But these stalkerware do more than just that, allowing victims’ contacts, SMS and call history to be monitored as well. And despite being different apps, they basically operate in the same way.
The stalker does need physical access to your device. But once that happens, they’ll simply download the stalkerware from the Google Play Store. The stalkerware then asks for the stalker’s email address and password, where the other half of the app is sent to. It also the provides steps to uninstall noticeable elements from the victim’s phone, so that the stalkerware remains undetected.
Cybersecurity company Avast made the initial discovery last week, reporting four of the apps to Google. Researchers from the company then discovered three more, all of which have since been removed from the Google Play Store. The company also suspects that all seven apps were designed by a Russian developer.