Mobile Spying Software Sophistication

Computerworld New Zealand reports that spying programs for mobile phones are likely to grow in sophistication and stealth as the business around selling the tools grows.

There is increasing evidence that money from selling the tools will create a stronger incentive for more accomplished programmers to get into the game, which could make the programs harder to detect. The prediction follows what has happened with the malware writers in the PC market. Many hackers are now in the business of selling easy-to-use tools to less technical hackers rather than hacking into PCs themselves.

One of the latest tools on the market is Mobile SpySuite, which some believe is the first spy tool generator for mobiles. It sells for US$12,500. The number of mobile spyware programs pales in comparison to the number of such programs available for PCs. However, mobile spying programs are harder to track, since security companies don’t see as many samples circulating on the internet as they do of malicious software for PCs.

Some of the more well-known spy programs are Neo-call and FlexiSpy. Neo-call is capable of secretly forwarding SMS (Short Message Service) text messages to another phone, transmitting a list of phone numbers called, and logging keystrokes. FlexiSpy has a neat, web-based interface that shows details of call times, numbers and SMSes, and it can even use a phone’s GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to pinpoint the victim’s location.

I’m not too worried though, SecureSMS would have those forwarded SMS texts encrypted. And besides, as SpySuite increases it’s market share, this will increase customer demand for tighter data security. Companies like CellTrust will move in and offer anti-spying tools. And so on, and so on. In other words, we’re likely to see the dynamic observed vis-a-vis PCs, i.e., the basic dynamic of evolutionary biology: adaptation.

Patrick Philippe Meier

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