Category Archives: Mobile Tracking

Passwords – True Guards or False Friends?

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One of the numerous issues with the increasingly more digitalized contemporary reality is the sense of false security that it so easily instills in people. We are lulled into feeling that our passwords are keeping our data safe, our bank accounts are linked to our e-mail, our phones unlock with our unique fingerprints, and so on.

We are not here to argue that the 21st century is a fantastic, breathtaking time to be alive – it is indeed, with all the diversity, amazing technology and freedom that it offers. But there’s a price tag on everything, including the convenience and ease of many everyday tasks that can be undertaken online (or in many cases can exclusively be conducted), and, in this case, the price are the digital threats, such as identity theft, the ever-increasing danger of privacy intrusion, cyber-bullying, personal information leaks, bank fraud and other numerous potential security breaches that may range from unpleasant to life-threatening.

Passwords are one of the chief security walls between a device or application user and the potential threats posed by hackers and malware, among other issues. Or are they? Are they merely a veil that creates a false sense of security?

Basic password rules

Well, certainly if a top-level hacker sets a goal to get into your e-mail, provided that you’re not a top-level hacker yourself, it’ll most likely be a matter of minutes, or hours at the most. However, since this is an unlikely case scenario, we’d say that passwords are a relatively reliable defense against an average break-in attempt. So it does make perfect sense to learn the basics of proper password creation, namely:

  • Random is better than predictable
  • Complex is better than simple
  • Long is better than short
  • Avoid:

Reusing old passwords / Using the same password on different websites /Keyboard patterns / Doubling up the password to meet length requirements

  • Two-step verification should be used where available

And here’s another piece of advice that’s so obvious that it almost seems ridiculous – do not ever use the passwords like 123456 and password. These are the first to be cracked by the most amateur hackers, and denote your complete oblivion to the basic digital safety rules. Common pop-culture terms, numbers in their regular or reverse order, letmein, qwerty, iloveyou, admin, welcome, whatever and login top the “most popular passwords” lists for years on end – never mind the fact that in a perfectly sound digital world there should not be any such lists to begin with. According to one of the latest Splashdata compilations, the newest 2017 addition is, ironically, trustno1.

A password manager app is actually a great way to store passwords in a secure manner, and generate new ones if you’re all out of ideas.

How vulnerable are we?

As the number of our activities shifting to the digital zone is increasing with the speed of lightning, the number of threats that we encounter grows at approximately the same rate, so we need to be aware of how vulnerable we are and do whatever we can to become at least somewhat less vulnerable.

There is a lot of frightening information out in the open about hackers being able to crack up to 90% of 16-character strong passwords. This is possible primarily due to the relatively insecure cryptographic method called hashing, which is most commonly used. The passwords are ran through a one-way mathematical function, which creates a hash, or a unique string of numbers and letters. The hash can be then converted back into a plain text password.

The first stage of an attack usually cracks over 50% of the passwords, while the later attempts are increasingly more complicated, utilizing so-called Markov attacks, brute-force attacks and wordlist attacks, and reveal a smaller and smaller number of passwords. There isn’t much than a regular user can do about the way that a website treats their password. However, making sure that you’ve complied the relatively simple basic rules will indeed protect you from break-ins – at least to a certain extent.

Do Smartphones Know too Much about Us?

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Our smartphones hold so much information about practically all aspects of our lives – it’s scary to even start thinking about it. Contact phone numbers, photos, videos, location history, banking passwords, personal messages and e-mails – this is just the standard list, there is definitely more significant and intimate information on your device than you’re willing to share with anyone, let alone the criminals that may have stolen your phone.

There are numerous programs that can be installed on a smartphone, known as spy apps, which will grant you control over the phone and online activities of a troublesome teenager, a cheating spouse or an unscrupulous employee. They basically allow a similar degree of control over their electronic devices as a thief would have over yours in case of theft. Let’s assume you are not planning to take advantage of the information you find on a child’s or an employee’s phone and will only use it for their benefit in the former case, and for the benefit of your company – in the latter. There are still moral issues to be considered, but here, at least, there is no criminal activity involved.

