Modern life is lived on our phones. Think of all the personal information such as photos, texts, credit card numbers, location data, browsing history, passwords and more. Imagine if someone could access this information, posing a significant risk to your privacy and security. The media is full of stories of mysterious hackers, but in reality, it is often those closest to us who pose the greatest risk. When love ends - jealous boyfriends and girlfriends can often find ways to spy on their partners’ or ex-lovers’ phones.
“Spyware,” “spouseware,” or “consumer surveillance software” - describe apps that enable someone to remotely monitor your device activity. Spy apps can be used by parents to monitor their kids’ online activities, or by businesses to check company-owned mobile devices. Most companies will notify employees of their use of monitoring software. Your unhappy ex will not. Your best bet is to understand how these apps work and how to recognize if your device has been compromised.
How spy apps work
Spy apps can be well hidden on mobile phones and record everything you do, say, type or view. Spy apps like mSpy, SpyFone, SpyMyFone, The Spy Bubble, Highster Mobile (these domains will be blocked and will not open if you are using Fyde app right now) and others remotely track and control activities on smartphones and computers, establishing a remote connection to the device they monitor. Once the connection is established, any information on the targeted phone can be sent to the person who runs the spy software.
Access to these apps can cost as little as a one-time fee of $69.99, or as much as $349 a year. Some apps even have free trials.
It’s easier than you think to become a victim of spyware. On an iPhone, the attacker must jailbreak the device to install software not authorized by Apple. Android devices are even easier to compromise. You can install a spy app without rooting the device, but to intercept calls or monitor instant messages, Android phones must be rooted. Even more scary, there are spy apps such as mSpy which do not require a jailbroken device. The moral of the story is don’t share your Apple ID or iCloud account info with anyone.
Spy apps: 50 Shades of Privacy Invasion
Spy apps can do more than you ever dreamed, with features that range from simply monitoring calls to recording every action on the tracked person’s device as well as their location and everything in between. Here are some of the most common features. Remember: all this data is visible to the person who installed the spyware app.
Social media monitoring
Tracks activities on social media channels such as Facebook, Snapchat, Hangouts, WhatsApp, Skype and more.
Text message & call monitoring
Records all sent and received text messages, allows access to phone’s call history, including phone numbers, date, time, and duration of the calls and permits call interception.
Records each click on a keyboard and monitors typing.
Parental controls or Application blocking
Blocks inappropriate websites and incoming calls, and sets criteria for which apps can be used and when.
Tracks mobile phone location history and current location.
Browsing history and apps usage tracking
Creates access to photos on the target’s phone, visited websites, search history, Contacts, Calendar and other installed apps.
Live Control Panel
Displays the actual screen of the phone, updated every 90 seconds.
Sends alert when the target device travels outside of a designated area, like a neighborhood or city.
Gains control to lock and unlock the phone, wipe phone data, and more.
Covert listening and camera control
Activates the microphone on the tracked person’s phone, allows spyware to listen to conversations. Tracker can also take a picture, undetected, and send it to his own device.
Love is blind, but you don’t have to be. Detect spy apps on your phone
If you suspect your device was infected, immediately remove the spyware. On your iPhone, run a software update to restore it to the original operating system. On an Android, go to Settings, Applications, Running services and uninstall any apps that you’re not familiar with. If you want to be absolutely sure the spyware is gone, after you clear the unwanted apps, run a factory reset on both iOS and Android.
Also, check for these symptoms:
Does your phone battery drain faster than usual?
Does your phone randomly start or shut down?
Is your data usage suddenly higher than normal?
These are just a few of many indicators that you may have a spy app on your device. However, more advanced spying apps can be more difficult to spot. These tips can help you avoid getting caught in a spyware trap:
Always lock your phone and keep your PIN code private. Teens in particular share passwords, so if you’re a parent share this advice with your kids.
iPhone users should protect your Apple ID and password to avoid jailbreaking into your device (check out our post on how to create a strong password).
Keep your device up to date to ensure you get all current security updates. This will help spot a potential jailbreak or any unwanted third-party software.
- Use Fyde app - it will block all the unwanted spyware on your phone.
Enjoy Valentine’s Day. Share your chocolates, not your info.