back to article Security giants line up behind push to stop stalkerware being used on smartphones

A collection of security, privacy, and digital rights groups have joined up to push a campaign against stalking software. Dubbed the Coalition Against Stalkerware, the campaign will aim to help victims of stalking and domestic violence spot when their mobile phone (or other device) has been infected with tools designed to …

  1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    In the interim...

    ...surely they could solve 99% of the problem with just an app checking for the short list of Known Problems, offered Free to manufacturers for factoryinstall-bundling?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: In the interim...

      Well given the fun and games people are having with the Xhelper malware - factory reset doesn't remove it. I suspect an app checking tool won't actually do much.

      Mind you once people work out how Xhelper hides, don't be surprised if on applying the learnings to Windows we start to discover other stealthware that has been quietly doing its work for decades...

  2. jake Silver badge

    That definition covers ...

    ... pretty much every scriptable language out there.

  3. revenant

    "intimate partner surveillance"

    That part of the definition seems curiously specific, given that they also refer to government-orchestrated abuse. Almost as if they're a bit shy about giving the real reason for getting together to provide this facility.

    Whatever, it seems to be a good move so I welcome it.

  4. LDS Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "has been infected with tools designed to covertly track their activities."

    The whole Android OS? Facebook apps?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "has been infected with tools designed to covertly track their activities."

      Hey Zuck... that really does mean you.

      It won't stop until a few CEO's face a good amount of jail time.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So it's goodbye

    to G.H.C.Q. and N.S.A., Google and Facebook.

    There are real tears of misery running down my face. (NOT).


  6. tiggity Silver badge

    marketing hype

    It is not just malicious apps...

    Will need a lot of user education as so many apps leak data bout themselves

    e.g Users worried about stalking will need to ensure they have location data disabled so e.g. tweet does not show their approx location.

    They will also need to ensure social media they use strips out any location data on photos (obviously if they disable location data new phone photos wont have location data)

    People worried about stalking need to be careful not to overshare information.

    Some of the most useful apps on a phone - the "Find my Phone" type of apps, are great for people who have phone stolen / mislaid but obviously there is a security implication if someone malicious knows credentials to access that functionality

    Yes, I'm sure a few purely malicious covertly installed apps could be targeted, but lots of apps people want to use and have knowingly installed can have privacy issues that can be exploited

    1. slartybartfast

      Re: marketing hype

      Recently a tracker blocker I was using on (desktop) Firefox was removed due to it being flagged up for malicious code. I do use some security plugins to block ads, trackers and other things (in addition to the tracker blocker in Firefox) but the irony is it’s hard to completely trust these plugins aren’t up to no good or have been compromised in some way.

      Phones and tablets are more at risk because although we can use privacy browsers to (hopefully) block ads and trackers, apps have no privacy settings at all and are totally open to data mining and tracking.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the campaign will aim to help victims of stalking and domestic violence

    by creating an app. Maybe. I mean, what else do you expect Kaspersky, Norton / Symantec, Malwarebytes, G DATA, Avira, and EFF will actually DO? Provide a personalised call-in service? One-to-one sessions? Investigate individual cases? Pay for victims' private prosecutions against stalkers? Instead they will generate a wave of seminars, sessions, discussions panels, held in cushy surroundings around the globe. Not for the victims to participate, that's for sure, unless you happen to be selected to provide emotional touch.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abusively talking a domestic partner vs. DIY Private detective?

    Just want to point out that this type of software can be used to see what your lyin', cheatin' partner has been up to, where, and with who.

    It's easier than ever to cover your tracks as a cheater. The traditional "finding receipts in the sock drawer" doesn't apply when receipts are e-mailed, and so on. Laugh and mock the cheated-on if you want to be a thoughtless dick. Or you can consider finding out you married a sociopath, a professional faker with no conscience or morals. They lie like we breathe and are very good at engaging others to protect and cover for them. There are others more complex or dangerous to catch, and any evidence you find they'll try to gaslight you into disbelieving. Shadowing their phone might be the only sure way to figure out what they've been up to.

    This is doubly true for women who are being cheated on. Hey, I've know two women whose lying husbands had double lives and a second FAMILY. A month subscription to a spy app can root that sort of thing out quickly... OR provide assurance that yes, you ARE being paranoid and they're true to you.

    This kind of software can also help FREE people from abusive situations. Just sayin'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Abusively talking a domestic partner vs. DIY Private detective?

      If you're suspecting something like that enough to try tracking your partner, trust has already gone; just end the relationship, it'll be better for both of you, whether or not what you suspected was true.

    2. Mike Moyle

      Re: Abusively talking a domestic partner vs. DIY Private detective?

      "Hey, I've know two women whose lying husbands had double lives and a second FAMILY."

      However did you keep them straight?

  9. Adelio

    Just sell them an empty phone

    That is about the only way no tracking software is installed. No OS etc.

    Although The Phone companies will still know where you are!¬

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