Browse Definitions:
Definition

mobile spyware

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Mobile spyware is a classification of software programs that monitors and records information about an end user's actions without the end user's knowledge or permission. If the end user is aware that monitoring software has been installed, the software is not considered to be spyware. 

Like desktop spyware, mobile spyware is often installed unwittingly by the end user when he or she sideloads a third-party software app, visits or is redirected to a malicious website or leaves the computing device physically unattended. Once a mobile device is infected with spyware, the spy can eavesdrop on conversations held on (or near) a compromised smartphone or access data that is stored on or transmitted by the device. Bluetooth also offers a largely unsecured interface that can be exploited by those in close proximity, through techniques like Bluesnarfing. Smartphone accelerometers have been used in keyboard vibration attacks to detect what is typed on a computer with surprising accuracy when the phone was sitting on the desk near the keyboard. Controversially, governments have used mobile spyware to access the data of citizens, notably with the Smurf suite of spyware tools brought to public attention by Edward Snowden.

Antivirus software that includes antispyware protection should be used to find and remove spyware. Although mobile security software exists, many users are lax about installing it. For one thing, phone security solutions use up system resources thereby slowing down other software and consuming power. Furthermore, because the effectiveness of app-based security has often been questioned, users may feel that installing security apps is pointless. To prevent spyware, users should only download software from trusted sources, read all disclosures when installing software, avoid clicking on pop-up ads and stay current with updates for operating system (OS) and application software.

This was last updated in July 2016

Continue Reading About mobile spyware

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Due to the nature of mobile devices, there are many areas that are easily breached. They exploit the comforts that so many use blindly. I bet most never look at what permissions some apps are asking for and just click accept.

Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close