Monitor cellphone use & protect your children

Be aware though, someone might also be spying on you, warns Greg Miles.

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Most teenagers and many adults have cellphones as powerful as a PC. Concerned parents wanting to protect their children from potentially dangerous situations on- and offline are now using cellphone spyware. Similarly, some business are monitoring employees by issuing them such spyware-loaded work cellphones. The James Bond-style software is now freely available and easy to use.

Spyware is installed via the phone’s web browser in the same way an app is uploaded, and you must have physical access to the phone. Once installed, the spyware collects data and sends it to an account set up when the software was purchased.
The following can then be monitored:

  • Call tracking: a list similar to detailed billing, showing all numbers called, times, dates and duration.
  • Detailed SMS, BBM, URL and email tracking. 
  • GPS location: the position of your cellphone on a map – extremely helpful in the event of an accident or cellphone theft. 

Remember, though, someone may be spying on you!  And without advanced programming knowledge, you aren’t going to find the spyware, as it runs ‘invisibly’. If anyone has asked to use your phone there’s a potential for spyware to be loaded on the phone – and more professional programmes even allow one to listen in to discussions.

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Some other things to watch out for:

  • Your cellphone lighting up without ringing or receiving a message.
  • Strange noises or clicks during most of your calls.
  • If your battery life is suddenly shortened – spyware uses a considerable amount of battery life.To avoid spyware being installed, never leave your phone unattended or lend it to someone without supervision. 
  • The only way to remove spyware you suspect has been installed on your phone is to remove all data and restore all default factory settings. 
  • This is equivalent to reformatting your computer. All your data and contacts should be backed up before this is done.

There are many grey areas when it comes to the legality of using spyware. If you plan to monitor your employees, know the applicable laws in force. If in doubt, consult your attorney. It is, however, legal to monitor your children if they’re younger than 18.

Contact Greg Miles at [email protected] with ‘Online Farmer’ in the subject line