Adam Adler: How To Make Your Phone Spy-Proof?
There are no escaping software-based exploits, and even malware which is prevalent on Android, so it’s theoretically possible for someone to spy on you by listening through your phone’s microphone or watching you through its camera.
Protect your privacy, your data, and your peace of mind with this guide to beating thieves, whether they’re online or on the street.
As we’ve recently seen from leaked CIA documents, no one is immune to hacking attacks. Here’s how to protect yourself against them, whether they come from opportunist thieves or state-sponsored spies.
A quick Google search for "spy software" yields over 150 million results. There is a massive interest in spying software and gadgets. Irrespective of the motivation or justification, spying is illegal. It is a gross invasion of privacy in most countries around the world.
You don't have to suffer if someone is spying on you. There are several tools that will help you find hidden spy apps and programs on your computer, smartphone, or otherwise. Here's how to protect yourself from being spied on.
Smartphones are one of the biggest personal conveniences of the digital age. For many, the smartphone is the single biggest store of personal information. You access your emails and text messages, take photos, store banking information, and much more on your smartphone. As such, smartphones are a prime target for spying apps and data theft.
Once installed on your smartphone, a mobile spying app uses your data connection to send remote logs to the person spying on you secretly. These logs can include:
Text messages and emails.
Photos and videos.
Data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps.
Location tracking data.
Spy applications can invade all areas of a smartphone. The amount of available data depends on the spy app. For instance, some smartphone spy apps might send data back to a remote server for analysis, while others may include activation of the smartphone microphone to listen to phone calls directly, or real-time location tracking over GPS.
A smartphone spying app will not have an obvious user interface. In most cases, the spyware app can hide its app icon, whether on iOS or Android. Furthermore, the key to their success, the spy can access the logs and app remotely, without ever having to engage with the smartphone again.
Take the following measures to avoid Android and iOS spyware apps:
Always keep your phone with you, in your possession.
Use a strong password to lock your device. Do not use easier lock options such as a basic PIN or a pattern combination. Add a biometric lock where possible.
Consider your surroundings while unlocking and using your device.
Monitor your device for strange behavior. Strange behavior includes randomly waking, unexpected activity, increased network usage, unexpected network connections, and so on.
Monitor your bandwidth using a data monitoring app. Check the app for strange apps using data. It could be a spyware app sending data.
Snowden’s fix for this is pretty drastic and will require some hardware skills. He’s seen physically removing the smartphone’s microphone and cameras so that it really is possible to “go black.”
While you can’t do anything photo or video related without a camera, it’s still possible to use the phone for making and receiving calls even if the internal microphone has been taking out. Just plug in a headset that has a microphone and you’re good to go.
Nevermind the fact that none of this will protect you against someone hacking into the device and lifting any and all important files and information that you may have on it, unless you disable internet, Bluetooth, etc to counter that threat.
This may not be needed for most of us since the NSA and U.S. government isn’t exactly after us like it is after Snowden, but if you’re paranoid about that, this is just a few of the steps you need to take to be spy-proof.
What is your smartphone actually doing?
Snowden says that the central issue surrounding modern smartphone use is that we don’t know what the device is doing and what it’s connecting to.
“Apple, and iOS, unfortunately, makes it impossible to see what kind of network connections are constantly made on the device and to intermediate them,” he explained, saying that users should be able to make “intelligent decisions” on an app-by-app and connection-by-connection basis.
“If there was a button on my phone that said ‘do what I want but not spy on me,’ you would press that button! That button does not exist right now. And both Google and Apple — unfortunately Apple’s a lot better than this than Google — neither of them allow that button to exist. In fact they actively interfere with it because they say it’s a security risk, and from a particular perspective, they actually aren’t wrong.”