The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an article warning consumers of “stalking apps”—spyware that secretly monitors smartphones. These apps can share information like call history, text messages, photos, GPS locations, and browser history without the user's knowledge. Although this can be a useful tool, stalking apps can also be used maliciously.
Smartphone users who suspect an illegitimate stalking app on their device should consider the following steps:
- Use a rootchecker app to see if the phone is “jailbroken” or modified to allow unrestricted access to the entire file system.
- Get a new device or remove the stalking app by factory resetting the smartphone and reinstalling the manufacturer’s operating system.
- Get help. Law enforcement can determine if spyware is on your phone.