What would you do if you attended a political event or protest and the next day, you receive targeted adverts for that political cause? Would that be cause for concern? After all, you don’t post about your political views, how did the advertisers know? You didn’t sign any rosters or register, so how did they know you were there?
I recently became aware of a new category of computer-evil: stalkerware. I thought I was being clever and would have the privilege of coining a new term, but a few other people have already coined the term. However, I would like to propose a slightly different definition. In an article originally appearing on Motherboard, stalkerware is defined as:
Stalkerware is defined as invasive applications running on computers and smartphones that basically send every bit of information about you to another person. This covers the gamut from programs that can be purchased online to give third parties access to basically everything on your computer from photos, text messages and emails to individual keystrokes, to apps that activate your Mac’s webcam without your knowledge.
I’m not really seeing the difference between this definition and “traditional” spyware, but stalkerware as I define it is:
Software that automatically reports your location on a regular basis without your knowledge or consent.
The stalkerware that Motherboard writes about are dedicated programs or apps that someone deliberately installs on a target’s mobile device in order to track their activity for whatever reason. Stalkerware as I define it is a little different, in that it is not targeted at one individual. These are applications that are installed on mobile devices that track your every move–literally stalking you–most likely without your knowledge.