Did you get a new phone for Valentine’s Day?
That thoughtful gift may have been more than a loving gesture; you may want to check it for snooping software. A company called mSpy now allows snooping gift-givers to purchase phones with spy-level monitoring software already installed.
“The phone records everything that happens on the device and sends the details to a remote website. Every call is recorded, every keystroke logged, every email seen, every SMS chat or photograph monitored,” Forbes reports.
mSpy sells the embedded spying software on the HTC One, Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s, at various prices; the Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $300 and the subscription for the preloaded cheater-catching software costs another $199 for a year.
The software is also sold as a downloadable link, so it can be installed on any compatible phone.
The company offers a demonstration on their site, and assures customers it is “impossible” for a target to know whether their phone is infected with the spyware.
“Unlike other software of this kind, mSpy manages without SMS commands that appear in the message folder of the target mobile device to make the application work. The size of the activity data that gets uploaded to the server never exceeds 100kb and doesn’t get noticed by the owner of the target phone when their phone bills arrive.
“Moreover, the mSpy application boasts a battle-tested history of insignificant battery power consumption so that the target device works as usual. Thus, it is virtually impossible for the owner of the target phone to detect the mSpy software as it can be controlled online without conspicuous connection between the server and the target phone,” the mSpy website boasts.
The supposed targets for this software are children and wayward employees, whose parents want to keep closer tabs on their brood and whose bosses want to legally track what happens on a company phone. But Andrei Shimanovich, mSpy co-founder, knows many people will use the product in illegal ways and told Forbes it isn’t his responsibility.
“It is the same question with the gun producer,” says Shimanovich, a Belarus native who recently moved to New York. “If you go out and buy a gun and go shoot someone, no one will go after the gun producer. People who shoot someone will be responsible for this. Same thing for mSpy. We just provide the services which can solve certain tasks regarding parents and teenagers.”
So how do you know if your phone is spilling your secrets to your significant other or your boss? mSpy didn’t immediately respond to TheBlaze to answer that question. But we did find an online hack that may help you uninstall the program if it lives on your phone.
But if you have reason to be concerned about spying eyes, it might be time to just get a new phone altogether. And a new relationship.
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.