Mobile

Technology and Techniques Used in Mobile Espionage

Mobile espionage technology has increased boomingly these days. There are various kinds of apps and software which can act as a spy and constantly provide each and every detail contained in your mobile to the person who installed the app on your mobile.

The first thing to understand here is that our mobile is an operating system where various kinds of software run and perform a set of tasks or instructions given to them. The operating system allows the software to be run and thus gives them the ability to perform what they are made for. Thus it will not know when you have installed software intentionally versus when it was maliciously installed in your absence. Sometimes these apps come in form of malware and destroy your data too. Thus awareness against such mobile espionage and technology and techniques behind it is a must.

Let’s try to understand how this exactly works!

1. GPS

If there is one thing which is an absolute wonder, it is the presence of GPS on our mobile. How easy it has made our lives while driving or reaching a destination. However, have you imagined what would happen when someone spies on your locations and places you have been to? Since the GPS provides a detailed diagram in the map of where you have been, it becomes easy for a spy to tell your exact journey details. Leave individuals aside, nowadays even corporates companies have started using spionage app for their business needs. Using such app they can easily locate their employee and eliminate the need for attendance in cases when the employees work at the site and in distributed locations.

2. Access to your device

The first thing espionage needs is access to your device for few moments. During that moment, a person can inject or download a software and install it on your mobile. The software can be available easily on play stores or any app store based on OS compatibility. Once a software id downloaded and installed, it hides inside your mobile and in the background reads and delivers all data to another server which can be accessed remotely. So that means your mobile is needed just for a short span of time and all your data and privacy is gone!

3. Access to contacts/media/audio/video and almost everything

How many times you downloaded an app and it irked you that you need to provide permission to the app to access almost everything on your device including your camera, contacts, call records, audio, video and almost everything! Now imagine when an app starts making use of this access and store the data on other servers, unthinkable things can happen. Yes, you heard that right. Privacy would be breached and this breach can cause potential chaos! Audio can be used to record your calls while the access to messages can be used to keep track of them and create a copy somewhere else!

4. Jailbreaking or rooting

As discussed in the introduction, the spyware is nothing but software that does an assigned job. Now no mobile manufacturer would design his product to be easily hacked. In fact, there are thousands and thousands of tests done on a mobile before releasing it to market. There are big bounty competitions where users are awarded a huge amount of money to find a bug or a vulnerability which could be exploited easily by a third party app or hacker.

Thus sometimes spying apps or software doesn’t work normally on the phone, even when a user has granted access to all his mobile features. In such cases, more elevated privileges are needed and that can be done by jailbreaking or rooting the iOS or Android device in question. Doing that means, you have reached a step back into manufacturing the device again and giving it features which were not supposed to be given. Rooting your device voids your warranty and this is a dangerous step. Once that is done, as a developer, you can do almost anything and get the phone to work in a way you want.

Conclusion

Above technologies and techniques work when you leave your phone unattended or give it to someone you trust and he/she takes an advantage of the same. Spying on someone’s phone is a serious breach of privacy and there are countries with strict laws to deal with such cases.

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My name is Sherrie Campbell, I am an author, Ph.D. holder, living in California USA. I'm a blogger for the Huffington Post, a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur and licensed Psychologist with over nineteen years of clinical training and experience.

1 Comment

  1. Its funny how concepts in movies like these one are now coming to reality. And as seen in movies, all can be used for either for good and for bad. In the digital world, all information are worth something. Its their business. Its kind off creepy, but the digital world is our world now. I just wish people would be more careful on what they upload online.

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