Check for spyware

Check for spyware

In this article we will show you how to check your phone, laptop and Internet accounts to make sure that no one is secretly following you…

Whether you are a curious boss or a paranoid partner, no one should spy on your phone or laptop. But this can still happen if your devices are somehow installed with Stalker software. These programs are specifically designed to be difficult to detect, but you can find them if you know how.



Working with programs installed on corporate devices by your employer is a little different from those installed by people you know personally who are trying to spy on you. The company you work for may have good reasons to monitor your performance, especially if it provides the hardware and software you use every day.

Whether or not such monitoring is justified, at least your supervisors should inform you that they are watching, not keep it a secret.

This guide focuses on software, with an emphasis on secrecy, but remember that there are many legitimate applications for parental monitoring and built-in tracking tools (such as Apple Find My) that can be used by family members. The difference is that it is very easy to understand if these types of applications are currently working, but you still need to know about them and how they can be used.



How to verify your phone

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The good news for iPhone users is that it is almost impossible to install Stalker software on the iPhone: Apple has set strict restrictions on access to applications and application security, which are not always user-friendly, but are very effective for security. iOS simply does not allow apps to penetrate deeply into the system to be able to secretly control what you do on your phone.

There is one exception, and that is if your iPhone is hacked (unlocked so that you can install any application). The person who wants to install surveillance on your smartphone in this way needs to be technically skilled and have physical access to your phone for a long period of time. The easiest way to check is to find the Cydia and SBSettings applications on the home screen.

Shortening the battery life is one of the signs of hacking your phone.
If you find that your iPhone has been hacked, a full reset should fix it (and erase everything else, so make sure your important data is backed up).Install hidden surveillance applications on Android devices is a bit easier, although officially it is prohibited: Google will remove the application from the Play Store, if it finds evidence of Stalker-like behavior. However, applications still sometimes slip into the market.The intruder will still need access to your phone to install tracking. In fact, this is one of the brightest warning signs to which you should pay attention: if you have set up your Android smartphone, and no one else has used it for more than a few seconds, it should be free of Stalker software.

If your phone has still been hacked, you may notice that it heats up or the battery runs out quickly, when you do not use it. You may also see unusual notifications that you don’t expect, or the launch time lasts longer than it should. Stalking applications are designed to be difficult to detect – but if you notice any unusual behavior on your phone, it’s worth paying attention.

Check the list of applications to find something suspicious.

Monitoring applications very often hide their presence, but they can be displayed in a list of applications under an innocuous alternative name: in the Android settings, click “Apps and notifications”, then “View all applications”. Stalker software can also be hidden in the Android Settings menu itself (often in security-related sections) – look for menu items that don’t look right, or that you haven’t noticed before, or that don’t match official documentation.
For added peace of mind, you can use third-party tools: Incognito , Certo and Kaspersky Antivirus are three phone scanning apps that should tell you if malware is on your device.

It should be noted that the problem of hidden surveillance apps is more acute now than ever, and both Google and Apple are very negative to any app that tries to do something like this.

How to verify your computer

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Most of the same principles of Stalker detection software for Android and iOS apply to Windows with macOS. To install the tracking still need access to your computer, but attackers can also deceptively force you to install the virus under the guise of something ordinary.

It’s easy for an IT manager to set up tracking software to set up your work laptop. As always, protect your laptop or desktop computer well with your own account and password and pay attention to its physical security, such as who has access to it and when.

Both Microsoft and Apple understand the stalking software problem very well, and Windows and MacOS will detect and lock down some hidden tools themselves without any further help. Like any other type of malware, stalker software can be detected by a third-party antivirus, such as Norton, Bitdefender or Malwarebytes, which are both Windows and Mac versions.

Task manager shows what is currently running in Windows.

If you want to do your own investigation, open Windows Task Manager (find it in the search box on the taskbar) or Activity Monitor in macOS (find it in Spotlight using Cmd + Space) to see everything that works on your computer. Keep in mind that spyware doesn’t usually list itself by its real name and may well try to pass itself off as a system application or use a short name you probably won’t notice.

Take a look at all the tabs that appear in the dialog box on your screen. If you see something that you have not installed, or something that seems suspicious by its behavior (perhaps excessive use of the drive) then do a quick search on the Internet by the name of the application or process. Usually this is enough to understand what you are dealing with.

You should also check if applications and processes are running at the same time as your operating system since most surveillance tools should do so. In Windows, you will find a list of software on AutoRun in the Run tab of Task Manager; in MacOS, open “System Settings”, then select “Users and Groups” and “Login Items”. Again, if you see an application you’re not sure about, search the Internet.

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MacOS Activity Monitor tells you what is happening to your system.

macOS may require some additional permissions for Stalker apps: in the system settings, go to the Security and Privacy section and then to the Privacy section. Check the entries for input monitoring and full disk access, as spyware often requires these permissions. Windows does not have this setting, but you can see the permissions that applications have (including location, camera access, etc.) by selecting “Privacy” from the Settings menu and scrolling down to “Application Permissions”.

As we mentioned before, if your employer monitors your workday, the tools must be visible and work with your consent. But if you’re really worried, a full system reset for Windows or macOS should clear most of the hidden monitoring tools if you suspect that one of them got root rights (make sure you back up your files first).

How to Check Your Accounts

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For those who want to invade your privacy, it’s easier to access your online accounts than trying to wiretap your devices.

In addition to checking for unauthorized access to your devices, you should also periodically check for unauthorized access to your accounts. Obviously, this starts with protecting your usernames and passwords: make sure they are known only to you, difficult to guess, not used in multiple accounts, and not recorded anywhere.

Think about using Password Manager so that your passwords are securely stored. In accounts where it is available, enable two-factor authentication.

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Facebook will show you a list of all the devices that you have logged on to your systems.

If you have an unwanted guest in your account, you can find confirmation in these settings. For Facebook, for example, open settings page in your browser, and click Security and Login to see all devices that have your account active (and log out that you haven’t logged on). If you’re using Gmail in a web version, click the “Details” button in the bottom right corner to view other active sessions.

Some mobile apps, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, can only be used on one device, so you know that your username is the only one active. However, this doesn’t apply to all apps-like Instagram, if you open the app settings and then tap on Security and Login Activity. , you will see a list of all the devices associated with your account. To delete a device, tap the three dots on the side of any of the entries and click Logout.

We also recommend viewing actions in your accounts – for example, actions such as the email folder in your email account, or messages that were received and sent to Twitter or Facebook Messenger. You should also check the drafts and garbage folders in your accounts for signs of suspicious activity.

Test Instagram to see recent login activity.

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If someone has accessed your email account, they have most likely set up automatic forwarding to another email, and this should be checked. For example, in the web version of Gmail, click the gear icon (top right), then “View all settings” and then “Forward and POP / IMAP”. : take a look at the entries under the heading “Forwarding” to see if your emails are sent somewhere else. Also check the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab to see if you have not configured it.

The approach may vary slightly depending on the applications you use and the accounts you have, but keeping track of your active logins and tracking application activity is the best way to detect unwanted visitors. Changing your password regularly is the most effective way to block unwanted access to your accounts.

 



WARNING! All links in the articles may lead to malicious sites or contain viruses. Follow them at your own risk. Those who purposely visit the article know what they are doing. Do not click on everything thoughtlessly.


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