The secret life of a stolen phone

What happens, though, when your phone with that wealth of personal information floats out into the ocean of distinctly criminal activity? Unpleasant, to say the least, but very disturbing and downright dangerous in the worst-case scenario. After his iPhone got stolen, Dutch filmmaker Anthony van der Meer decided to see what would happen to another phone, which he rigged especially for the theft by installation of Cerberus, an app that lets you be the guard of your own phone if it is stolen. The range of this app options is strikingly similar to spying apps – it allows to trace location history, take photographs and record video remotely, control the internet connection, phone calls and contact list updates. It also allows you to backup or wipe your data remotely, which certainly sounds useful. This anti-theft program basically allows you to spy on your own phone. With a little bit of extra work, which entailed installing the app in the system memory segment, instead of the user segment, van der Meer made sure that the program can survive a full phone wipe. He also made it run under the radar by changing the app name and making it more inconspicuous, as well as forbade automating updates or flashing.

Then he placed himself in a situation where he provoked the theft of the phone (it actually took four days of work, which is reason for optimism), and began his investigation, filming himself in the process and revealing some of his counterpart’s activities, but not his face. What he observed over the course of the next weeks was not particularly eventful, but that’s not quite the point of this real-time low-budget tech thriller. The point seems to be more in the exploration of the psychological relationship we have with our devices and the disturbing feeling we get when they are stolen, since they have grown to be practically parts of our selves. The film also explores the unusual one-sided relationship that the filmmaker began to form with the thief in possession of his phone. Strangely enough, issues of privacy emerged as van der Meer felt that he may be invading the privacy of the alleged thief. This is an issue that also arises with spying apps, which are not unambiguous from a moral standpoint.

Protect yourself!

The Find my Phone film is a curious exploration, but don’t just stop at watching it and musing on the concept. If you are genuinely concerned about the security of personal data that your phone contains, installing an anti-theft app is a very good idea – before it’s too late. Not many of us want to conduct as thorough an investigation as van der Meer did, most of us just want to be protected from identity theft, people meddling in our personal affairs and banking accounts and other types of unpleasant activity that may ensue.

Technology and Personal Relationships

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The unstoppable, relentless technological progress is upon us. To a different extent, we are all used to being serviced by various gadgets and apps, not to say addicted. Would an average city dweller from a developed country be able to survive the loss of this digital structure that holds a person afloat in today’s world? It’s a serious question, with most arguments probably against this probability. Even the realm of human feelings has been getting progressively infiltrated by technology. Tinder and Grindr allow to quickly swipe through mostly short-term encounters, and phone tracking/monitoring apps are there to keep your significant other in check – if that’s your idea of a close relationship.

One of the ways people may depend on tech innovations is the alluring ability to track their loved ones’ activities on their mobile phones. The question is as old as the world itself, or at least as the concept of faithfulness – is he (or she) cheating on me? Is there someone else? There are a number of ways to go about it – first and foremost, if there is a disruption of trust between two people, whether stemming from past events, or born in the mind of the beholder, the best way to deal with them is communication. A relationship is all about communication, and when sincere interaction stalls, the basis of a relationship is threatened in the most serious manner.

Options for the Curious and the Desperate

If you make a decision to go ahead and track a spouse’s or a loved one’s phone, technically there are several types of options:

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  • Phone tracking apps, such as the customized and affordable mSpy, Highster Mobile and FlexiSpy that need to be installed on a person’s phone, and then go undercover, allowing you to see what he or she is doing. SMS, phone calls, messaging apps and browser history will all be at your fingertips – but please be clear about the fact that in most jurisdictions this is an illegal way to resolve your relationship issues – or any other issues for that matter, with the exception of tracking an underage child’s mobile phone.
  • The consensually installed partner apps, such as CoupleTracker and mCouple offer approximately the same degree of access to another’s life to both partners. They come with both advantages and disadvantages in comparison to the covert phone trackers. On one hand, they are undoubtedly more ethical and simply legal, on the other – they are a lot less efficient in attaining their objectives. Aware of the software installed, the person being tracked is more likely to abstain from questionable behavior or just find ways to circumvent it.

