F-Secure: Spyware on Smartphones Downright Devious

Dennis Faas's picture

With the limited number of hacks being reported for popular smartphone models like the Apple iPhone, many owners feel an added sense of safety when pressing the "on" button. However, according to a statement made by computer security firm F-Secure, people need not worry about protection against viruses, so much as protection against spying tools.

F-Secure stressed their concern over the ever-increasing number of companies selling spyware products that target smartphones like the iPhone and BlackBerry, where users could manually install the spyware themselves.

Phone Spyware: Infects in Two Minutes or Less

While some might argue that accessing someone else's smartphone and implementing spyware would take some time to complete, F-Secure contends that newer versions can speed up the process in as little as one to one-and-a-half minutes.

The way in which the spyware operates is simple, if not downright devious: it gives a person total access to monitor the affairs of others.

According to Mikko Hyponnen, chief security researcher for F-Secure, "We've tried [the spyware] out and it works like a charm. You can log someone's phone calls, the number, how long they talked." In regards to texting, Hyponnen replied, "If they sent a text message, you can find full information about when they sent the message, who received it and the actual content of it." (Source: itpro.co.uk)

F-Secure: Spyware has Little to do with Espionage

Surprisingly, F-Secure said that the reported cases of spyware manipulation have little to do with espionage. Rather, cases of jealous wives/husbands looking to keep tabs on their spouses top the list of investigated cases.

Security companies fear the presence of GPS devices in most modern smartphones as well. Said Hyponnen, "With the modern phones you know exactly where [the phone] is. If you have GPS you get the exact location."

Another cause for concern is the fact that having remote access to a smartphone means that a person with evil intentions can turn the microphone feature on and off at their leisure. Yes, some spyware products allow you to "listen in" to conversations from a far away location. (Source: itpro.co.uk)

Suddenly, the added sense of security that most smartphone owners previously had enjoyed is not so sound.

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