Google Removes 7 Stalker Apps From Its Play Store

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CooTek, a fast-growing Chinese app developer listed on the NYSE under the ticker "CTK", is having dozens of its products pulled from Google's Play Store and ad platforms. But CNET reported that most users of such apps weren't using them for their supposed intended goal, and were instead using them for stalking, notably for tracking people in personal or romantic relationships.

The apps were able to track the surveilled person's location, collect their contacts, SMS and call history. They encourage criminal behavior and can be abused to spy on their victims by employers, stalkers or abusive associates. Stick with us then, to stay up to date with all the latest news relating to where you buy all your Android apps.

Obviously, the apps are meant to be hidden since you will also be given instructions on how to prevent the owner from knowing something has been installed on their device. The spying app is sent there.

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It's hard to discern whether your gadget has stalkerware installed on it as you won't see an app symbol on your phone. Worse, the target individuals have no idea of them being stalked, which made the apps huge security and privacy risk. A Google spokesperson noted that more removals will follow in the Play Store as it continues enforcing stricter quality control regulations.

These latter three offerings included "Spy Tracker" which was supposedly created to help parents track their kids' movements and access messages and call history. Malicious advertising practices are not uncommon in China even among major developers as evidenced by CooTek, a large, US-listed Chinese app developer with hundreds of apps and users in 240 countries, according to its website. The apps were installed 130,000 times in total. Furthermore, CooTek published hundreds of apps, many of which can be sideloaded or installed via third-party app stores by unsuspecting users, but there's a way to check if your system is infected. "It will teach your employees to use their time at work wisely, to reduce time spent on messengers and arrive to work in time". In 2018, it distinguished stalkerware on 58,487 mobile phones.

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