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Brazil among the leaders in cell phone spying


The espionage of cell phones and computers continues to be on the rise in Brazil. A new survey by Kaspersky showed that Brazilians are in second place in the global ranking of victims of stalkerware (spy programs) that, despite being legitimately marketed, are directly associated with abuse and domestic violence. In 2020, more than 6,500 users in the country were monitored by this software (about 12% of the total attacks in the world), according to data from the cybersecurity company. As a result, Brazil was only behind Russia (with more than 12,300 cases).

According to the organization Coalition Against Stalkerware (CAS), these programs are widely used worldwide as a form of persecution and cyber violence among couples – and the biggest victims are women. Most of the affected users do not know that they are being watched, or even that this type of software exists, which causes impotence on the part of the victim.

Kaspersky’s survey shows that stalkerware violence affects countries regardless of size, society or culture: in addition to Russia and Brazil, the United States, India and Mexico are also at the top of the list with the most affected Internet users (see below).

Ten most affected countries in the world by stalkerware in 2020

“We found that the number of users affected by stalkerware remained high and we detected new samples every day. It is important to remember that, behind all these numbers, there is a person’s real life and, sometimes, a silent cry for help. Our research also serves to warn about the problem and make people understand it better. Our goal is to help end the use of these programs ”, comments Fabio Assolini, senior security analyst at Kaspersky in Brazil.

Compared to 2019, Brazil had a 17% drop in the amount of stalkerware attacks. According to Kaspersky experts, the decrease in cases was a worldwide trend, and is linked to the period of isolation due to the pandemic (with more people at home, there was less need for surveillance by the perpetrators). However, from the months in which the restriction measures loosened in several countries, the cases resumed the previous rhythm.

Curve of users affected by stalkerware worldwide

Action against cyber violence

In 2019, Kaspersky co-founded, with nine other organizations, Coalition Against Stalkerware (CAS), which currently has 30 members from five continents. CAS aims to improve stalkerware detection in the industry, the mutual learning of non-profit organizations and companies, in addition to raising public awareness.

In addition, in November 2020, Kaspersky launched the anti-stalkerware tool TinyCheck, to help nonprofits support victims of domestic violence and protect their privacy. Its unique feature is being able to detect stalkerware and inform affected users without the attacker knowing. The tool is supported by the IT security community, which helps to update it continuously.

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