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Police are arresting people for using this app

Police are arresting people for using this app
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Every jealous lover snoops at one point or another. But now, snooping could get you arrested. At least, if you're caught snooping with a DroidJack spyware app.

On Wednesday, October 28th, Europol announced an international law enforcement action, which led to searches in 13 households in several countries, including Germany, France, Britain, Belgium, Switzerland and the United States. And although it's unclear how many offenders were arrested, what is clear is that authorities are cracking down.

For anyone who's considering installing apps, such as mSpy and StealthGenie, to spy on their partner's text messages, phone calls and contacts, consider yourself warned. Without your partner's consent, downloading spyware is likely illegal, and could get you into some serious trouble.

How does it work? In the case of DroidJack, the software remotely accesses an Android device from a PC, all without the Android user's knowledge, giving the perpetrator access to the user's private information. And the amount of information that can be collected from such software is alarming.

The DroidJack software allows perpetrators to:

  • View, send and delete text messages
  • Listen in on phone calls, or make calls
  • Retrieve call logs
  • View, add and delete contacts
  • Turn on the device's microphone to spy on conversations
  • Open and use apps on the device
  • Track the user's GPS location

Due to the increasing threat, security companies are now referring to this software as a "remote access Trojan," or RAT, which is a label for software that hackers use to control computer webcams. Learn how to stop peeping Toms from spying on you using your webcam.

But it seems there is a fine line. There are legitimate uses for software such as this, which makes it difficult for authorities to pursue legal action against the software developers. Parents, for example, could benefit greatly by having the ability to monitor their child's activity and safety on their hand-held device.

What do you think? Does it make sense for authorities to crack down on users of this type of software? Should there be more legislation against developers creating software with these capabilities?

If you're concerned that your smartphone is at risk from malicious apps, consider an anti-virus/anti-spyware program which will warn you if an app you've downloaded to your phone is malicious. This keeps you aware of potential threats, however, it's not an end-all solution. A hacker who has physical access to your phone can override this software, so we recommend taking these seven steps to secure your smartphone.

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