These days, parents can easily end up installing RATs instead of legitimate parental control software. Parents looking for a way to monitor their child’s online activities may turn to malware known as Remote Access Trojans (RATs) due to their proliferation and low cost.
There’s a difference between RATs and parental control software, which some might also call spyware. Unlike the latter, RATs don’t come with blocking features.
Parental control software, while it’s as intrusive as RATs and logs certain details about how a child uses his device, does provide a parent with the ability to block certain apps from the device, proving to be useful in some other way than just spying on kids.
On the other hand, RATs don’t provide a similar feature. Parents looking into installing parental control software might cross the boundary from legitimate software to full-on malware due to a lack of understanding on what differentiates the two products.
It’s easy to end up on a RAT’s homepage these days
Parents looking at software packages like mSpy, TeenSafe, Mobile Fence, or PhoneSherrif, all legitimate parental control software, might very easily end up installing malware like Revenge, Orcus, Ozone, JBifrost (Adwind), Remcos, or Darktrack.
All of these are commercially available RATs advertised on legitimate-looking sites as remote administration tools or parental control software when they don’t provide anything outside the ability to sniff on the computers they infect.
They price points between which these products are sold is the same as for commercial parental control software.
Parents should stick with known & reviewed brands only
In some cases, RATs come backdoored out of the gate by the crook distributing it, so while the parent keeps an eye on his kid, the RAT author is keeping an eye on both. Parents should always do research before buying or installing anything on their kids’ devices.
There’s a growing trend around the world of parents deploying apps on their kids’ smartphones to monitor and block calls, SMS, and apps, just like there’s a trend for kids that install apps to hide their activities from parental control software.
Parents should be very careful about the products they choose to deploy. Telling kids that they keep an eye on the way they use their devices is also recommended because parents avoid losing the child’s trust and end up alienating them in the end.