Google’s Play Store is filled with apps that give a user option to safeguard their near and dear ones. However, not all of these apps are as safe as they are considered to be.
Recently, Play Store has been having a few sinister apps that let abusive types spy on partners, among others. To tackle such stalking apps, Google has decided and pulled down seven apps from Google Play Store. Antivirus firm Avast detected and uncovered seven so-called “stalkerware” apps on the Google Play Store, with fours apps reported on July 16, while the other three being reported on Wednesday, July 17.
Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Avast’s head of mobile threat intelligence and security, said, “These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people’s privacy and shouldn’t be on the Google Play Store. 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, and collaborate with Google to get them removed.”
The names of the seven stalking apps were identified as Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free, Spy Kids Tracker, Phone Cell Tracker, Mobile Tracking, Spy Tracker, SMS Tracker and Employee Work Spy, all of which have been removed now.
As per reports, these apps have been installed a combined 130,000 times, with the most-installed apps being Spy Tracker, and SMS Tracker, both with more than 50,000 installs. To use these apps, the snoop must first gain access to the target device to install the spy software. Once this is done, the app prompts the person who installed the app to enter their email address and password, where the spying app is sent.
These apps helped the snoop to hide the surveillance by providing directions to uninstall anything noticeable to the phone’s owner. However, since there is no app icon, the targeted person does not see any sign of the stalkerware app installed on their phone.