Stalking is more than just liking someone’s picture from 4 years ago, and Malaysia apparently has a serious stalking problem!
According to the latest statistics from Kaspersky, Malaysia ranked 13th in terms of share of affected users with stalkerware in 2019, an increase of 23% year-on-year between 2018 and 2019 in the country.
Stalkerware is a software installed without the device owner’s consent, to secretly stream the victim’s personal information including images, videos, correspondence, geolocation data, and more. It even monitors a user’s keyboard activities, making it extremely effective in stealing personal information to be misused by third parties such as the app owners. Low-cost malware, sometimes as cheap as USD7 a month, can stay hidden on a victim’s device, which makes it an affordable way of monitoring someone’s movements.
In 2019, Kaspersky products detected 222,434 installations of stalkerware on users of Windows devices globally and this poses a dangerous problem for many, especially women.
“Consumer surveillance technology or stalkerware has evolved rapidly in recent years and the very purpose of surveillance activity has changed dramatically. It is often used to abuse the privacy of current or former partners and even strangers the malicious hacker is interested in. More often, stalkerware targets women. Our latest data, I hope, will shed light on the current online threats targeting women and further kickoff legal and precautionary steps to protect them against this danger,” says Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager of Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.
Having said so, Kaspersky recommends a few steps for us to avoid being monitored by online stalkers:
- Blocking the installation of programs from unknown sources in your smartphone’s settings
- Never disclose the password or passcode to your mobile device, even if it is with someone you trust
- Never store unfamiliar files or applications on your device, as they could harm your privacy
- Change all security settings on your mobile device if you are leaving a relationship. An ex may try to acquire your personal information in order to manipulate you
- Check the list of applications on the device to find out if suspicious programs are installed without your consent
- Use a reliable security solution that notifies you about the presence of commercial spyware programs aimed at invading your privacy on your phone, such as Kaspersky Internet Security
- If you think you are a subject of stalking and need help, contact a relevant organization for professional help
Beware of online stalkers and stay safe everyone!
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya