On Wednesday, Motherboard showed how powerful off-the-shelf, $170 spyware really is. For a day, I used a piece of software on my phone to surreptitiously collect GPS location data, intercept phone calls, and silently steal photos.
Although a hacker can only infect a phone if they have physical access to the device, the threat from this type of malware is very real. It is heavily used by, and marketed towards, jealous lovers to spy on their spouses. For around two decades, people have used spyware for this purpose, with many cases ending up in violence or even murder.
NOTE FROM FIELDS AND DENNIS — THIS IS PART OF A SERIES ON CYBER PROTECTION DURING DIVORCE. FOR MORE SEE HERE.
More and more people who commit violence against their intimate partners are using technology to make their victims’ lives worse.
Consider one case we came across in our research: A woman in New York City who was being abused had sought help at a counseling center — privately, she thought. Her partner, however, had installed a tracking device on her phone, drove to the center, and literally kicked in its door. Counselors ended up calling the police.
NOTE FROM FIELDS AND DENNIS — FOR OUR SERIES ON CYBER ISSUES AND DIVORCE, SEE HERE.