Is SOMEONE Tapping Your Cell Phone and SPYING on You?

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 06/01/2009 - 9:50am.

 

phoneTap

Imagine someone watching your every move, hearing everything you say and knowing where you are at every moment. If you have a cell phone, it could happen to you. 13 Investigates explains how your cell phone can be secretly hijacked and used against you - and how to protect yourself.

After four months of harassing phone calls, Courtney Kuykendall was afraid to answer her cell phone.

The Tacoma, Washington, teenager was receiving graphic, violent threats at all hours.

And when she and her family changed their cell phone numbers and got new phones, the calls continued.

Using deep scratchy voices, anonymous stalkers literally took control of the Kuykendall's cell phones, repeatedly threatened Courtney with murder and rape, and began following the family's every move.

"They're listening to us and recording us," Courtney's mother, Heather Kuykendall, told NBC's Today Show. "We know that because they will record us and play it back as a voicemail." How is something like this possible?

Just take a look on the internet. That's where you'll find the latest spy technology for cell phones.

** "Anywhere, anytime"

Spyware marketers claim you can tap into someone's calls, read their text messages and track their movements "anywhere, anytime." They say you can "catch a cheating spouse", protect your children from an evil babysitter and "hear what your boss is saying about you." And while you're spying on others, the Spyware companies say "no one will ever know" because it's supposed to be "completely invisible" with "absolutely no trace."

** Security experts say it's no internet hoax.

"It's real, and it is pretty creepy," said Rick Mislan, a former military intelligence officer who now teaches cyber forensics at Purdue University's Department of Computer and Information Technology.

Mislan has examined thousands of cell phones inside Purdue's Cyber Forensics Lab, and he says spy software can now make even the most high-tech cell phone vulnerable.

"I think a lot of people think their cell phone calls are very secure but our privacy isn't always what we think it is."

** Is your privacy truly at risk?

13 Investigates tested some cell phone Spyware to find out.

With the permission of WTHR producer Cyndee Hebert, 13 Investigates purchased and downloaded Spyware on her personal cell phone.

Hebert agreed to be spied on - if the spy software lived up to its bold claims.

** WTHR's Spy Test

The process of downloading the software took several attempts and a great deal of patience. But once the spy program was installed, Hebert's phone could indeed be tapped into at any time - just as its distributor promised.

While Hebert was at home making phone calls to her family, investigative reporter Bob Segall was outside her house, listening to the conversations on his cell phone.

** And there's more - much more.

Every time Hebert made or received a phone call, Segall received an instant text message, telling him that Hebert was talking on her cell phone so that Segall could call in and listen.

On his computer, Segall also got a copy of Hebert's text messages and a list of phone numbers detailing each incoming and outgoing call to Hebert's cell phone.

And no matter where Hebert went with her phone, Segall received constant satellite updates on her location. He could literally track Hebert anywhere she went.

"It's hard to believe you can do all that," Hebert said when she saw the spy software in action. "I think that's really scary."

** It gets even scarier.

When spy software was installed onto Hebert's phone, that phone became an instant spy device - even when the phone was not being used.

As Hebert's cell phone was simply sitting on a table or attached to her purse, Segall could activate the speaker on the phone and secretly listen in to the phone's surroundings. While Hebert was in a meeting on the 36th floor of a downtown Indianapolis building, Segall heard her conversations, even though he was four miles away.

13 Investigates found more than a dozen companies willing to sell this type of cell phone spy software, which ranges in price from $60 to $3,000. The majority of the companies are located in foreign countries such as Thailand, Taiwan and the United Kingdom - and for good reason.

Most of the advertised applications for the spy software are illegal in the United States, and the existence of the software angers CTIA-The Wireless Association, an industry organization representing the nation's major cell phone manufacturers.

"These are gross violations of federal and state laws," said association spokesman Joe Farren. "It's very clear, without their express permission, you can't listen in to someone's phone calls, you cannot read their text messages, you can't track their movements. You can't do any of those things and there are numerous laws being broken."

