There’s been so much in the news about the PhoneSnoop, FlexiSPY, and other spyware. It’s bad when even the US-Cert (United States Computer Emergency Response Team) and CNet are alerting smartphone users about it. Cyber stalking is taking on a new meaning with phones, but what’s the big deal and why should you care?
There are all kinds of spyware for phones out there. Many of these can be traced back to Russia or China and they sell out your privacy cheap. They can do everything from intercepting calls and taping them, to viewing your text messages and listening to your conversations using your phone as a bug. It’s real, it’s true, and it works. The worse part is it’s sold as legal to buy, download and install to your phone that you own. In other words for you to use at your own discretion. And many are being creative with the technology, including blackmail. We’ve done a few articles on the spyware and SMobile as well keeping up with this issue. PhoneSnoop is in the SMobile library and is detected by their system. It even has an icon. For more information on PhoneSnoop, click here. Flexispy is as well, and both are in the SMobile malware library.
The reality of BlackBerry and spyware began this summer when Etisalat, a carrier in the United Arab Emirates, sent SMS messages to BlackBerry owners encouraging them to download a patch, a patch that was created to intercept email messages and forward them to a monitoring agent. SMobile Systems did a technical analysis of the software and found it to be spyware.
Your BlackBerry has the capability of a laptop a few years back, but it also has voice which means even more information is at risk. There is an app called Kisses that’s supposed to detect spyware and it’s free. Kisses detects but does not remove the spyware. So it tells you you’re infected, but doesn’t have the antidote, more like yes you have a parasite, and good luck. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and I’m not sure I would trust something like that on my BlackBerry.
So how do you protect yourself from this risk? How can you be sure your phone doesn’t have this ware? First of all, the only antivirus that is patented for the BlackBerry is available from SMobile Systems with the SMobile Security Shield. It’s available for $24.99 and up, depending on which shield you want. It has antivirus, spyware remover, lock and wipe, and GPS , as well as backup. SMobile Security Shield not only detects but removes it. Yes, you have a parasite, now it’s gone. If software isn’t something you’re interested in, let’s see what the US-Cert advises.
1. Only download apps from trusted sources.
2. Password protect and lock your BlackBerry device to prevent someone else from installing such software on your phone.
And if you’re in a very sensitive conversation that involves high level information, the best way to be sure you’re not being listened to is to remove the battery.
And while some will argue the legality of the spyware, even some security apps designed for your phone feature the ability to have the phone call you quietly to listen to it’s surroundings, but could also be used in other ways such as a bug. It’s the same concept. Software like a gun, can be used for right and wrong reasons, it’s in the hands and mind of the user how it will be used.
SMobile has also created their version for Android phones as well. One can never be too safe. So I have to ask, how many readers out there are concerned? How many are a little irritated by it? And how many don’t care? Please share your comments with us.