Category Archives: Eavesdropping

How to tell if you are being bugged

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There are a lot of different recording devices available for consumer purchase these days. Hidden Surveillance cameras can range in looks from your everyday household objects like a clock radios all the way to objects that are not so covert.

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Is Your Mobile Phone Bugging You? (Seriously.)

Is your mobile phone acting “funny,” or not as fast as it once was? Have you noticed that someone seems to know more about what’s going on in your life than they should? Do people say that they tried to call you, but your phone was busy (and you weren’t using it)? Does your battery seem to be sucking more juice than usual?

You can mark it down to coincidence, or it may mean that your phone has either been infected with a virus, or there’s a program running on the OS that is “listening” to, and/or, recording your email, text messages, logging your calls, and conversations. Both are different in use and theory, but in both cases they’re a security threat and nuisance. Continue reading

Copyright Office Unleashes iPhone; Legalizes Jailbreaking

The U.S. Copyright Office announced that jailbreaking (software modifications that liberate iPhones and other handsets to run applications from sources other than those approved by the phone maker) the iPhone, and basically any Apple O/S, is legal. The decision stems from a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the new ruling rewrites the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Continue reading

U.S. & Russian Spy Rings Mimic Hollywood

If you’ve been reading or watching the news lately, you undoubtedly know that the United States and Russia are in the midst of a so-called spy swap.  On June 27, the FBI arrested 10 people on charges that they were deep-cover spies working for the Russian government but living for years in the United States. Their job, according to the DOJ, was to determine U.S. “secrets by making connections to think tanks and government officials.” Continue reading

Bugnets: More Than Backyard Pests

Meetings with friends or clients. Private phone conversations. New business presentations. Financial transactions. Personal/family interactions. All items that we, as citizens of the United States, assume are private interactions, protected, and respected, by others. Continue reading

Hey Smartphone Peeps, Read This!

The Smartphone industry has become as hot, and unavoidable, as social media.  As company and government offices move toward providing smartphone for “indispensable employees,” people who don’t want to be chained to their office 24/7 are finding a new reality.  Moreover, let’s not forget to mention the millions of high school students that need smartphones…
I know, I know; it’s a school requirement.

Increasing use increases risk of phone viruses.  Consumer demand for “the latest and greatest” has ignited competition between manufacturers that are eager to outsell competitors and sate consumer appetites.  Today’s smartphone doesn’t need a ton of features.  There’s an App for that.

Apps, or “Applications” are software programs that run on a smartphones operating system to make the phone, and its owner’s life, simple.  In most cases, this is true.  However, the introduction of the iPhone redefined the smartphone industry: Why buy a Blackberry, with 10,000 buttons on it when you could own a touch-sensitive phone that was sleek, easy to use, and fit nicely in your pocket?  Soon after the iPhone came Google Android and Verizon’s Droid.  Recently the Kin became available; its main selling point is social media integration.  Other “cool” smartphones include Aria, Panther, Symbian, and–of course–Blackberry Bold 9800 (better late than never).

The nuclear smartphone race launched the app race.  All good stuff.  Nevertheless, like all good things, they come to an end, in this case meaning that more malware and spyware applications’ manufacturers that want to steal your intellectual and physical property.  Malware on cell phones isn’t new, but it’s become more prevalent on smartphone platforms.

These “bad guys” are targeting smartphones at higher rates, and, according to mobile security provide Lookout, an average of 9 malware/spyware infections were discovered every hundred Smartphones as of last month (May 2010).  A Dark Reading article on the malware highlights the fact that electronic infections took 15-years to reach their current levels.  Mal- or spyware on smartphones has reached the same level in a couple of months.  (May’s infection rate doubled November’s).

John Herring, founder of Lookout, stated, “We call this the 1999 factor: It feels like about 10 years ago in terms of prevalence of threats.  There was a tipping point between 2000 and 2002 [for PC threats] that was driven by broadband.  The same trends are going to hold true here” (with smartphones).

Veracode, another mobile phone security provider demonstrated why malware is dangerous;  Tyler Shields, senior security researcher with Veracode, developed and released a spyware app that targets Blackberries, steals all contact info, both text and e-mail messages, plus allows hackers to listen in on calls.  Scarier still, the spyware application can track the infected phone using GPS.

Blackberry infections are usually spying programs due to the Blackberry’s early introduction to corporate America.

As smartphones become more user-friendly, it’s important to understand that our phones provide more information than our computers, including location (GPS), automatic payment info, e-mail, text, phone call records, voice mails, text, and a record of numbers called by the phone.

If you need your smartphone scanned for viruses or malware, call U-Spy Store’s corporate headquarters in Chicago at (773) 529-2SPY (2779), or send us an email.

