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Dans les coulisses de la lutte pour débarrasser le monde des logiciels espions des harceleurs

 — 29 octobre 2020
Domestic abuse is on the rise this year, and it’s increasingly tech-enabled. Use of stalkerware jumped 83 per cent during lockdown. Now industry and law enforcement are working together to take on the abusers

During lockdown, the use of stalkerware – software running in the background on a mobile that can track people’s actions – has soared. Analysis from cybersecurity company Avast has revealed that the UK experienced some of the biggest increases in the use stalkerware as the pandemic took hold.

Detections of stalkerware in the UK rose 83 per cent between March and June this year compared to between January and February, and against a global 51 per cent rise, according to Avast’s figures. These are some of the sharpest rises in the world, with the UK behind only Japan and Germany out of 12 countries included in the data. “These figures are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer at Avast. “Most people don’t use antivirus software on their phones, so many cases may be missed. But the trend is definitely up.”

As well as increasing the use of stalkerware, Covid-19 lockdowns have also led to rises in domestic violence and calls to helplines. As the world shut down, many women were left with nowhere to go. “I’ve spoken to survivors who say their places of safety – the school gates, cafes – evaporated as we shut down,” says Cassandra Wiener, a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex who has been speaking to women in refuges.

“They are increasingly confined to the most dangerous space in their lives – the one they share with him,” Wiener says. “Tech makes stalking possible in a way we’ve never seen before. It’s a perpetrator’s friend. A woman knows she has to obey because she knows she’s being watched.”


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