Feeds

Mobile Spy ups mobile snooping powers

Big Brother calling

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Mobile Spy, a new application from Retina-X Studios, monitors calls and text messages and reports them back to a central server.

When installed on a Windows Mobile device, Mobile Spy allows parents to keep watch on their child's phone, or enables employers to enforce an acceptable use policy on their staff - though the legality of doing so will depend where in the world you are.

A similar application called FlexiSpy has been around for Symbian handsets for the last year, offering much the same functionality.

FlexiSpy's website even provides endorsements from the recently-divorced, who discovered their partner's infidelity thanks to the software.

"Thanks to FlexiSPY I finally figured out my wife was cheating on me with my brother. I had a bad feeling about this for over a year. After the divorce, my life is so much better now. This Could Be You!"

Makes you want to rush out and buy a copy doesn't it?

Installing either FlexiSpy or Mobile Spy requires physical access to the phone, so the authors claim they can't be classed as Trojan applications. But anti-virus companies disagree.

According to the F-Secure blog: "This application installs itself without any kind of indication as to what it is. And when it is installed on the phone it completely hides itself from the user...So yes, FlexiSpy is indeed a Trojan and we have added the detection to our F-Secure Mobile Anti-Virus so that any user who has a phone that has been infected with this Trojan will get a warning that someone is spying on them."

Ollie Whitehouse, security architect at Symantec, was equally damning of Mobile Spy: "Once Symantec has obtained a sample of this application we would likely add detection in our Windows Mobile anti-virus product. Symantec already detects other applications by Retina-X Studios due to what some would describe as their nefarious nature."

For those interested in hearing what was said, as well as when and to whom it was said, various applications exist for recording calls into MP3 files for later retrieval or automatic uploading, and at least one application can even record what's going on in the room at the time: relaying it over an incoming call from a pre-configured number.

The incidence of mobile phones being infected with viruses, Trojans or worms remains pitifully low, partly because of the low installed base (compared to desktop computers) and partly because the networks are much more secure, so until now the usefulness of mobile phone anti-virus software has been very much open to question.

But, depending on who you are and what you're saying, the chances of someone deliberately installing a spying application of this type are much higher than of catching a chance infection, which might make additional defences worthwhile. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.