Your Android Device Might Be At Risk! Spyhide Stalkerware is Spying On Over 60,000 Android Users Worldwide

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Photo Source: Techcrunch

A stealthy mobile surveillance app, Spyhide, is secretly harvesting private data from tens of thousands of Android devices across the globe, according to a new data analysis. This widely used stalkerware (also known as spouseware) is often installed by someone with access to the victim’s passcode, and its design allows it to remain concealed on the victim’s phone.

Stealthy Operation, Broad Access, High Risk

Once installed, Spyhide silently uploads the phone’s contacts, messages, photos, call logs and recordings, as well as detailed location data in real-time. Despite their stealthy operation and broad access to the victim’s phone data, stalkerware apps like Spyhide are notoriously buggy and often put victims’ stolen private data at further risk of exposure. Spyhide is the latest addition to this list of risky spyware operations.

Years of Stolen Phone Data

Spyhide’s database contained detailed records for about 60,000 compromised Android devices, dating back to 2016. This stolen data includes call logs, text messages, precise location history, photo and video uploads, call recordings, and more.

Our analysis of nearly two million location data points reveals Spyhide’s global reach, with significant clusters of victims in Europe and Brazil. More than 3,100 compromised devices were identified in the U.S., making U.S. victims some of the most heavily surveilled in the network.

Uncovering the Faces Behind Spyhide

While Spyhide’s website doesn’t reveal who runs the operation or where it was developed, the source code contained the names of two Iranian developers profiting from the operation. These developers, Mostafa M. and Mohammad A. did not respond to several requests for comment.

Despite being banned from Google’s app store due to their explicit promotion of secret spousal surveillance, stalkerware apps like Spyhide can still be downloaded directly from Spyhide’s website.

Protecting Against Spyware

Android spyware apps often disguise themselves as regular Android apps or processes, making detection challenging. Spyhide poses as a Google-themed app called “Google Settings” or a ringtone app named “T.Ringtone”. Once permission is granted, these apps start transmitting private data to their servers.

Does factory reset remove spyware?

A factory reset will delete everything on your phone, including the spyware. Make sure you have a backup of your phone before you do this to prevent losing your photos, apps, and other data. 

Can spyware watch you?

Regardless of whether you use an iPhone or an Android smartphone, it is possible for someone to install spyware onto your phone that secretly tracks and reports on your activity. It’s even possible for someone to monitor your cell phone’s activity without ever even touching it.

How is spyware prevented or removed?

Run a legitimate product specifically designed to remove spyware – Many vendors offer products that will scan your computer for spyware and remove any spyware software. Popular products include Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware, Microsoft’s Window Defender, Webroot’s SpySweeper, and Spybot Search and Destroy.

For immediate assistance, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or call 911 in an emergency situation. The Coalition Against Stalkerware also provides resources if you think your phone has been compromised by spyware.

Conclusion

The emergence and spread of stalkerware like Spyhide highlight the urgent need for robust cybersecurity measures and public awareness. Stay safe by regularly updating your device’s software, avoiding downloads from unverified sources, and being vigilant about the permissions requested by the apps on your device.

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