back to article Forget biz insider threats for a moment – let's talk about partners turning rogue and installing spyware on phones

Cybersecurity vendors have long warned of insider threats in corporate environments, but less attention has been paid to an insider threat closer to home: abusive partners and family members. In a paper recently published through the Journal of Cybersecurity, Cornell University assistant professor Karen Levy and security …

  1. GrapeBunch

    The Humanity

    Their song is:

    Keep your password list furled

    'Cause it's a Stasi kind of world.

    If they were working for me, I'd say, "Great marketing idea for the Work-at-Home paradigm, but why didn't you deploy it weeks ago?" More importantly, does El Reg support an equivalent for <br>, which doesn't work? I can't get my comments to look the way I want them to. Yes, these are the words that might have spewed from the mouth of a t()tAl n0ob. I've put that, so nobody else needs to.

    1. Glen 1

      Re: The Humanity

      From the Rules page - edited so there is no invalid HTML:

      "You can use basic HTML to format your text - once you have had five posts accepted for publication. Currently we allow: b, strong, em, i and s (strike was dropped in HTML5). Badge holders can also use sub, sup, ul, li, blockquote, q, code, and pre."

      Code and pre tags use the formatting literally(?) That's for badge holders only though. Otherwise newlines are assumed to be paragraph tags

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Humanity

        I miss <blink>

        1. Joe Harrison

          Re: The Humanity

          And where the hell is <marquee> it's my human right you know. If it was good enough for me to use everywhere on MySpace it's good enough for El Reg.

      2. GrapeBunch

        Re: The Humanity

        Thanks for finding those rules, Glen 1. I remember having a badge, but see that my bronze must have been taken away, and fully deserved of course, for relative inactivity in a recent year. But even then I would have been up the creek because of lack of imagination. pre is a perfectly good stand-in for br.

        I guess I got five downvotes for allowing a blank line to appear where anyone would want to get rid of it, and five downvotes because as an uppity no-badger I was asking for too much.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But what is to be done about

    abusive controlling relationships between national governments and their citizens ?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: But what is to be done about

      From the article: design the technology to empower and inform users

      I was thinking something _like_ this while reading, then saw it at the end. "Empower Users" so THEY have complete and informed control of everything on their own devices.

  3. Dinanziame Silver badge

    All well and good

    However, this type of situations often include the victim not being able to stand up to the abusive treatment, and having to obey orders. So short of making it impossible foranybody to install a tracing app — not even the victim — I'm not sure what technological solution there is.

    As the authors themselves note, there are legitimate uses, and no good way to make distinctions.

    They might as well ask video camera makers what they do to protect the privacy of people.

    1. I am the liquor

      Re: All well and good

      You could make it possible for the victim to suspend or alter tracking in a way that's not apparent to the tracker.

  4. C. P. Cosgrove

    A real problem.

    I am a moderator on Bleeping Computer and every so often we get topics started by people who are being surveilled by ex partners or lovers or suffering abuse in one form or another. It is not a problem that BC was set up to handle and apart from the obvious - change accounts, change passwords, report it to the police - there isn't all that much we can do to help.

    After all, why should you have to close say your Facebook account because somebody is posting comments on it slagging you off ?

    Chris Cosgrove

  5. BigE

    It's far more prevalent and rampant than you think.

    Remember all those uncanny "coincidences" and other happening that you thought that were more than just random chance acts. As usual keep a list, do the maths and look for details, and you might find out that you are being snooped on.

    The only solution for people that are found to have stalking tenancies is a global database with their details, like a sex offender register. Some people just can't be helped.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's far more prevalent and rampant than you think.

      Details, details... I'd like to think there'd be somewhere you could note a "red flag" about someone, that when eleven other people said same, would be notable.

      Yet, details even from the well-meaning can make a lynching: What It’s Like to Get Doxed for Taking a Bike Ride

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Foreign and Virtual and Alien Phorms of EMPowerment and Enjoinment for Enjoyment ... The New Norm ‽

    "The key is to design the technology to empower and inform users about what data is accessible and by whom. A lot of times, devices disclose information to other people in our lives without anybody even intentionally snooping for it! We've designed technology without taking these kinds of threats seriously."

    Now that's a fertile trio of sentences which tell one little of another real truth available which is much more attuned to ..... The key is to design the technology to empower and inform abusers and misusers about what data is accessible to them. A lot of times, devices disclose information about other people in our lives without anybody even intentionally snooping for it and you can thank technology for those serious treats and other worldly kind of threats.

    Surely you cannot believe that which and/or those who are responsible for both scarce safe and secure excessive prosperity and an almighty persistent crippling austerity in status quo establishments and administrative operating systems have ever or will ever empower and inform you with seeds and feeds of intelligence which lead to a catastrophic exposure of any of their many needs designed to guarantee mass ignorance for its retention and maintenance in a future existence ....... the worlds presenting today the programs chosen yesterday for releasing and realising tomorrow.

    Do you see such things being done differently ....... via other state and non-state actor methodologies/Ways and Means and Memes/Tall Tales Pimping and Pumping and Dumping Corrupt Trails.

  7. a_yank_lurker

    Nasty Problem

    People who have regular access to your home, phone, computer, car, etc. by definition have the potential to do all sorts of nasty things. Even in the old days this was a problem just not talked about much. Easy access and trusting those with such access is always a potential security nightmare.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They do have a weakness

    There is one fundamental weakness that, for want of better word, people, that resort to illicit means for obtaining information have. They trust that information implicitly.

    Take for instance this company, which, it is alleged, would defame some former employees when they left. Perhaps they took Hotel California too literally, who knows. They could have been easily misled by an individual that was about to leave, when say for instance, they had access to information (perhaps obtained illegally) that the individual was looking for employment on the west coast of the US. What they would not have known was that this was simply a ruse, an opportunity for self incrimination, or something else.

    What is certain, that you never trust people again. Like a dog that has tasted blood they must be put down, that is to say, they should never be entrusted with the personal information of others again.

  9. razorfishsl


    In 365 it is normal practice for a support partner to give themselves admin access, this can lead to all sorts of issues.....

  10. steviebuk Silver badge


    ...when the police are the problem.

    Alexandra Heal won the Private Eye Paul Foot award this year for her Nowhere To Turn project. It highlights some victims of domestic abuse where the abuser was a police officer.

    “The more research I did into this story, the more women I found who had suffered domestic abuse at the hands of police. In these cases, the abusers were members of the police force themselves and would use their power to intimidate the victim into silence.

    “Some of the police forces would avoid disciplining their officers who were reported for domestic abuse by saying that their actions were carried out in their personal lives rather than on the job.”

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