Browse Definitions:

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.



Dateiendungen und Dateiformate

Gesponsert von:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • 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 ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • 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 ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

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