Traditional spying equipment – hidden cameras, microphones, following your spouse in a rented car in disguise – the flat-out paranoid ways that we’ve all seen in the movies.

Useful or Destructive? The Decision Is Yours

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Is trying to track your significant other’s activities the best way to go about restoring trust? Doesn’t seem that positive a method, on the other hand, it may lead to an even greater loss of trust. A wise approach to the issue of cheating entails, first of all, the ability to consciously approach the very need to know more about your partner – more than you can ask him or her about openly. Will you be able to process this information? If you are sure that you can – put your best effort into open communication first, and if that doesn’t work – well, do you think that tracking your partner will actually improve your relationship? Is spying on someone conducive to building or rebuilding trust? Or will it, should you find something incriminating, only prove as grounds for more bitterness and further degradation of the partnership?

Personal or couple therapy is definitely a more promising means to deal with trust issues if direct communication is difficult. However, if you are still absolutely convinced that you need to know the facts at any price, the phone monitoring apps, such as mSpy, Highster Mobile and FlexiSpy are far more effective in obtaining information than their counterparts.

To BYOD or not to BYOD – that Is the Question

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Bring Your Own Device to work is the trend of the recent years that’s been spreading all over the world. What exactly is it? The answer is very simple – it’s one of the consequences of consumerization of IT, when companies allow and encourage their employees to bring their own electronic devices to their workplaces and use them for work purposes.

With the introduction and spread of BYOD, a major overhaul of the very concept of corporate IT infrastructure was launched. It’s only logical that as the devices generally grow more powerful and versatile, there’s no reason not to acknowledge and take advantage of this fact. Using one device for all purposes, both personal and professional, should allow for more seamless integration, on one hand, but is doesn’t come without very specific detrimental effects.

Advantages and drawbacks

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges and benefits BYOD affords the company that begins to realize this strategy. BYOD is generally treated by technology experts as providing more advantages than problems – when properly implemented, of course.

What are the positive factors?

For the company, the instant benefits are in the reduced costs due to the absence of the need to purchase and maintain an extensive IT infrastructure, greater productivity due to the convenience of familiar devices, and generally greater employee satisfaction.

The spread of BYOD is somewhat limited by companies’ hesitations to implement it in their particular firm for security reasons. Such caution is explained by the perfectly understandable fear of information leaks. However, the latter is not necessarily a BYOD-related problem. Access to sensitive information of all kinds has always been an issue, and the onset of the computer era may have only exacerbated it somewhat. Pen and paper also served the purposes of industrial espionage perfectly well, as did CDs, flash drives, e-mail and other data transmission methods in the earlier years. In addition, people have been bringing their own devices to work for a long time, the only change that BYOD company policies may bring is the company’s acknowledgement of the situation.

Is BYOD more of a risk or an advantage? Well, NOT implementing some sort of BYOD policy will not make the issue go away, since such ignorance may pose a far greater exposure to various threats. For one, we all need to accept that BYOD is already here, and outline our company approach.

Regulatory policies for BYOD implementation

If you’ve decided that BYOD is a useful solution in case of your company, you should plan out its implementation thoroughly. There’s no reason to abandon corporate standards at once and give in to anarchy where everyone has access to everything. Just as with any technology, there are measures to be taken in order to regulate and contain the potential problems it may bring – at least to some extent. What are they?

  • Instructing employees of their new responsibilities and new risks;
  • Achieving an understanding in regard to specific requirements for the operating system, work-related applications and antivirus software that should be installed on all employee devices;
  • Determining policies regarding remote access and data security;
  • Outlining data access levels;
  • Establishing a procedure for securing data in case of employee termination, device loss or theft, etc.;
  • Regulating passcode protection and data encryption;
  • Considering mobile employee monitoring solutions.

