Parents who want to keep an eye on their child’s online activities are, may turn to use malware known as Remote Access Trojans (RAT) due to their increasing popularity and low cost.
There is a difference between using RATs and using parental control software, which some might also call using spyware. Unlike the parental control software, RATs don’t come with the blocking features.
Parental Control software does a little more than RATs. They are able to block certain apps and make them unavailable for children while the RATs can only spy on what the child is doing.
On the other hand, RATs don’t provide a similar feature. Parents who wants to install a parental control software might cross the boundary from a legitimate software to a full-on malware due to their lack of understanding on the differentiates between two products.
Parents looking at software packages like Mobile Fence, mSpy, TeenSafe, or PhoneSherrif, all legitimate parental control software, might easily end up installing the malware like Ozone, Revenge, JBifrost (Adwind), Orcus, Darktrack or Remcos.
All of these are commercially available RATs but are advertised on legitimate-looking sites as parental control software or Remote administration tools when they don’t provide anything outside the ability to spy on the computers they infect.
They price points at which these products are sold is the same as the commercial parental control software.
In some cases, RATs come backdoored out of the gate by the attacker/seller distributing it, so while the parent keeps an eye on his kid, the original RAT author is keeping an eye on both. Parents should always do research before buying or installing anything on their kids’ devices.
There is a growing trend around the world of parents deploying apps on their kids’ smartphones which monitor and block calls, SMS, and apps, just like there is a trend among kids to install apps and hide their activities from parental control software.
Parents should be very careful about the products they choose to use. Telling kids that they keep an eye on the way they use their devices is also suggested because parents avoid losing the child’s trust is the last thing in the world they wish to come true.