Spy program snoops on mobile phones

Spy program snoops on mobile phones New software that hides on mobile phones and captures call logs and text messages is being sold as a way to monitor kids and spouses. But one security company calls it a Trojan horse.

The FlexiSpy application captures call logs, text messages and mobile Internet activity, among other things. The software, released at the beginning of March, sells for US$49.95 and is advertised by Bangkok, Thailand-based Vervata as a tool to monitor kids and unfaithful spouses. The data captured is sent to Vervata's servers and is accessible to customers via a special Web site.

Similar surveillance software for PCs already exists and has raised the ire of groups fighting domestic violence, who fear it may be used by abusive spouses.

FlexiSpy has attracted a different kind of criticism from security company F-Secure, which has labelled the software a Trojan, or a malicious program that disguises itself as something innocuous.

"This application installs itself without any kind of indication as to what it is," Jarno Niemela wrote on the Finnish antivirus maker's corporate blog Wednesday. "And when it is installed on the phone, it completely hides itself from the user."

FlexiSpy could be used by miscreants as part of malicious software that targets phones, Niemela wrote. Alternatively, an attacker could try sending the program to phones via a Bluetooth connection and trust that there are enough curious people to install it. F-Secure has updated its security software for mobile phones to detect the program.

Vervata in an e-mailed statement late Wednesday insisted that FlexiSpy is not malicious. "FlexiSpy is not a Trojan horse, nor a virus, and does not require the purchase of F-Secure antivirus products to remove it," the company said. An uninstall option is provided, Vervata added.

"FlexiSpy is activity monitoring software that needs to be consciously installed by a human who knows exactly what the software does," Vervata said, to distinguish its product from a Trojan horse. "It does not self replicate, it does not pretend to be something it is not, and it always requires conscious human action for installation."

Sales of FlexiSpy have "exceeded all expectations," Vervata said, without disclosing any specific numbers.

FlexiSpy is available for mobile phones that run the Symbian operating system, such as Nokia Series 60 handsets. Vervata plans to release by the end of April a version for Research In Motion's BlackBerry, as well as for devices that run Microsoft's Windows Mobile Pocket PC operating system, according to the company's Web site.

Vervata is still working on "FlexiSpy Pro", which will log e-mail and multimedia messages, in addition to the other data, according to the company's Web site. That version will also include a "monitoring" feature that lets the user call the target mobile phone from a preset number and listen in on what's going on in the background, in much the same way a baby monitor works.

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nicki posted a comment   

does it work om sony ericsson, exeria or walkman


budgie posted a comment   

how can we purchase I don't have a credit card


tellidede posted a comment   

is it possible for nokia e72?


maria posted a comment   

Will this program work on Nokia E71? and how much will it be? australia.
what can of support do I have for installation of such program?


angell18 posted a comment   

will it work with G1?


chris posted a comment   

very good


Nanny posted a comment   

will this software work on a samsung sgh-a411, how much and where do we get it?


jonh kim posted a comment   

i has sony ericsson k610i it your sorl wrae it in my phone .my net work i use 3g this network in australia


lubelle posted a comment   

what spy software is for use with a moto razor pls?


meedofone posted a comment   

will this system work in egypt on a nokia 3200 and how much

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