Spyware apps—popular with suspicious spouses but ostensibly for monitoring children—have recently become a popular target for security researchers and hackers. Many companies are being targeted not to exploit the user data, but to publicize the problems and hopefully shame the companies into action. Here’s a sampling of spyware apps whose shoddy security has been exposed just within the past few months:
Sometimes called spy or surveillance apps, these programs allow for remote monitoring of smartphone users. The general premise behind these apps is that they record and transmit data about phone usage in real time. After installing the app on the phone belonging to the user who will be monitored, the purchaser of the app (the monitor) will then be able to see how the phone is used. Depending on the particular app, the monitor may be able to see texts, photos, screenshots, websites visited, location data, and other sensitive information.
In short, these apps collect the kinds of personally identifying information that can be extremely valuable to malicious actors, and the companies that make them know, or should know, to invest in security accordingly. Instead, security appears to have been an afterthought to many spyware companies.
CaseyGerry has opened a class action investigation into FamilyOrbit and is evaluating potential claims against other spyware apps. To learn more about spyware apps and our investigation, please visit our spyware investigation page.