FOX 5 Investigates: Cell Phone Spyware - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

FOX 5 Investigates: Cell Phone Spyware


Our mobile phones know all of our secrets. Everything we search, say and text. Even everywhere we go. So just imagine if your smartphone became a spy phone.

Robert Siciliano, CEO of Boston-based, said these days, a degree in espionage is not required to electronically stalk someone.

It takes as little as ten minutes to take control of a phone. It costs as little as $15 to buy the software and it is easily found online.

Listen to live calls, view photos, read call logs, dominate other people's cell phones.

“Anybody selling you spyware today, they’re telling straight out exactly what it's for. To monitor your 12-year-old daughter, to monitor your employees and to monitor your spouse to find out what he or she is doing,” said Siciliano.

Here is an example of how it works. A woman installs spyware on her husband's phone. Every time he sends or receives a call, text or e-mail, her phone is alerted. She can even secretly conference herself into any of his calls and listen in from anywhere she has service.

The software also allows access to a phone's GPS. Coordinates from where a person’s phone is, where it has been, right down to the street address.

And even more eye-opening is that some spyware can actually activate your phone's camera, capturing your every move.

“If the wrong person installs spyware on your phone, they can stalk you. They can know where you are and where you’re going, who you’re with and really make your life a living hell,” said Siciliano.

Along with keeping a close eye on your phone, you also need to be careful what links and applications you click on. Spyware does not have to be installed by someone you know. You can end up downloading it yourself without even knowing.

Chris Wysopal is the founder of software security company, Veracode. As mobile technology advances, he said professional hackers are moving from computers to phones.

“It isn't just thrill seekers trying to spy on people. It's really a criminal operation where they want to get personal information, financial information they can use,” said Wysopal.

It is hard to tell if a phone has been bugged. The signs include sudden drops in battery life. Ambient noise in the background during a call and strange text messages from unfamiliar numbers.

“Chances are, if there's spyware on your phone, you’re not going to know about it,” said Siliciano.

According to Siliciano, the best thing to do is trust your instincts. If you think someone is spying, don't trust your phone.

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