Similar to fashion, music and political sentiment, cybercrime tends to follow certain trends. When widespread computer virus infections were first reported in the mid-1980s, hackers were mostly interested in replicating their malware creations as much as possible; in many cases, the malicious code of this era was not even very harmful. Cyber vandalism and boot sector malware code were prominent in the late 1990s before spyware and adware became major headaches a decade later. Denial-of-service attacks predated data breaches around 2010, and we are now going through the ransomware era.
The Dangers of Stalkerware
Keystrokes, messages, images, audio, video, and online activity can be recorded by stalkerware and compiled into dossiers uploaded to remote locations. Some of these malicious apps make use of utilities known as operating system daemons, which can be coded for illegal surveillance purposes. On mobile devices, stalkerware typically runs as hidden apps while on computers it runs as a background process.
A dismal fact about stalkerware is that it is often marketed and sold to jealous spouses, controlling parents and other individuals who wish to snoop on others for illegal purposes. As the name of this security threat suggests, it is designed for stalking, which is considered to be a felony offense in many states. When stalkerware is installed by relatives, it is a form of domestic abuse and could also lead to criminal charges.