Farren said his organization was not familiar with cell phone Spyware prior to WTHR's investigation, adding "I can tell you our lawyers and engineers are now looking into this."

** Government spying

The United States government is familiar with spy software for cell phones.

In 2003 and 2004, the FBI used cell phone spy software to eavesdrop on the conversations of organized crime families in New York, and it used those conversations in its federal prosecutions.

Private investigator Tim Wilcox says several federal agencies rely on cell phone spying technology to monitor suspected criminals, and he says private citizens are now using the technology, too.

"The technology is there. It's been there a long time. It's accessible, and it's done all the time," Wilcox said.

As founder of Indianapolis-based International Investigators Inc., Wilcox says he receives daily letters and e-mails from people wanting help with "cell phone bugging," the ability to download spy software onto a cell phone, turning it into a secret listening device.

"There's only two kinds of people," Wilcox said, holding a large stack of e-mails. "One wants to bug somebody and the other has been bugged and wants to know how it's being done and how to find out and how to stop it.... it's a federal crime, but it's still happening."

The harassment eventually did stop for the Kuykendalls, but only after they brought in police and the FBI. While authorities never figured out who hijacked the family's cell phones, security experts say the case serves as a powerful lesson for others.

"Your privacy is not your privacy. It is exposed and it is exploited," Mislan said. "The key is being vigilant and knowing how to protect yourself.

** How to protect yourself

Mislan suggests keeping a close eye on your cell phone so that others never get an opportunity to download information such as spy software when you're not looking. He also says it's important to install a security password on your phone to restrict anyone else from using it.

And while some Spyware marketers claim their products can be used on any make and model of cell phone, Mislan says high-end cell phones that include internet access and online capability are particularly vulnerable to Spyware tapping. To limit the ability of others to download certain types of spyware onto your phone, choose a cell phone that is not internet-accessible.

Wilcox recommends removing the battery from your cell phone when it's not being used and, for sensitive phone calls, he suggests making them on a newly-purchased cell phone that comes with a pre-paid month-to-month service plan.

Based on WTHR's test, here are some subtle signs that could suggest your cell phone is being secretly tapped...

** Cell phone battery is warm even when your phone has not been used

** Cell phone lights up at unexpected times, including occasions when phone is not in use

** Unexpected beep or click during phone conversation

 

Bob Segall - April 21, 2009 - source WTHR13

 

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 06/01/2009 - 9:50am.

Comments

Anonymous (not verified) | Fri, 07/03/2015 - 8:21pm

Using I camera
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to hack my cell phone

Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:39pm

this is outrageous..these people need to go in jail!!!!!!

Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:22am

The reason I read this article is because a friend of mine is a cell phone snooper. I've known this for years, but didn't care because I never thought she would 'snoop' on me. Boy was I wrong! You may ask "How do you know"? For one thing, my friend can't 'keep' all the information she requires to herself. She 'accidentally' says things that I did not tell her. She knows personal things concerning my family that I have never shared. When she is confronted, she denies it to my face. Another time, she said things to me as if she had been sitting in my living room the night before. I told my husband "It's as if she had been inside our home last night". Yes, there are clicks on my phone, and yes my phone does light up for no apparent reason. Also, when I am in my friends home, many of my incoming calls go straight into voice mail...?
Needless to say, she is no longer a friend. She is a cunning sneek. My question for you or any of you out there reading this with information is, "She has never had any chance at any time to download one thing on my phone"...never! So how did she tap into my cell phone? Through SIM readers or other intercepting snooping devices? If so, please inform me. Thank-you.

P.S. to Mandi "Why are you soo angry"? are you a snoop?

