Espionage software, a spyware industry, has recently experienced a shift in its customer base – from spying over Chinese intelligence agents and Eastern European the industry is receiving requests from jealous spouses, paranoid parents and obsessive bosses.
Several forensic experts and former Pentagon contractor Michael Robinson came together at the Defcon hacker conference to discuss different ways to detect a range of cell phone spyware, like MobileSpy and FlexiSpy – which can easily be installed manually in the targets’ mobile phone to track their location, read their text messages and listen in on their calls.
The Predator becomes the Prey
The first rule of spying is discretion – the target should know that they are being spied on. Imagine you install cell phone monitoring software on your target’s mobile to track the subject’s activities; but every time data is transferred, your details are specified on the target’s mobile phone, revealing your identity.
Robinson unearthed this glitch in spying after testing five commercial spying tools on mobiles with four Android devices and an iPhone. He found out that once the data is transferred from the target’s mobile, the spy’s personal details, email address and phone number are displayed on the target’s mobile.
Later, he tested following tools and devices, and found out glitches in the spyware, which enables the target to identify their spy.
Robinson installed “the world’s most advanced cell phone tracking and monitoring system” – the Spy Bubble on an LG Optimus Elite. He found out that the commercial spyware left behind an installer file called “radio.apk” in the subdirectory “/mnt/sdcard/Download.”
Robinson used LG Optimus V to test Mobistealth, “the ultimate cell phone spy software,” and discovered that it left behind a file “mobistealthv2.apk”, which was clearly visible in the download directory of the phone’s SD card.
Robinson ascertained that Flexispy proved to be the most ineffective spyware program, which also happened to be the most expensive – with a $350 fee per year. On being installed on an HTC Wildfire – rooted, as per the software’s installation instructions – it left behind a file called “FSXGAD_2.03.3.apk” on the SD card’s download folder.
Robinson installed this spyware on a Samsung Galaxy Prevail. The glitchy spyware left behind a file called “ms5-2.1-above.apk” in the phone’s SD card download folder.
Spyera proved to be the only spyware that didn’t present obvious clues visible to the average user – tested on an iPhone. Robinson found it difficult to detect the spy software in the mobile phone installed – not because of its stealthiness, but from the difficulty of accessing the file directory on an iOS device. By installing software used for forensic techniques, Robinson found a folder called “Logs” including a file called “ownspy.log.” Using this spyware the affected person can spy on the target while keeping their identity anonymous. Robinson confirmed that this spyware can only be detected by installing special forensic software in the target’s mobile phone – which users are not particularly aware of.
Ane Gomes, an author significantly contributes towards PC security Software,cell phone spy software, iphone spyware(download iphone spy) and blackberry spy. You can also follow her on twitter @AneGomes for more details