Wednesday 06 August, 2014
Your mobile phone knows everything about you. Not just your personal data and who you call, but also where you go, what you’re doing and the conversations you’ve been having. So it should be no surprise that there are many ways people can spy on you through your mobile phone. Prepare to be frightened.
Keeping an Eye on You
How do you know if your kids are using their mobile phones safely? There are apps out there to help you keep tabs on them. That’s the dream of every parent – to keep their kids safe. Companies that make and market these products also mention that you could use them to track employees using company phones. You can also use them to catch a cheating spouse. Or basically spy on anyone at any time.
They don’t come right out and say this, of course, because it’s borderline illegal. But these apps, which are commonly called ‘spy apps,’ are marketed as a panacea for paranoid parents and such, but it’s pretty clear they’re used to spy on people.
Spy apps like mSpy, StealthGenie and MobileSpy track everything you do on your phone, including reading your emails, seeing what websites you visit, tracking you through GPS to know where you are, discover who you’re calling, and so on. Some can even listen in to your conversations through your mobile’s microphone or see what you’re doing through its camera. All of this data is then sent to someone.
Under the Radar
What’s especially insidious is that these programs run under the radar. Apps such as these are designed so that there’s no indication they’re running. If someone has access to your mobile, they can install while you’re unaware.
However, there are some warning signs that someone may have installed a spy app on your phone. These include:
* Fast battery drain. These apps usually hog battery power when they’re running.
* Apps you don’t remember downloading. If you’re an avid app downloader, you should check from time to time for anything suspicious.
* Strange background noise. Programs that listen through your microphone often have background sounds.
* Trouble shutting off or turning on. If your mobile won’t shut down, or it’s particularly slow to turn on or off, this could be a sign.
* Turning off and on at random. Sometimes, spy apps make your phone turn on and off at random.
These are also the warning signs of spy malware. There are malware programs you can get just like any other virus or malicious program that spy on your activities. They can steal your data or worse. There is a type called ‘visual malware’ that takes 3D images of your surroundings through your camera for potential thieves.
The Legalities of Phone Spying
Legally, a person can only spy on you if they own the phone. This is why parents can install spy programs on their kids’ phones. Employers can also install these programs on phones leased out to employees. But if someone has done it without your permission, you can take them to court.
Mobile spying is a very real threat and it can have serious consequences. Check your mobile often to see if there’s suspicious activity and make sure you have an antivirus protection program in place.