Anonymous (not verified) | Sat, 09/25/2010 - 7:33pm

Do you live close ? with in a block or two?
Knot knowing the details Its hard to say how she gets her info
Don't let your phone tweak your head Phones lights come on at night for diff reasons the most common reason is your charging it and it has reach it's peek the light will come on and say full charge then the light will go out. And you do hear clicks on you phone every one dose. And I know what your talking about I have wonder at times to but I don't think it would be her clicking in. Are Government listens to every call in the world. They listens for key words like Bomb so if your talking to someone and that word was used then every time you use your phone you will hear more clicks until they fine out your just a Blond. Yes there are always a way to tap in.Talk to your cell service they may show something on record.
The reason why I ask if you live close You can buy or even make a bug, that she may have put in your house or on your phone.
You can try to see by turning on your TV and open your phone and leave it close to the TV and go into a room at the far end of your house with a AM radio turn on the radio and slowly adjust the tuner and if you can tune in the sound coming from your TV then you have a bug on your phone or in your house.
Don't leave out Is she Hot? , Maybe someone you know is sleeping with her?
Sorry but had to be said.
ESP is real but I don't think a gift like that would be used in that manner.
FaceBook would be another. The point is if your aware what was said and to who and don't tell anyone else. and see how it carries out. You should be able to pin point the problem.
Once you find out how she is getting the info. I my self would play with it. Let her find out that you have the inside info to the winning lottery numbers theres one row out of 500 rows that is going to be the winning number's

Mandi Green (not verified) | Mon, 08/30/2010 - 6:26pm

Not only was this article a load of B.S. but this whole site is a joke! This site just makes EVERYTHING out to be evil. Well guess what?! Welcome to the real world. Everything is fucked up and when we have no explanation or understanding of it, we fear it and therefor it becomes "evil". I guess I just don't understand you idiots, so it must mean you're all evil. Burn in hell. Or stay god free and pack yourself a nice big bowl of marijuana. Peace.

toni (not verified) | Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:01am

This retarded female needs to check her thoughts on reality...obviously the bubble of idiocy is where she really lives. Another sped thinking that the government and freaks of mankind don't have the technology nor the want to do this kind of crap...well chickie...if you ever check back on this site....ur a moron!!!!! And you need the smart beat back into you...cuz girlie...if you really believe the crap you posted on here, your ignorance runs so deep the best and only solution is to go and eat a .45 hollow point. Cuz you're a dumbass fucktard!!! I can spend $29.99, type in your phone number and have access to all the shit on your cell phone, PC, Mac, ipad, etc. So, if you really wanna be in the real world...you need to open your fucking eyes and your mind...otherwise you're nothing but an imbecile. Stupid sub 80s all over the planet....I hate ignorance and stupid cattle believing in the "good" of mankind....you dumb cow!!!!!

SadInAmerica | Mon, 08/30/2010 - 9:27pm

Sorry you're soooo pissed!

Is it possible that... you haven't had enough 'change'? Maybe you're in serious denial... I'm not sure... or maybe you're working for the 'change'... Either way, please wake up!

Info is EVERYWHERE! Sorry you don't like the info provided on this website from a bunch of idiots... but we try anyway. Please do some research. 

Thanks for your insight,

SadInAmerica

EVERYBODY KNOWS...

concerned friend (not verified) | Mon, 01/11/2010 - 8:43pm

My friend was talking to me on her prepaid phone about 300 feet from her husband who was on a laptop looking at it with another person in a public area. All of the sudden we could hear him talking to that person repeating some of the conversation my friend and i were having together while we were talking. he didn't know that she saw him with the laptop at the time we were talking and my guess is that she was so close to him when he started the hacking that it picked up his voice on the blue-tooth of the computer or something (what do i know, though?). how did he do that when she was using a prepaid phone? how is he getting it onto his computer? can you detect the spywear on her prepaid phone and if so, how?

Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 11/24/2009 - 5:43am

I know my x- has some kind of spy crap on my phone... everytime my current male friend calls my phone... I get a prank call soon after and then he makes the caller id show my own cellphone as if i could call myself while im on the phone. This is some sick ass bull. I changed my home number and im planning to change my cell as well. Do anyone have any advice I could use?

Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 09/14/2010 - 3:14am

you should go to your phone carrier and have them reset all the settings back to their factory settings. it should clear the spyware off your phone while still keeping all your contacts in the phone.

Anonymous (not verified) | Thu, 11/19/2009 - 2:08pm

I was just wondering if someone can tap your cell phone while they are in Prison?
I have a strange feeling that my ex-husband (craziest man I know) is doing this.
This scares me because I have a restraining order on him and this makes me feel so uncomfortable. Please help me if u can.

Scared

GSC (not verified) | Mon, 01/17/2011 - 5:46am

If it is true and not just paranoia, or to simply be sure about it. I recommend that you simply change your cell phone. Use the pre-paid kind, they dont ask for your personal info, when you sign up. You just pay and go. Put your trust in the Creator of the Universe, practice slow deep breathing and relax. Its an easy solution.

PeterB (not verified) | Sat, 11/07/2009 - 11:15am

Very interesting and useful article for all people who use cell phones. Personally, I have never heard such stories in my life but I believe that it really can be true. I work in the software development company for several months and I know that people can create everything. I think you mentioned very great recommendations how to protect our mobile phones. Thanks a lot for sharing it and I will be looking for other interesting posts from you.

Regards,

Peter Brown from mobile development

Anonymous (not verified) | Tue, 07/07/2009 - 12:02am

Hello there. Thank you for your web page entitled: "Is Someone Tapping Your Cell Phone and Spying on You?" I am very happy that I stumbled upon this, especially since I have been receiving quite a few unexplained beeps on my home phone for at least several months now.

Have you ever heard of this happening to anyone else besides myself? Does anyone out there know anything at all regarding this specifically, and how to make it stop (whether or not I even catch the person(s)responsible for this)? All I know is that I failed to mail in a "mandatory," constitution-breaking, 24-page document, and shortly thereafter, that's when all this "bugging"(?) started. As a result, I feel that my own constitutional rights (if I, and anyone else even has them anymore) are continually being invaded.

I would appreciate any, and all, help or insights you can provide. Thank you so very much for all your kind care and concern.

Allen (not verified) | Sun, 02/13/2011 - 3:54am

Ever since Bush passed the patriot act, which by the way is a bunch of bullshit, the government has legally been allowed to tap your home phone, cell phone, put bugs in your house, in your car, and even plant a homing device on your car or in your clothes. This is not bullshit, this is very serious stuff and they (the government) can do all of this with out a warrant or probable cause. The New World Order really escalated when Bush got into office. All the scams he pulled with Dick Cheney like: going to Iraq to steal the oil and how Halliburton (which Cheney is like Vice President of the company) stole billions of dollars from us, the tax payers. You see, the government funded Halliburton because they were supposed to "rebuild Iraq", and the government got the money from our tax paying dollars to then hand over to halliburton to do jobs which about 75% were never completed. If you don't believe me on the NWO or halliburton then I recommend all of you watch these films: "War Made Easy", "Terrorstorm", "9/11: Press For Truth", "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers", "Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup", "Iraq's Guns for Hire", and "Bulletproof Salesman" which in particular shows how neglectful our government is and how little they care if our troops get hurt. If you have a netflix account, you'll be able to find all these documentaries that I've named in instant queue (which is great if you have a PS3 or XBox).
I really hope all of you have an open mind and investigate things for yourself, instead of being told what to believe. I believe that the people who haven't seen whats really going on, when they see these films... they'll probably have a panic attack (I know I almost did when I came to the conclusion of what's really going on in this sinister world).

Anonymous (not verified) | Sat, 10/10/2009 - 9:17pm

My husband and i were arrested back in May and since being bonded out i have a fealing my phone is being bugged.Im not for certain its just a fealing in have.I dont know how to find out if my private calls and text are being monitored.Im not the brightest when it comes to technology.If you can offer any advice please email me. Thank You