BYOD and mobile monitoring

Let’s discuss the last option in more detail. There are numerous software solutions, such as mSpy, Highster Mobile and FlexiSpy, that allow employers to monitor their employees’ activities on their devices. According to the laws of most countries, adults have to be mandatorily informed when a mobile monitoring app is installed on their phones even if the phone is provided by the company. Once installed, there’s no need for any contact with the target phone, while practically anything a person does on the phone is readily available for review. The program features usually include call, e-mail, instant message and SMS monitoring, internet use and location tracking. It may be a bit extreme, but, in some cases, it’s preferable to compromising your company’s sensitive information. BYOD is a part of today’s reality already, and it is high time to figure out how to deal with it.

Mobile Spy Apps – the Present and the Future

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We’re living in a world where our actions, location, purchases, browser history, and all kinds of personal information are becoming more and more public domain. State authorities have access to most of our footprints, which are growing more and more digital every day. Advertisers and big data tech companies are deeply curious about our consumer habits. Our loved ones may also want more access, some theoretically, some more aggressively, interfering with our personal space.

Phone tracking, mobile spying, parental control software – all these are synonymous, and basically allow a user to gain information about his or her counterparty without his or her consent. The only case in which such actions are legally appropriate in most countries is that of underage children, and even with employees’ company phones, people have to be forewarned that there’s a possibility of their phones being monitored. Even though there are situations when resorting to such apps is understandable, you do need to remember that the legal requirements in your country are probably against it.

Phone tracking is a growing industry, since the desire to monitor a (possibly) cheating spouse’s communication, follow your teen’s activities in the dangerous world out there or make sure your employees are acting properly is not decreasing. It gives a person a sense of control, although, we must admit, produces constructive results in only a small number of cases. Interpersonal communication is a far more efficient tool in achieving harmony in a relationship.

What’s new on the market?

What’s new in the fledgling industry? Actually, 2017 was not marked by any breakthrough discoveries, rather, the already existing popular apps and new releases that are similar to them fine-tuned their software, made it more compatible with various operating systems and more efficient, and added new features.

The phone monitoring industry leaders are still the same, namely,

  • mSpy
  • FlexiSpy
  • Highster Mobile

The smaller and weaker players have been mostly pushed to the margins, while these three are splitting the greatest portion of the market between themselves. No new players emerged, at least none that can rival the leading apps in features and price/quality ratio, or offer something exclusive as far as the technological possibilities are concerned.

Most of these apps offer a similar set of features, including text message, call, e-mail and social network monitoring, GPS locators, media access, browser access, etc., in different combinations. The prices range significantly, so make sure you study the set of features offered and select one that’s most appropriate to your situation. Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the app only require a fee for downloading it, while with others it takes a recurrent monthly payment to keep the program running.

Ambiguous future of the phone monitoring industry segment

It would seem fair to say that the mobile monitoring spyware market has been predominantly shaped for now, and is unlikely to undergo any radical changes any time soon – until the technology takes another leap forward, of course, and then we’ll be in for another round of new features and breakthrough opportunities. Do people need more technologically advanced opportunities for monitoring each other even closer? Well, it’ll definitely be tempting to many, but regardless of whether we consider it a positive development, it’s an almost certain one. Just like the fact that people will always worry for their young and feel pangs of jealousy, leading some to take the step and consider installing a phone monitoring app on someone’s phone.

Mobile Tracking Apps – Make a Careful Choice

There are many various companies that offer their mobile tracking products; however, there is always a question which ones are reliable and worth paying for. The choice is pretty great but to make a good one is not an easy task at all.

First thing before making any purchases is to do a research on the subject and read a lot of information. The company’s general image as well as its background and customer feedbacks can tell a lot about the choice you are about to make.

Website

One of the first things to pay attention to is a company’s website. It should be easily accessed and have a contact page as well as pages with terms and conditions and privacy policy. It is always a good sign when a company’s physical address is disclosed and there are several ways to get in touch with them.

The other thing is general information that a site contains. It is supposed to be relevant and up-to-date as well as easily comprehensible and not quite eloquently SEO-related, though, it is hard to make a company that does not promote itself in any possible way – the good one doesn’t do it so that it could be easily seen, in other words, professionally.

Stay away from the sites that have no contacts and have only few unconvincing pages as they are most likely to be scam.

Payment Process

The next things to pay very close attention to is the process of payment. Package and payment structures look pretty similar in most large companies. The difference is usually in the monthly/yearly options and the subscription’s limitations.

One lifetime payments are something to be very skeptical about – it is hard to believe that for the price of one subscription you are likely to get the same service of the same quality for the rest of your life.

Cancellation and Stuff

Cancellation policy can also be something to read very carefully – especially the fine print. If everything is clear, then, there is a good company in front of you; if there is something you do not quite get and the company’s replies are not very convincing or downright elusive, better stay away from it.

Guarantees for the product you download differ from the ones for a product you actually buy in a store. However, consumer rights are the same everywhere. In this respect it is quite important to read refund policy and all the fine print with it as attentively as it is possible – saves you from very unpleasant consequences.

Support

Support page should also be checked before you start dealing with the company in question. It has been aforementioned that contacts are essential, but support page is the place where you will be able to get help when there is any issue with the product you buy from a company. That’s why it makes sense to check whether LiveChat actually works as well as e-mail and phone is answered in appropriate manner.

Here are very simple basic tips on the account of a company choice. Yet another way to make sure the company is good is to read customer feedbacks – they do help creating a very clear image of the company and its operations.

 

Office Security and Mobile Apps

Technology is created for our benefit and we surely do use it to make a world better in its turn. The same refers to various mobile applications that employees bring to their working places. There appears to be a risk to the office security system as well as many other problems that are bound to arise.

One of the things that many organizations have started to practice – BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) systems or adding stealth monitoring software to make sure that everything is all right. However, not everything is very smooth about such practice.

Recent report created by Gartner that was carried in 2015 proved that the majority of such mobile tracking apps have no adequate security protocols that would make their use safe and secure especially for the use inside of an organization and especially a large enterprise.

BYOD policy does not guarantee security and if your organization complies with this policy, it is high time to improve security testing of all mobile apps. The thing is that organizations are sometimes are either ignorant or unaware of the threat that might come with the mobile apps; however, there are a lot of things that an organization is better to be protected from.

Recommendations for Avoiding Problems

  • It is essential that companies should update their SAST and DAST (static application security testing, dynamic application security testing). Why is it essential? The thing is that it is necessary that a company’s tests should be compliant with all mobile devices. Surely, the task is not really easy as apps multiply by day.
  • All employers should have access to the background monitoring process options in order to be able to prevent any unwelcome activities.
  • All the server and devices should be tested and protected, especially the ones that are connected with mobile devices on a regular basis.
  • Only the apps that have passed the security testing should be admitted and allowed for download.
  • Wrapping as well as SDKs for application containment usage are advised for companies for better data protection.

More than 90 percent of the businesses today rely on third-party apps for their BYOD policies. This is why, according to Gartner, the year 2017 will start seeing a shift of enterprise security towards mobile app security. Endpoint breaches will have more focus on smartphones and 75% security threats will be because of mobile apps.

At the present moment there are more than 90% of companies that rely on BYOD policies. However, the shift to mobile security is coming and fast. It makes sense to pay better and closer attention to mobile apps as they are likely to pose a stronger threat with time. They become better and with this more complicated as well as with regards to enterprise security. It is high time to pay closer attention to applications that will protect a company’s data.

mSpy Got PTPA Winner’s Seal of Approval

sealGood news to all mSpy customers – the company has recently got an award and it is the PTPA Winner’s Seal of Approval.  As a matter of fact, PTPA Media represents a digital agency with the aim of Parental Advocacy, Community Building and Digital Communications. They are the part of Parent Tested Parent Approved™ and they have got one of the largest volunteering stuff in Northern America (about 70,000), and mSpy was rated by more than 22,000 parents across North America worth of the Most Trusted Seal; which speaks for its own.
The seal is a very important sign of the product quality and reliability. All the tests are conducted by volunteering parents at their own will and at their homes and free time; the feedbacks are numerous and unbiased, and they are also compared and the entire decision is made about this or that product. PTPA Winner’s Seal in this respect proves the excellence of mSpy services and high quality of the product.
This is a real honor and achievement for mSpy company to get such high evaluation from parents and families. This is also a motive to upgrade and develop the product further in order to make it better and more useful for parents and kids alike.
Here is more information about the certification as well as mSpy feedbacks: http://ptpa.com/product/mspy/.

