The software world is facing a real threat: “Stalkerware.” It is malware designed to stalk you, gather information and gather targets, and the unsuspecting unaware people who use it. The FBI is tracking some of it, and like in any criminal investigation, victims and their families are contacted through this malware. As of the last week, some of the leading companies in the technology sector, including Google, Apple, and Facebook have finally released security updates to protect themselves.
Here are some of the most common apps in this category that all of us have running on our devices today:
1. Minecraft Pocket Edition (which is an update of the classic version)
This is one of the oldest Android apps on this list, and now it is also a favorite amongst millennials. What it does: It collects pictures and videos uploaded by the person using it, and it will attempt to contact that person over email or Messenger. It has a photo messaging feature, which is less privacy-protecting than one from Google Photos.
Click here to learn how to remove Minecraft from your device.
2. Pokémon Go
Pokemon Go has slowly been declining in popularity since launch, and still reaches an audience of around 5 million daily active users. The app takes the user into the Pokémon world that is supposed to be engaging and interesting for the player, but it does gather data on their travel patterns. What it does: It gets your location and route as well as other data about your movements.
Click here to learn how to remove Pokémon Go from your device.
Facebook is used by up to 65% of people using smartphones on a daily basis and is the second most popular social media site in the world. What it does: It collects and uses data on users’ behavior in order to develop more targeted advertising on your device. You should be aware that this data does come back to Facebook. You do not have to worry about it at first because it is standard practice. However, if you try to delete your Facebook app, you may need to update it. The Facebook Chrome extension features over a million ways for you to deactivate your account, which you should keep doing to avoid this fate.
Click here to learn how to remove Facebook from your device.
Skype is an international instant messaging application that is popular with business users. What it does: It collects and uses data on your behavior in order to develop more targeted advertising on your device. It doesn’t yet seem to have sufficient retention to not come back to you with targeted advertising.
Click here to learn how to remove Skype from your device.
Google’s email service is often touted as the most secure email client, but that’s only if you use Gmail. Any person you were exchanging emails with will have access to that data. What it does: It collects and uses data on your behavior in order to develop more targeted advertising on your device. You should be aware that this data does come back to Google.
Click here to learn how to remove Gmail from your device.
This blog was originally published on Behance.