How to protect yourself from stalking apps

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Technology is making it easier for stalkers to follow anyone by downloading any number of spyware apps.

Many parents use these cell phone tracker apps to keep tabs on their children. But they can also be used by people who want to find out information about your movements and contacts without your knowledge.

Known as stalkerware, these apps can give an abuser secret access to their target’s location, phone conversations, text and email messages, and photos. Some can even take pictures, turn on the microphone to record calls, and send commands by text to make the phone vibrate or ring.

Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued stalkerware app company Support King, LLC, which operated as SpyFone.com, and its CEO Scott Zuckerman. SpyFone allowed users to secretly track another person’s mobile device. The FTC says the company secretly harvested and shared data on people’s physical movements, phone use, and online activities through a hidden device hack. According to the FTC, SpyFone failed to ensure people were using the app for legitimate purposes and didn’t protect the information it collected, allowing stalkers or domestic abusers to track their potential targets and exposing device owners to hackers, identity thieves, and other cyber threats.

Learn more about the steps to consider if you think there’s a stalking app installed on your phone. Wondering if there’s a stalking app on your phone? Here are some signs to look for:

Image courtesy the Federal Trade Commission

For more information, read the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s technology safety tips. For more help contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at thehotline.org or 1-800-799-SAFE. You can find out about stalking laws in Massachusetts here.

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