Spyware: an all-encompassing term which suggests nano-sized robots infecting your computer. The danger sounds small, but you don’t want to leave yourself open to it. Your smartphone is a computer, with as much – if not more – information on it as your PC.
There are many uses for spyware. The information these programs collate isn’t just bizarre binary computer speak that is meaningful only to super-geeks. There are plenty of applications out there now that allow real life information into the hands of someone untrustworthy, such as credit card numbers, actual voice conversations, and where you are in the world at any time. Some even operate ‘keylogging’ where every letter, number, and symbol typed is recorded. In these cases, no password is safe.
1) Spouse Tag
With the development of the mobile internet, private investigators in various countries are starting to openly advertise software applications which can help track an allegedly unfaithful partner. A disenfranchised spouse can secretly load the software onto their partner’s mobile device and then continually monitor their whereabouts, who they speak to, and even what they say. Even if the couple split up, unless the spyware is eradicated from the phone, the monitoring can continue remotely.
2) Parental Tag
Despite kids usually being better than the adults at anything computer related, parents are finding better and cleverer ways to keep up with their offspring in the often frightening cyber world. Using spyware, they can monitor chat room activity and internet usage, listen in to conversations, check text messages, and pick up emails from the comfort of their own phones, without their children or the people communicating with them ever knowing a thing.
3) Employee Tag
Many people now carry a company mobile. With so many time-wasting websites available on the internet, and time-wasting games on phones, many employers now use spyware to ensure that their employees are playing the right game: the work game. If an employee is using a company phone, then they have probably signed an agreement (often called a Fair Usage policy) which allows the company to monitor all internet and communication activity without notice. So, if you have an elusive employee, then it’s probably best to use a text message tracker to keep an eye on the text messages sent and received by him. In fact, it is best to monitor all the employees. This will show whether employees are wasting time in exchanging SMS or are working. When it comes to using text monitoring tools, then employers have a lot of options to choose from. The good thing about these monitoring tools is that most of them are free while some require minimal fee. These tools come in handy when employees work outdoor or away from the office. Most importantly, the use of these and other similar apps enhance the productivity of employees up to a great extent. So, if an employee is giving low input lately, then it’s the time to try these smart apps.
There are a number of symptoms associated with the intrusion of spyware on a handheld device, so if you’re afraid that someone has unauthorised access to your communications and other information, these are the things you should look out for:
- your phone lighting up for no apparent reason
- your phone battery running down very quickly – often from full to empty within an hour
- your phone getting very hot, even when you’re not using it
- your data usage or text message charges skyrocketing.
It may just be a problem with your phone or provider, but if there are other non-cyber reasons for you thinking someone has tagged you – for example, an ex-partner knowing more about your private life than you do – you should back up your phone’s data and do a factory reset, or restore it from an older backup. You can also upgrade your phone’s firmware which should also eradicate your issues.
Written by Matt Higgins, an Internet Security expert.