Millions of Android owners warned of 22 bank-raiding 'stalkerware' phone apps – check yours now to avoid disaster | The Sun

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MORE than 20 popular apps have been found to be disguising spyware or malicious software, according to new research from Uswitch.

These apps have been searched for by unsuspecting smartphone users nearly 250,000 times between May 2022 and this year.

The investigation looked at searches for so-called 'stalkerware' apps in the UK over the past year, across Google, Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

The app mSpy is by far the "most notorious" stalkerware software on the market, according to a statement from Uswitch, accumulating over 100,000 searches alone in the past year.

The apps sell themselves as a way to keep track of the people you love, similar to Apple's Find My app.

But instead, one-star reviews for mSpy claim the app is a virus scam, which lures people into downloading remote access software onto their computers to 'make the app work'.


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All this does is simply hand over access to your computer to a complete stranger, who is likely a scammer in disguise.

One review said: "Do not purchase this software! It's an absolute scam.

"I paid upfront- it was so shady that my bank initially put a block on it because it appeared as a scam on their file!

"I went against my better judgement and downloaded it, only for it to not work.

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"Then they told me I had to download a third party app – this involved giving them full remote access to everything on my computer.

"Again, against my better judgement, I allowed it… And it still didn't work!"

While mSpy has the highest number of searches overall, Uswitch found that the apps eyeZy and uMobix are also getting an increasing amount of attention from potential victims.

The risk of having one of these apps downloaded on your phone is even higher if it is a refurbished phone or second hand device sold on resell sites like Facebook Marketplace and eBay, the investigation revealed.

In May, it was discovered that millions of cheap Android devices had been injected with an information stealing malware before they'd even leave the factory.

But amid a cost of living crisis, people are increasingly looking to buy cheaper, older phones, Uswitch mobile expert Rehan Ali said.

So, the potential victim pool has grown significantly.

“With mobile contract prices having risen by up to 17.3 per cent in April 2023, many people can simply not afford to purchase new phones," he said.

"As a result, mobile phone users are turning to refurbished mobiles paired with a SIM only contract to cut costs.

“It is increasingly important for users to understand the risks of possible spyware software downloaded on devices.

"If purchasing mobiles from unauthorised resale markets where proof of a factory reset is not required, buyers must take their own precautionary measures to ensure that a device is spyware free before using."

Google and Apple are often quick to remove any app that breaches their rules.

Some of these apps have been removed from app stores, but they might still be downloaded on your devices.

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The full list of spyware apps to watch out for:

  1. mSpy
  2. Hoverwatch
  3. uMobix
  4. ClevGuard
  5. XNSPY
  6. eyeZy
  7. FlexiSPY
  8. Cocospy
  9. Spyic
  10. Spyine
  11. iKeyMonitor
  12. SpyBubble
  13. Spyera
  14. Highster Mobile
  15. pcTattleTale
  16. TheOneSpy
  19. Spyzzz
  20. Spybubblepro
  21. pcTattleltale
  22. Text Message Spy

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