IS YOUR PRIVACY BEING VIOLATED? SPY APPS RAMPANT ON THE INTERNET
New York, NY (Law Firm Newswire) January 25, 2012 – Privacy and Civil Rights advocates called yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant before they can attach a GPS tracking device to a vehicle a significant victory. But they also expressed disappointment over the court’s decision to not address the wide-ranging issues of whether police are required to obtain search warrants for all kinds of geo-location tracking technologies, such as cellphone tracking systems.
In a six month investigation of illegal spying Kessler International’s forensic team found that most smartphones can be used for conducting unlawful spying and assisting criminals obtain information to conduct identity theft.
In order to test how dangerous your smartphone has become with a simple installation of readily available software from the Internet, Kessler International’s staff purchased a variety of smart phones and installed a variety of popular cell phone spy apps to discover what dangers the software posed and if traces of the apps could be detected by mobile forensic engineers to reveal their existence.
Kessler’s experts tested the products of the major smartphone spyware software providers on BlackBerry, iPhone and a variety of the Android devices. The team of forensic experts then reverse engineered the installation of the software to see how covert the app would be. In every case Kessler found telltale traces of the spyware in every product tested.
Michael G. Kessler, President & CEO of Kessler International stated, “Despite the best efforts of the developers to make their spyware as furtive as possible, my team determined that in every case not one spy app tested could make itself completely invisible. That gives the victims of spyware an important edge in proving their suspicions that their privacy has been invaded.”
Smartphones, which have essentially evolved into portable computers, can be turned into spying devices within minutes through the simple installation of sophisticated spyware software that has capabilities like the futuristic clandestine tools that were once used in espionage films. The spy using a phone device with these apps doesn’t even need to touch the device after the bug is installed. From the comfort of their own computer anywhere in the world, they can log into a Web console and see everything happening on the phone. Major smartphone platforms such as Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile are all susceptible to targeted spying. The eavesdropper can snoop on your text messages, pinpoint with great accuracy your specific geographical location and even patch into and listen to both sides of your live phone calls. Some of the spyware we tested also had the ability to activate the phone’s microphone and instantly bug the room it was in without you even knowing it! Although using these apps is illegal, the companies selling the products seem to be flourishing.
Additionally, unlike the average computer program or smartphone app, spyware tries to hide itself. This is accomplished in various ways, leaving the spyware installed and operating silently in the background with no icons or windows to betray its presence for you to find. Even if the user were to suspect something, they would not know where or how to look for it. The good news is that the presence of spyware leaves subtle indications that can be detected by a competent mobile forensic engineer.
About Kessler International
Kessler provides mobile forensics, discreet risk mitigation services, business intelligence, forensic accounting and computer forensic services to corporations and individuals worldwide from its offices in New York, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Washington, Illinois, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, France, China and the United Kingdom and affiliates throughout the world.
Established in 1988, Kessler’s satisfied clients are comprised of an extensive and distinguished list of Fortune 500 companies, prestigious law firms and individuals worldwide. Its diverse staff includes attorneys, certified forensic computer and mobile phone engineers, forensic accountants, CPAs, licensed investigators and researchers.
For more information on this research or computer and mobile phone forensics, contact Michael G Kessler at 212-286-9100 or visit Kessler International’s website at http://www.investigation.com/.
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