Is Your Cell Phone Safe from Prying Eyes?

It’s a given that your computer’s been exposed to Spyware or Malware, attacks that have hopefully been thwarted by anti-virus software. However, what about your cell phone?

According to police detectives, cell phones are infected with both spy- and mal- ware.  Aware of the danger of computer viruses, most users, for the most part, are not familiar with similar threats that can infect cell phones. Detective Ernest Ward (Jonesboro Police Department) stated that cell phones are “infected with spyware and malware and they [users] don’t even know about it.”

Searching the Internet will reveal numerous websites that offer downloads that will track and record text messages, phone numbers, pictures, and call logs. The general assumption–and manufacturer’s sales information–is that these applications are to be used for practical purposes. Parents tracking their children, or corporations ensuring the proper use of company resources.

However, many such programs can replicate themselves and are difficult to detect to those not familiar with cell phone operating systems. The spyware programs often run “below” areas where users operate their smart phones.

Some of the applications send reports in real-time, displaying information on a parent’s phone as a child  receives the call, allowing the parent to record the number and listen to the call.

Since many smart phones have the same capabilities as laptops, the risk is heightened because phones don’t have in-depth defense programs. Some of the viruses on cell phones can activate micro-phones or cameras, allowing other parties to eavesdrop on conversations or view areas captured by the phone’s camera.

Recently, spying via technology was boosted into the national spotlight when it was reported that a Pennsylvania school district school that provided students from two high schools with free Macbooks was sued in federal court. A theft-tracking program on the laptops, allegedly used to track missing units, was deemed to be invasive because of a feature that activated computer webcams on the laptops.

Users were never informed of the software, and district officials concede that their monitoring of students had gone too far. The original intent of the software was to capture images of the “desktop and whatever is in front of the screen for law enforcement to help track down a missing computer.”

Facebook Glitch Allows Eavesdropping

Facebook admitted yesterday that reports of a bug in its software, allowing users to electronically eavesdrop on others by allowing users to view their friend’s chats and messages was true.

Although Facebook announced that they had discovered, then repaired, the problem, it was actually discovered by TechCrunch’s European offices.

Once reported, Facebook shutdown their chat service and repaired the security hole within hours. The statement from Facebook reads:
“For a limited period of time, a bug permitted some users’ chat messages and pending friend requests to be made visible to their friends by manipulating the “preview my profile” feature of Facebook privacy settings…”

Notice that Facebook didn’t define the amount of time that  constituted a “limited period.”  Thus, the eavesdropping could have taken place since the beginning of the year. However, users began complaining on Wednesday morning, so it is assumed the problem is a recent one.

Safety and security have plagued Facebook, and it was reported that the CEO of the social site “did not believe privacy.” Unless, of course, it has to do with the company he founded.  Unfortunately, there are no electronic countermeasures; users should, however, lock down their privacy settings.


Facebook’s security-related mistakes weren’t over. Once again, TechCrunch Europe reported a second security breach, this time concerned with the Prime Minister elections in England. TechCrunch EU noticed that a poll asking users who they wanted as Prime Minister – set to end Tuesday – was still up today. Voting rules in England state that both intention and exit polls are illegal on election day. Facebook’s position was that the poll did not ask how people voted, but who’d they like to see as Prime Minister.  Although Facebook denies wrongdoing, the poll disappeared from the site.  Again, no countermeasures on that one.

If you believe that you’re being monitored without your knowledge, send us an email or give us a call at U-Spy Store. We’ll provide you with the advice, and equipment, you need to flush out privacy invaders.

Police: Man charged with eavesdropping

Posted: Sunday, April 25, 2010 6:10 am

GLENS FALLS — A Granville man was charged with eavesdropping Saturday after his ex-girlfriend discovered a recording device hidden in a child’s backpack, police said.

Donald A. Connolly, 34, of Route 22, was charged with felony eavesdropping after someone in the ex-girlfriend’s home spotted a red light on a 4-year-old’s backpack, Glens Falls Police Sgt. Keith Knoop said.
Knoop described the incident as follows:

Connolly and the ex-girlfriend have a 4-year-old child in common. Connolly had dropped the child off at the woman’s Glens Falls home Saturday, and a short time later the light was spotted on the backpack.

They found what appeared to be a recording device sewn into the backpack, and brought it to the Police Department. Police confirmed it was an audiorecorder.

Connolly was called to the police station, and admitted he put the device on the backpack.
He did not explain why, but Knoop said it appeared to be related to a custody dispute.

He was charged with eavesdropping and released pending prosecution in City Court. Police Officer Dan Habshi made the arrest.

http://www.poststar.com/news/local/article_f1f9f436-5053-11df-974b-001cc4c03286.html