The latest stint where Google removed apps from its Play Store came yesterday when Google pulled the plugs on seven apps that were reported by mobile threat researchers at Avast that classified these apps as ‘stalkware’.
According to the report, these apps allow access to someone’s location, contacts, call history, SMS and other details that stalkers can use to stalk victims. Classified as spy apps to keep an eye on employees at work as well as kids using phones and romantic partners to find out if he/she is cheating on the user or not, etc. Since these are spy apps, once installed, the victims cannot detect if such an app has been installed on their system or not. On the other hand, the accused could detect all the activities on the victim’s phone which is the reason why these types of apps have been classified as stalkware.
Out of the seven apps that are reportedly developed by a Russian developer, SMS Tracker and Spy Tracker are the most popular with over 50,000 downloads while a whopping 130,000 is the total number of people who downloaded when the count for all the seven apps was combined.
Nikolaos Chrysaidos who is the heat of mobile threat intelligence and security at Avast added that such apps are unethical and are a big threat for people’s privacy and that these apps mustn’t be on Google Play Store. Furthermore, he added that these apps allow employers, abusive partners, and stalkers the medium to spy on their victims and thus, it must be removed from the Play Store for sure.
Any user can plant any of these spy apps on the victim’s smartphone if he/she gets the hold of it. Once installed, the victim cannot detect the app since it doesn’t leave any traces such as an app icon although it could be visible under Settings >> Apps >> Downloaded although the victim could only detect it if he/she gets a hint of something fishy with the phone. Google Play Store has millions of apps to use but as a phone user, you must be aware of what you install and whatnot.