Other gadgets at risk
Although it is possible for your mobile devices to be infected with malware that allows hackers access to your microphone, in most cases thieves will use spying apps to get the information they need. Luckily, installing these apps typically requires physical access to the device itself. But it can still happen. Here's what you need to look out for.
It's simple to install a spying app on Android once you get past the lock screen, so make sure you have the lock screen turned on and no one knows the PIN, password or pattern.
You can make it a bit harder by blocking third-party apps from installing. Go to Settings>>Security and uncheck the Unknown Sources option. It won’t stop a really knowledgeable snoop, but it could stump less savvy ones.
In the past, installing non-iTunes third-party apps on an Apple gadget meant jailbreaking it. Jailbreaking is a fancy term for getting full access to iOS so you can get around Apple's safeguards.
The process is different for every version of iOS, and takes some time and knowledge to pull off, so Apple gear was always relatively safe. However, some spy apps, notably Mspy, don't need a jailbroken gadget anymore, as long as the snoop has your AppleID to log into iCloud.
If you have iCloud backup turned on, the person doesn't even need your phone. Granted, a non-jailbroken gadget won't give up as much information as a jailbroken one, but it's still a lot.
It's a good idea to keep your AppleID a closely guarded secret. On the plus side, if someone does use this method, you just have to change your AppleID password to lock them out.
Still, there's the chance that your snooper might try the old-fashioned method of jailbreaking. Again, if you keep your phone in sight and have your lock screen enabled with a solid PIN, it makes this nearly impossible.
No companies we could find have spy apps yet for Windows Phone 8 or Windows Mobile 10. There are some for older versions of Windows Mobile, but almost no one uses that anymore. As long as you keep an eye on your gadget and enable the lock screen, you should be fine.
Getting a spying app onto a phone someone is using is tough - as long as they have a lock screen and other protections in place - but what if the app is on the phone from the beginning? There's no way to defend against that.
If someone offers you a shiny new smartphone out of nowhere, do some homework on where it came from before accepting.
This is important: If you think a spy app is already installed, do a factory reset of your phone - after you back up your information, of course. It's inconvenient, but it will give you peace of mind.
For more information on cellphone spying, click here.