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The technology we rely upon today makes our lives more convenient in countless ways - but it comes with privacy risks.
Stalkerware apps can be used to track the location of a victim without their knowledge, and are often used as a means of control by domestic abusers.
Digital security company Avast said usage of such apps has surged during the pandemic, with figures from January 93 percent up on the year before.
So, what are the tell-tale signs that spyware might be on your phone?
Avast advises you may notice that:
If you think you're at risk of being targeted, take the following security measures:
And if it's already on your phone, here's how you can manually remove it:
Domestic violence charity Refuge has teamed up with Avast to raise awareness of the threat posed by stalkerware, which can be used to enable and intensify abuse.
Abusers are increasingly using technology - like tracking systems and social media - to control and scare women experiencing #DomesticAbuse. Mari Edwards, our head of operations, speaks about our new tech safety website (https://t.co/HIZgfzLqWc) to support survivors :point_down: pic.twitter.com/PSneDKlfoo
- Refuge (@RefugeCharity) May 25, 2021
Violence against women has increased since the outbreak of Covid-19 - in what the UN has dubbed 'the shadow pandemic' - and unethical software is seen as a major part of the problem.
Ruth Davison, CEO at Refuge, said: "We're delighted to be joining forces with Avast to tackle this issue.
"Fighting tech abuse of all forms will require cross-industry and sector collaboration.
"For almost 50 years, we have dedicated ourselves to helping victims of domestic abuse, and this partnership with Avast enables us to help tackle the evolving threat of tech abuse."
If you're experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the free 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Featured Image Credit: Pexels/Alex Green
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