Mobile spyware is one of the most invasive and targeted kinds of unregulated surveillance, since it can be used to track where you go, who you see and what you talk about. And because of its stealthy nature, mobile spyware can be nearly impossible to detect.
But now one Y Combinator-backed startup is building an app with the aim of helping anyone identify potential mobile spyware on their phones.
Malloc, a Cyprus-based early-stage company, made its debut with Antistalker, an app that monitors the sensors and apps running on a phone — initially for Android only — to detect if the microphone or camera is quietly activated or data transmitted without the user’s knowledge. That’s often a hallmark of consumer-grade spyware, which can also steal messages, photos, web browsing history and real-time location data from a victim’s phone without their permission.
The rising threat of spyware has prompted both Apple and Google to introduce indicators when a device’s microphone or camera are used. But some of the more elusive and more capable spyware — the spyware typically used by governments and nation states — can slip past the hardened defenses built into iOS and Android.