Nearly all of us have a mobile phone, and as technology gets better, it brings more ways to instantly communicate with people. You may even consider your smart phone a life-saver, but is your phone also being used to spy on you, without you even realising it?
Now before you start rolling your eyes, thinking “conspiracy loon”, The Akh finally bit the bullet and got a (much needed) upgrade on his phone to an all singing & dancing Android handset. Being happy with just being able to make phone calls and send the occasional text, The Akh was more than happy with his battered old handset, throw in a huge wedge of resistance to change, and why should I change my handset?
Did The Akh like being called by salesman from India?
So a couple of weeks ago my shiny new handset arrived, and to be honest I took it out of the box, looked at it, and decided the time wasn’t right, I mean, porting across all those numbers and data, what a chore…yes more resistance to change.
Eventually with a free weekend, a rarity if there ever was one, The Akh got all the fiddly bits done, and got all his numbers and data across, set the ringing tones and speed dials….and then proceeded to sync his email account, twitter feed, instant messenger and even the mobile plug in for wordpress…hows that for embracing change!
With the plethora of apps available on the market, and the fact that phones pack more of punch then my old sega megadrive did, it’s within the realms of possibility that your phone can be used for more nefarious purposes. Nevermind your built in GPS navigation or Google Latitude giving away your location…a bigger danger lurks.
The CBS report above states how spyware or malware programmes can be placed on your phone without you even noticing.
Professor Murat Kantorcioglu, who teaches cyber security at UT Dallas, says the more advanced the phone, the more spying that can be done.
“Remember, this is a computer that does phone calls. So when you have malicious software it will be able to access all information. As more people buy smart phones, the more common the problem will become. I think it’s emerging and will be bigger and bigger”
Eric Robi is president of Elluma discovery, a computer forensics firm in Los Angeles. He says:
“It could be anybody’s cell phone. Spyware can get onto your phone through an email or text message with a trojan horse that hides the program or through a computer connected to your phone when you’re not looking. You can get someone’s text messages. Do GPS tracking and you can get their emails.”
After Robi downloaded the spyware onto his blackberry, he sent an email to his co-worker John.
Minutes later, that email showed up on the spyware’s webpage. “This is the entire content of the email, so it’s pretty scary.”
The spyware doesn’t stop there, it can even turn on your cell phone’s microphone and allow someone to listen in to your conversations with someone else in a room – even when you’re not on your phone. In fact experts say some programs will even activate your cell phone’s video camera, allowing someone to watch and record everything you’re doing.
But there are ways you can protect yourself. Anti-spyware programs are sold on the internet and in some stores that are designed for phones.
If you haven’t installed one such program, and you believe your phone is infected with spyware, experts say you can have a security wipe done on your phone’s operating system.
Experts say there are some other warning signs you can look out for that may indicate your phone is infected with spyware: if your battery is warm even though you haven’t been using it, or the battery is wearing down faster than normal.
Experts also suggest you treat your cell phone like your computer: use a password and don’t download programs or emails you don’t know.
Another recommendation, treat your phone like your wallet and never let it out of your sight.
Don’t have nightmares, it seems like there’s an app out there called the “Akinator” an appropriate name if there ever was one.