Beware: Is your Phone Spying on You?

During several occasions, friends, family members and colleagues approached me with exciting discoveries. “Cedric, I found this great app which has made my life easier. More importantly it’s free”. What most people seem to forget is that NOTHING is FREE.

Let’s take a step back and put ourselves in the mind of a developer. He/she will spend time and resources developing an application. Time is money. So, why would a developer spend time developing a free app and how can he make money out of it?

First, let’s address the why?

  • Personal Interests ( Challenge, competition, fun..)
  • Financial Interests
  • Malicious Interests

Second, how can he make money out of free app?

  • Advertising
  • In app purchases/ Freemium Upsell
  • Collecting and Selling Data

It’s important to know, that there are four main types of malicious mobile applications:

  • Spyware: Secretly monitors user activities like texting, calls, location, contact…
  • Trojans: Packaged as a legitimate software, hackers use them to access sensitive information and to take actions by sending emails, generating calls on your behalf.
  • Phishing apps: Look like legitimate logins to a known service like online but are instead clever methods to steal user credentials.
  • Hiding Processes: Wait secretly in the background on the user device, for certain behaviors like an online banking session to attack.


Therefore, whether these applications help advertisers target you or help hackers steal you information, you will want to do your research prior to downloading applications and install one of the many mobile security programs offered by leading security vendors ( Symantec, Lookout, ESET, McAfee…) to reduce the risks of attacks, before its too late.

Want to see a real mobile hack ?

Watch a demonstration published by Symantec, of two iPhone hacks – malicious profiles and malware (spyware) – to see how a hacker can take full control of a device, steal credentials, control and manipulate communications, steal identities and remotely record conversations without detection.


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