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APAV joins Kaspersky against digital harassment

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APAV and cybersecurity company Kaspersky have join forces to fight digital harassment, whose victims are mainly women. Kaspersky will be supporting APAV on the fields of violation of digital privacy and stalkerware, through prevention and by raising awareness to the theme, as well as by conducting studies and providing technical counselling on how to react in risk situations.

What is stalkerware? Imagine texting via WhatsApp. Googling. Looking an address up on GPS. You conduct these activities naturally on your smatphone with no idea that someone is silently monitoring every single move you make. Stalkerware consists of spyware apps installed in devices without the consent or awareness of the user.

Kaspersky’s analysis reveals that the number of victims of this online harassment practice has increased around 67% worldwide, going from 40.386 to 67.500 between 2018 e 2019. In Portugal, the numbers have gone from 96 to 189, which corresponds to an increase of 97% in the same period.

Ricardo Estrela, APAV’s Internet Safe Line manager, states that “stalkware deserves our attention. Not only because it is a form of cybercrime, but also because there is a high chance that these victims have also suffered, or are currently suffering, some type of physical or psychological violence at the hands of their partner. It is necessary to raise awareness to this problem in order to facilitate its identification and ways to act. Many of the victims do not know how their aggressors have access to so much personal information, which a lot of the time stops them from reporting these situations by lack of proof”.

APAV’s Safe Internet Line supports cyberstalking victims for free and confidentially - 800 219 090. This service not only gives users advice on safe internet practices, but also facilitates the report of illegal content available online. In 2019, Sfe Internet Line registered 7 crimes related to illegitimate access, 3 of which were stalkerware.