Your Cell Phone May Be Eavesdropping

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2009 7:52 PM CDT
Private eye firms say roughly 3% of US cell phones are infected with spy software that eavesdrops on conversations and even ambient noise when no call is being made.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Be careful where you leave your cell phone. All it takes is a quick download—the equivalent of loading a ringtone—to install software that wiretaps your calls and even records ambient noise when the phone is unused. Experts say a surprising number of spouses, co-workers, and parents are using the spy-phone software, which more than 200 companies sell at prices from $50–$200, Benjamin Sutherland writes in Newsweek.

About 3% of US cell phones and up to 5% of phones in Europe are already tapped, private eye firms say. And smart phones like iPhones and Blackberrys, with their powerful processors, are ideal for the spy software. Security programs for phones exist, but few people think to install them. "If the spying keeps spreading, that may change soon," Sutherland writes.