Worried about NSA spying? Perhaps you should look closer to home!

We here at BestVPN spend a lot of time discussing the NSA’s outrageous spying, and how you can protect yourself against it. Rather than worrying about shadowy government agencies tracking your every move however, some disturbing reports suggest that you should be more worried about your nearest and dearest.

A study published last October shows that ordinary people are increasingly using spyware apps to snoop on their loved ones through their mobile phones. Apps such as iTrack and Spy2Mobile are readily available on the iTunes and Google Play stores, and are used to log text messages, phone calls and contact lists, and can sometimes even record voice conversations.

The survey, which analyzed data traffic on ‘the Middle Eastern network of a European carrier’ found 600 phones infected with this form of spyware, nearly half of which were communicating with the servers of SpyToMobile. Although this number is relatively small, the security company who performed the study said they expected it grow as NSA revelations fuelled public awareness of surveillance possibilities, and increasingly sophisticated commercial spying solutions become available.

Well now things have just got worse, as a security company mSpy (newly moved from London to New York), is now offering phones for sale, preloaded with surveillance software that will let you rifle through the victim’s email and text messages and history, let you view their photos, and record their voice calls. It can also be used to record the phone’s surroundings (great for listening in on private conversations), and has a keylogger built in.

The perfect present for a loved one? ‘Creepy’ just doesn’t cover it! It should also be stressed that this kind of surveillance is only legal if the target is aware of it, and has consented to it – but who would agree to such a thing?

The Telegraph reports that men are much more likely to look through their partner’s phone than women (62 percent of men admitted to doing so, as opposed to 32 percent of women). When questioned, 89 percent of these did so to check if they were being cheated on by their partner, and perhaps equally worrying, almost half (48 percent) did uncover infidelity!

This ties in well with mSpy’s observation that its customers are mainly men (74 percent), although as 40 percent are parents it is likely that spying on wayward teenagers is also a big motivation. Interestingly, over half of mSpy’s customers come from the States.

So if your better half gives you a swanky new phone as a present (mSpy sells premium offerings such as the Nexus 5, iPhone 5, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4), maybe you should ask yourself ‘should I be worried?’

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

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