We have a story that should raise red flags for all of us who rely on our cell phones. Shocking as it may be, it turns out that anyone of them can be transformed into a bugging device worthy of the CIA in just a few minutes and as you will soon learn, it doesn’t take a professional to do it.
We’ve all heard the stories about the GPS in your phone being able to track you even when you are not using it. But we had no idea how much about your personal life that people can learn through your cell phone until we met a person whose cell phone was being tracked by one of the many cell phone tracking apps that can be found online.
As unbelievable as it sounds, all it takes for a person to connect with your cell phone over the internet is executing a few simple commands from within a cell phone monitoring app that can be purchased online. We came across a victim of this offense, Jan, who’s mother used a phone tracking app for this purpose.
“I don’t know how she got this program on my phone and got it to send my texts and call history to hers. This is creepy!”, says Jan.
With an inexpensive phone monitoring app she purchased online, Jan’s mom was able to monitor her cell phone from her own device. She was able to see virtually everything that took place including text messages, calls, GPS location, photos, videos, emails, and more. All of this was at her disposal through the monitoring app’s online dashboard.
The app she used is called Auto Forward and is developed and marketed by ILF Mobile Apps, a U.S. based corporation that specializes in security apps and phone monitor technology. Using this app enables a person to monitor a cell phone virtually the same as any government or law enforcement agency could. They could have access to just about anything that happens on a person’s phone.
Cell Phone Monitoring
Auto Forward is a powerful cell phone monitoring app (aka:“tracking apps for cell phones”), that enables a person to monitor a cell phone and view its contents from their own device. It also happens to be one of highest rated tracking apps for cell phones on the market today. The app works by accessing data from the target phone (the phone you are monitoring) and displaying that data on your cell phone, tablet, or computer. Auto Forward claims that it will collect texts, call history, GPS location, Facebook messages, and more from virtually any phone.
We decided to put this sneaky little app to the test. With the consent of our co-worker, Tracy, we used the OTA (over-the-air) link and installed Auto Forward onto her company device. The installation process was quick and easy. All we had to do was download the software on her device and activate the app and we were finished. You will be shocked at what we discovered!
The program was every bit invasive as you might think. Auto Forward accessed text messages, call logs, GPS tracking information, social media messages, pictures, and just about everything else that took place on the phone. With the “Stealth Camera” feature, we were able to remotely turn on the cell phone camera and take a picture. That same picture was sent directly to the phone that we were monitoring from.
Think of it this way; Tracy, our consenting co-worker, has her phone in her hands and I am monitoring her device from mine. I send a command to Tracy’s phone telling it to take a picture. The program snaps a picture on her device, then automatically sends that picture to me. I can now view that picture on my phone. It’s almost as if I can remotely access any cell phone from my own phone. A little creepy, but wait, it gets worse…
With the “listen to surroundings” feature, I was able to activate the microphone on Tracy’s phone, allowing me to hear everything that was going on around her phone. I listened to a conversation as if I were standing there myself. There are many who will say that this is overstepping the bounds of ethical cell phone monitoring and you might be one who agrees. However, this type of application is capable of intrusive surveillance and it is available to the average consumer for less than $30.
From our own device, we were able to retrieve just about all activities that took place on Tracy’s phone during the time we were connected to it. We were able to see Tracy’s Facebook messages, her photos and videos, and were even able to turn her iPhone into a GPS cell phone tracking device. It didn’t matter if we were in the room next door or if we were miles away. Auto Forward performed the same regardless of how far away we were from Tracy’s.
Monitoring Apps Get The Job Done
From our investigation, we can draw no other conclusion than to say that it is absolutely possible to monitor virtually any cell phone and view its contents from your own device. Cell phone monitoring apps like Auto Forward work by establishing a connection with the phone they are monitoring. It is established once the app is installed and activated on the monitored phone. Once that connection is established, data from the phone is uploaded to remote servers. A user can simply login like they are logging into their online bank account and view the contents.
If you have a phone that you feel may have been compromised by this type of software, it is advisable that you replace the phone by simply changing your number or performing a factory reset, which may not be sufficient to remove the monitoring program from your phone.
While this story is based on true events, the names have been changed to protect their true identities.