CREEPY apps that let stalkers track your calls and text messages are being using by jealous Brits to spy on their partners.
The apps, sold openly online, can even help someone track your location, pick through your internet history and watch you through your camera.
Creepy apps that let stalkers track your calls and text messages are being using by jealous Brits to spy on their partners
Known as stalkerware, or "spousewear", the powerful surveillance tools are available on the Google Play and Apple App stores.
Once installed on a phone, typically without the victim's permission, the stalker has access to everything they do.
That means they can record the screen, track the phone's GPS and even access the camera to spy on what the victim is doing.
The impact stalkerware can have on people was explored in a recent article by the BBC.
The apps can help someone track your location and even watch you through your camera
Cyber security experts at Kaspersky said their protection technologies found stalkerware installed on 37,532 devices this year alone.
The apps were most popular in Russia, Brazil, the United States and Germany.
Many apps used for stalking were marketed towards parents keeping track of their children.
But reviews revealed people were using them to track their partners.
In one disturbing review for a stalkerware on the Google Play store, which can be bought for £20 a month, a person wrote: "I think this is the most useful app out there right now it is so easy to use an my girlfriend didn't even know."
Amy's stalkerware story
Victim Amy – not her real name – described the chilling moment she realised she was being spied on by her own husband as her six-year-old son played nearby.
"My husband passed me his phone to show me a picture he'd taken and in that split-second I saw an alert pop up on his screen," Amy told the BBC.
"It read, 'Daily report on Amy's Mac is ready to view'."
"I felt this chill go through me and I stopped breathing for a minute. I had to excuse myself and pretended I needed the bathroom. I had to be there for my son and pretend that I hadn't seen anything."
Amy, who is from the US, said she didn't even know such software existed until she researched it online.
"The first moment I could, I went to the library to use the computer and look up the spyware he'd used," she said.
"That's when everything made sense after months of thinking I was going crazy."
She's now divorced and lives many miles away from her husband.
She has a restraining order preventing him from any direct contact with her.
Another added: "This app is incredibly useful and does everything its supposed to do.
"I was able to see everything my boyfriend had been hiding from me and because he let's me on his phone all the time it was so easy.
"Everyone should get this app especially of you have a kid or significant other you suspect is being unfaithful. It saved me a lot of heartache and pain. Thank you for actually helping me."
Accessing a computer device without someone’s permission is an offence under the Police and Justice Act and can carry a two-year prison sentence.
Google and Apples policies include prohibiting surveillance and commercial spyware apps being sold on their app stores.
Both remove any apps found to violate these policies.
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