Are you secretly watching your partner? 1 in 3 sees no problem with this!

In honor of the second anniversary of the founding of the Coalition Against Stalkerware, Kaspersky commissioned a global survey of more than 21,000 people from 21 countries on their attitudes towards privacy and the stalking of digital business in close relationships. Stalkerware is defined as software that enables an perpetrator to digitally monitor another person’s privacy through a mobile device without the victim’s consent.

While the majority of respondents (70%) do not believe that it is acceptable to watch their partner without consent, a significant percentage (30%) do not see any problem and find it acceptable under certain circumstances. Of those who believe that some reason justifies covert surveillance, almost two-thirds (64%) would do so if they believed their partner was unfaithful, if it was related to their safety (63%) or if they believed he or she was involved in criminal activity. (50%). Looking at the geographical differences, it is noteworthy that the highest level of agreement on monitoring generally comes from respondents in the Asia-Pacific region (24%), while in Europe (10%) and the Americas (8%) fewer people find it. acceptable.

In addition, Kaspersky’s report “Digital Stalking in Relationships”, conducted online by Sapio Research in September 2021, shows that 15% of respondents worldwide were asked by their partner to install a tracking application. Unfortunately, 34% of those who suggest this answer have already experienced abuse by a loved one.

The experts who conducted the research have specialized in the issue of domestic violence, while they come from other member organizations of the Coalition Against Stalkerware: Australia’s national umbrella organization for domestic violence services Wesnet, the rights organization Women’s Center Hubertine Auclert in France, the National Network for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (NNEDV) in the USA, the Refugee Charity in the United Kingdom and WWP EN, the European umbrella association for perpetrator management programs.

“It is dangerous to justify the exercise of any kind of control over a partner due to the existence of suspicions. “Preventive campaigns addressing issues of coercive control, jealousy and infidelity would be a valuable tool against these behaviors,” explains Berta Vall Castell√≥, Director of Research and Development for the European Network for the Management of Domestic Violence Actors (WWP). .

The findings suggest that cyberbullying may be another way of exercising coercive control in close relationships. Since stalkerware is commercially available software that is hidden on a device and provides access to a range of personal data, such as device location, browser history, text messages, or social media chats, it may also come as no surprise. that it can serve as another tool of harassment within abusive relationships.

“I’m really encouraging anyone who is experiencing stalking – either in real life or through stalkerware – and thinks it would not be safe or dangerous to tackle the perpetrator, to turn to a domestic abuse organization for advice and support,” says Karen Bentley, Managing Director Advisor to Wesnet, Australia’s national umbrella organization for domestic violence services.

“The National Network for the Elimination of Domestic Violence welcomes the fact that Kaspersky is promoting a deeper understanding of privacy issues and the use of stalkerware in close relationships. “More data is needed in this area and we look forward to seeing this information used to improve security and privacy for survivors and survivors,” said Erica Olsen, Director of Safety Net End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).

Global data on the location and geographical location of affected users

Following the Coalition Against Stalkerware detection criteria, Kaspersky analyzed its data revealing how many of its users were affected by stalkerware in the first 10 months of the year: from January to October 2021, nearly 28,000 mobile users were affected by this threat . During the same period, there were more than 3,100 cases in the EU, while more than 2,300 users in North America were affected.

According to Kaspersky, Russia, Brazil and the United States of America (USA) remain the three countries with the highest number of stalkerware victims. Similarly, in Europe the picture has not changed: Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom are the top three countries with the majority of victims. In terms of the EU alone, instead of the United Kingdom, France is now in third place. At EU level, Greece is in 13th place, while globally our country ranks 63rd in the frequency of stalkerware incidents.

Two years of cooperation to keep the technology safe for everyone

Coalition Against Stalkerware was founded in November 2019 by 10 organizations. Today, there are more than 40 member organizations, staffed with experts working in various related fields, such as victim support and perpetrator management programs, digital rights advocacy, digital security, academia, security research and law enforcement agencies. This year, the Coalition welcomed new supporters such as INTERPOL, while Gendarmerie Nationale (FR), Luchadoras (MX), Refuge (UK) and The Tor Project (USA) joined its membership. In addition, as part of one of the Coalition’s founding missions, it launched new stalkerware technical training aimed at enhancing capacity building among nonprofits, working with survivors and victims, law enforcement and other stakeholders. this form of cyberbullying.

The main activities of the company during the year include:

1. In October, Kaspersky partnered with INTERPOL, NNEDV and Wesnet to provide more than 210 police officers with knowledge of Internet stalking, using Coalition technical training as a basis for online workshops, which was very successful. well received by the global law enforcement community.
2. Also last month, the pan-European project DeStalk – in which Kaspersky leads – launched an online course for regional civil servants and victim support and perpetrator management staff on how to tackle cyberbullying and stalkerware. DeStalk is supported by the European Commission’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Program (REC).
3. On November 18, Kaspersky will host a regional online event for the UK public to raise awareness about stalkerware. The event, featuring Refuge UK, an academic from University College London and an activist, will focus the discussion on ways individuals can be protected. To mark World Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, Kaspersky will host another local event in Rome, where regulators and domestic violence experts will meet to discuss the issue. stalking on the internet.

For users who suspect that they may be affected by stalkerware software, Kaspersky provides the following tips:

1. If you find stalkerware on your device, do not rush to delete it as the perpetrator may notice it. It is very important to keep in mind that the perpetrator can be a potential risk to your safety. In some cases, in response, the person may escalate his or her abusive behaviors.
2. Contact local authorities and service organizations that support victims of domestic violence – for help and planning your next steps. You can find a list of related organizations in many countries at
Watch the Coallition video about stalkerware and how to protect against it on the homepage available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. There is also a special page for victims and survivors on stalkerware detection, removal and prevention.
4. Use proven cybersecurity protection to check your device and find out if stalkerware is installed on it. However, this should only be done after assessing the potential risk to the victim, as the perpetrator may observe the use of a cybersecurity solution.

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