Then, they use automatic app updates to switch them out with malware. As you can imagine, all this unauthorized background activity can impact your battery life.
That heavy data use also leads to another symptom of stalkerware, which is an excessively hot phone. Prevention is always the best, but most people don't know how their phone is vulnerable.
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A hacker can compromise your device with a malicious text message or email, but the most common method requires physical access to the phone. That's why stalkerware is largely a tool for domestic abusers — who would have an easy time getting to their spouse or significant other's device. Making sure your phone is secured with a proper passcode, biometric data if possible , and remote-erase capability.
No matter what kind of phone you have, your first step is to back up your data. Then, get to work. This will erase your phone and replace it with a fresh version of Android.
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For added security, it's recommended you update to the latest version of Android as well. From here, select Erase All Content and Settings. Doing this will completely wipe your device and reinstall a fresh copy of iOS.
The malware is said to download a visitor's text messages, calendar entries, phone logs — and even scans for "extremist files". The sinister scheme was first revealed by Vice's Motherboard , which described it as a "massive campaign of surveillance", along with the Guardian.
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It's part of a plot to spy on foreigners crossing into China's Xinjiang region, where authorities are cracking down on the local Muslim population. Visitors are forced to install spy software on their phones that gives Chinese officials access to all of their text messages, the report claims. Officials also scan the device for specific sets of files, including "Islamic extremist content", as well as innocuous materials and academic books.
According to the Guardian, people using the remote Irkeshtam border crossing into China are "routinely having their phones screened by guards". The app was reportedly designed by a Chinese company, and puts the million yearly visitors to Xinjiang at risk of state surveillance. The Irkeshtam crossing is China's most westerly border, and is regularly used by tourists and traders. At the crossing, travellers are made to unlcok and hand over their phones, which are taken away to a separate room.
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Apple's high-security iPhones are plugged into a scanner, while Android phones have the snooping app installed. Of course this doesn't prove that Facebook is never snooping on you, but the study certainly didn't prove that Facebook was doing anything untoward.
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The magic of targeted advertising is that it should feel relevant to you — even if you can't figure out why. Facebook doesn't need to spy on your real-life conversations, because you hand over so much information anyway. Follow this link and you'll be able to download everything Facebook knows about you. Most of you will quickly realise it's a staggering amount of information.
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Advertisers can use information gleaned from your activity all across the web, on multiple devices, even if you're not logged into Facebook or other services. They'll likely know where you live, what you like, who your friends are, how much money you make, your political beliefs and much more. So when you get ads for something you've talked about out loud, it's almost certainly just advertisers being very good at predicting your interests.
It's also possible that there's an advertising campaign running, and you've seen an ad and not noticed. You've then spoken about it, never realising you've been advertised to, and only then notice future ads — which suddenly seem suspicious.
Let's say you talked about a holiday to Scotland, and then all of a sudden you're being advertised holidays to Scotland. But Facebook could use info about your level of wealth, your past holiday interests, the time of year ads for wintry Scottish retreats are common in the colder months , and your location.
The first is to bin the service altogether — which isn't a bad idea given we've seen two major security breaches this year, leaving tens of millions of users exposed.