Statistics have shown that stalkerware affected one out of every 100 mobile users in Kenya and Nigeria in 2020 and malware every four out of 100 in South Africa. This is according to research conducted by cyber security solutions provider Kaspersky.
The company says as cyberattacks such as stalkerware continue to grow, mobile users are urged to always be vigilant when online in order to keep themselves from the growing threat of cyberattacks.
Commenting on the report, Lehan van den Heever, Enterprise Cyber Security Advisor for Kaspersky in Africa says, “Even though these numbers might seem low, especially when it comes to stalkerware, it bears mentioning that this form of attack is focused on specific individuals. So, unlike general malware that is distributed on a massive scale, stalkerware is a more personal crime that has life and death consequences for the individual affected.”
Amongst other things, stalkerware can enable the perpetrator to track a victim’s location, read their messages, view their photos and videos, eavesdrop on telephone conversations, and see everything typed on the keypad.
“Our research shows that almost 54 000 users globally were affected by stalkerware apps in 2020. The fact that these are growing momentum in Africa should be cause for concern. And even though South Africa has not been affected by these attacks yet, it is only a matter of time before mobile users in the country start experiencing the dangers of stalkerware,” says van den Heever.
Kaspersky’s analysis of mobile threats in 2020 shows that in Kenya 7% of users were affected by malware, and 13% by adware. In Nigeria, the situation is similar, also showing that 7% of users were impacted by malware and 17% by adware. In South Africa, 4% of users were targeted with malware and 7% with adware.
“While we advocate that mobile users must protect their devices with a strong password, they should also never leave their phones unattended. Furthermore, it is important to block the installation of apps from third-party sources in their device settings and install a reliable mobile antivirus solution that detects and warns them about stalkerware and other malware,” concludes van den Heever.