StealthGenie Story and Consequences

Right at the present moment cell phone spying software is a hot topic in the media. The owners of the software install spy apps to the targets phones and are then able to get a clear picture of all interactions, contacts and relocations. At the present moment there is a number of mobile tracking companies that offer such products and some of them got a lot of negative publicity of late.

One of them is StealthGenie – a software company owned by a Danish citizen. The latter was fined $500,000 in the United States on the basis of illegal dealings. He actually admitted selling and advertising the product and by doing so was found guilty of such software abuse.

This incident with StealthGenie can’t explain the fact that there are other spy companies around and they are still well and running. The question here is for how long they will go on?

As a matter of fact, such spy software provides a very broad surveillance potential and it runs in a stealth mode as well; it is actually the tool that should be used by governments only in cases of defense when it is really necessary but not in cases of domestic spying when personal privacy is invaded.

This is the point of view that seems to gain more and more support of late. Women’s Aid had a survey that showed the rate of spy software use to be quite high; the major user groups were parents and spouses. Taking into consideration the fact that these applications have become broadly available only fairly recently, it is also understandable that there haven’t been any one clear opinion whether they are legal or not on a major scale.

But it is definitely getting clearer now; if you recall StealthGenie recent FBI operation. In accordance with the Assistant Attorney General’s statement the company’s operation was defined as illegal and in even stronger terms, it is a crime. All the similar application cases on that matter have very high probability to be put on the same line in the nearest future.

That is why all spy software companies that offered call recording and listen to surrounding feature have closed it right after StealthGenie case. Taking into consideration that this is the first feature that is supposed to be used solely by government agency and law enforcement, most companies considered it unwise to go on with such risks.

The example of StealthGenie was very demonstrative in many ways and especially for other companies in this business. The government put is quite straight that any attempts of personal privacy invasion, any ads and illegal attempts will have their consequences.

Mobile Spy Use

A mobile phone is everything for a person these days. In this respect there is no surprise that so much of personal information is stored in it. Messenger chats as well as texts contain a lot of stuff and reading those allows getting a very clear picture of a person’s life. SMS-spy is one of the features that majority of mobile tracking applications offer to their customers.

Mobile spy provides access to all the messages sent and received by a given person without the latter being aware of the fact. Spy soft applications give a brilliant opportunity to have a look at the texts your spouse, kid or employer sends and gets. It is the easiest way to learn the truth about your relationship or work situation or else.

Mobile tracking applications allow text tracking but the range of options they have is much broader. Spy apps allow call and text as well as messenger chat monitoring, remotely controlling a target’s cell phone as well as GPS location tracking. The range of features is very broad. Some apps focus on Android smarthpones solely, others specialize on iPhones; some do both. There are also applications supported by BlackBerry devices but these are not so common.

All in all, spy software applications allow their users to have a very close look at a target’s phone activity. The most common groups of users are spouses or partners, parents and employers and all of them have their reasons.

It happens ever so often that spouses cheat on each other and when on gets tired, a mobile tracking application becomes very useful.

Parents like mobile spy apps for a range of reasons; however, the most favorite features are remote control and GPS tracking. In their case, a spy app allows having control over their kids without being overly protective.

When it comes to spy app in business, they are frequently means of fraud and cheating prevention. Employers choose to install tracking apps on the corporate phones of their employees to avoid undesired off-work conversations, waste of time and etc. It is a very effective tool for companies with many workers.

To cap it all, it can be said that mobile tracking applications are useful in many situations. They are easy to install in the majority of cases are worth the money spent.