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STALKERWARE: THE HIDDEN THREAT TO PRIVACY Posted by James Donaldson on May 26, 2020

What is stalkerware? Stalkerware is software made available directly to individuals, that enables a remote user to monitor the activities on another user’s device without that user’s consent and without explicit, persistent notification to that user in order to intentionally or unintentionally facilitate intimate partner surveillance, harassment, abuse, stalking, and/or violence. There is an important difference between stalkerware and other snooping malware; in the case of stalkerware the program is usually installed with direct physical access by an intimate partner, relative or other trusted individual. In 2019, a Kaspersky review concluded that the prevalence of stalkerware had increased almost 400% since 2018, making stalkerware a growing concern for software security experts.

Today, Copperhead is announcing that we are joining the Coalition Against Stalkerware. This group represents a bridge between advocacy groups, security firms and survivors of domestic violence which aims to focus joint efforts to educate and protect the public from stalkerware.

Going forward, Copperhead will be providing resources for survivors of domestic violence and stalkerware. As a security and privacy focused company, we believe that it is important for us to provide the knowledge for all users to make the right choices which keep them safe, their data private, and their digital lives secure.

Here are some tips to remember when reviewing your mobile security strategy:

  • Use a device with a locked bootloader and Android Verified Boot
  • Beware of shoulder snooping and change your passwords or pin codes regularly.
  • If you discover stalkerware, don’t remove it immediately. Carefully make arrangements to provide for your safety first.
  • Fingerprint and FaceID unlocking can be circumvented. Use a secondary password or PIN if possible
  • Always consider any device to be compromised if you lose possession of it.
  • Do not share your device passwords or pin codes, be suspicious of anyone who insists.
  • Trust only devices you can verify and maintain control over.
  • Know the signs that your device might be compromised.
  • Check in with the permission manager regularly. Know which Apps you allow to install unknown Apps.

If you believe that you or someone you know has been affected by stalkerware, please visit