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SECURITY THREAT

Popular mSpy Smartphone Parental Control App gets Hacked

mSpy is a popular smartphone platform that allows parents, and legal owners of mobile devices, the ability to track users via GPS and monitor Smartphone activity.

On May 15, 2015 Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity, who also broke the Target and HomeDepot data breach stories, noted that a large trove of client personal data had been allegedly taken from appmaker mSpy and posted on an anonymous network file sharing system called TOR (The Onion Router).

Full article here - Mobile Spyware Maker mSpy Hacked, Customer Data Leaked - Brian Krebs - May 15, 2015

As Krebs notes in the article, “it’s ironic that so many (well meaning) parents have now unwittingly exposed their kids to predators, bullies and other ne’er-do-wells thanks to this breach”. It’s a good reminder that any digital connection we make with our PC, tablets, or smartphone or in a future with the Internet of Things (IoT) your car, home thermostat, or even refrigerator may become the conduit for others to steal information.

 Nothing is failsafe. Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t “jailbreak” your phone, period. If taking a device’s security off is required for an application to be installed that should be a red flag. Don’t compromise your device’s built-in security for the promise of a new feature or application. Look for one that can co-exist with your security features, if possible.
  2. PCMag and c|net both provide consumer reviews of mobile applications. Be sure to read several user reviews before deciding to install any new smartphone application.
  3. Remember, your phone is a computer – so secure it like one. Not running antivirus/antimalware software on your mobile phone? Mobile malware is on the rise and will continue to be a growing threat vector for years to come. Popular security makers like McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and AVG all have commercial mobile security applications. Avast! and Lookout Mobile are also solid choices. More information can be found in this article from Digital Trends. 
  4. Privacy is definitely dead … if you don’t bother to read. Granted end user license agreements (EULAs) for software are often tough to get through without caffeine injections. However the Privacy Grade site promises to help. PrivacyGrade.org provides overviews for many of today’s most popular Smartphone apps. While mSpy is not rated on the site, many other applications are reviewed and rated here.  

Other questions about Smartphone or tablet security?  See these additional Pinnacle resources on the Fraud and Security home page:

 

Please note: It’s generally considered unethical and likely illegal to spy on someone else’s mobile device without their knowledge or consent. Pinnacle does not endorse or use the mSpy software mentioned in the article.

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