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What are stalkwares?

by Ace Damon
What are stalkwares?

Do you know those posters we used to find around town like "Healing evil eye and bring loved one in 24 hours"? On Instagram, a new app seeks to keep an eye on everything our partners do or see on social media. Analysts who came into contact with the app have already classified it as stalkware, something like spy software.

An example of this is the Like Patrol app, which not only brings back social media surveillance, but intends to extend it. The creator of the tool, Sergio Luis Quintero said in an email to CNET: "Think of the late 'Following' tab, only bombadona."

To summarize the download, CNET questioned the app's risks and, in response, Instagram acknowledged that Like Patrol developers were violating its rules and that a statement was issued demanding the end of that practice.

A Face spokesman stated that "scouring violates our policies, and we have taken action against companies that are linked to this behavior. Like Patrol was scouring people's information, so we are taking legal action against them." That is: the app has been banned.

The stalkwares

Applications of this kind are just a small sample of ways in which technology helps people with malicious intent to snoop into the lives of others. Called stalkware, they end up being used in abusive relationships because they are able to virtually "put a GPS" on the person being watched and send not only location data but also contacts, call logs and messages to privacy intruders.

Like Patrol is hardly stalkware, but it stands at the boundary between legal and illegal by encouraging people to use their technology as a good thing to actually monitor a victim's social media activities . Malwarebytes Chief Executive Officer learns that the app comes down to "Monitor a person's activities, summarize them and send them in the form of a report."

Quintero questions that the information he scours is publicly released data. After all, private investigators often spy on social media feeds to collect data from people, and even police officers often fake Facebook profiles to monitor certain groups.

Like Patrol's commitment is to send notifications anytime of the person you're following, like a post or even comments. It can decode information by genre, and provides a list of interlocutors with which the observed (or observed) interact on Instagram. It goes so far as to say that it has an algorithm capable of logging every time they (or they) like posts from attractive people.

Facebook itself has stated that it has also banned Like Patrol, and is reviewing other apps from the same developers.

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