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James Bond in Your Pocket: Cell Phones That Spy

James Bond in Your Pocket: Cell Phones That Spy
November 18, 2010

by Ondrej Krehel

Smart Phones

There are cell phone apps for everything these days, including as it turns out, spying. Yes, tha's right, spying—like 007 himself. And they’re not as hard to use as you may think.

Google recently banned an application from the Android marketplace that forwards SMS text messages. The idea is simple: a message is sent to one phone, and without the user knowing it, it automatically forwards it to a second phone. I's as easy to setup and install as Angry Birds, or any other cell phone app out there.

Other spying applications can track cell phones via GPS. The Android game Tap Snake acts as a shell for the app GPS Spy. Tap Snake sends GPS data every 15 minutes to a second phone with GPS Spy enabled. Though considered malware, the program is still widely available online.

There are some commercial packages that can seemingly do it all—record email messages and SMS sent from the phone and monitor the phone location via GPS. They run in the background, hidden from the user, and are marketed primarily toward parents wanting to keep track of their kids and employers suspicious of their employees.

The more sophisticated our phones get the more programming possibilities—good, bad and ugly. With all tha's happening, is it surprising that we’re seeing a rise in anti-malware and virus protection for smart phones? Probably not. I's something to consider along with more generic security procedures such as password locks and application prompts for GPS and Internet access.

Ondrej Krehel, Chief Information Security Officer, Identity Theft 911

Ondrej has more than a decade of network and computer security experience. His expertise extends to investigations of intellectual property theft, massive deletions, defragmentation, anti-money laundering and computer hacking. He led U.S. computer security projects at Stroz Friedberg and worked in IT security at Loews Corp.

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