Seven Stalker apps removed from Google Play Store

[German]Google has removed 7 Android apps from the Play Store after a tip from Avast because they (as so-called stalker apps) illegally tracked the user. Here are some details.


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>Avast has published the blog post Google pulls stalker apps identified by Avast. The security researchers had noticed the seven apps in the Google Play Store. The apps were probably all created by a Russian developer to allow people to track employees, partners or children. Hence the name ‘Stalker App’.

Four, five, six and seven

Avast discovered first only four of the apps on Tuesday and reported them to Google. Google immediately pulled the apps out from the Play Store. Then the Avast researchers discovered the fifth, sixth and seventh app on Wednesday. They also reported them to Google, so they were removed as well. The apps were installed a total of 130,000 times, with the most frequently installed apps being Spy Tracker and SMS Tracker, each with more than 50,000 installations.

Background information on the Tracker Apps

The apps require that the stalker has access to the smartphone whose owner he wants to spy on. The stalker then downloads the apps from the Google Play Store and installs them on the target device. The app then prompts the person who installed the app to enter their email address and password. 

The spy app will send the data there. The apps will be able to track the location of the person being monitored as well as their contacts, SMS and call history.

Spionage-Apps
(Spy apps, Source: AVAST)


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The apps also help the stalker hide the surveillance by giving instructions for uninstalling anything visible to the phone owner. When setting up, there is no app icon, so the target will not see any signs of the Stalkerware app installed on their phone. These are the following apps:

  • Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free
  • Spy Kids Tracker
  • Phone Cell Tracker
  • Mobile Tracking
  • Spy Tracker
  • SMS Tracker
  • Employee Work Spy

More details may be read within the articles from AVAST or Cnet.com.


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