You may have heard of spyware for cell phones, but do you know what it is and how it works? If you’re like many people, you may be thinking of some clandestine software people sneak onto your phone so they can spy on you. But this isn’t really the case. Yes, a phone spy app can tell someone else what telephone numbers you call on your phone, but it would be neither legal nor simple for someone to sneak it onto your phone and start monitoring you. In fact, this kind of software is a security tool used by parents and companies to keep track of phones they own, which are being used by others… in these cases, their children or their employees.
So if you’re a parent or an employer, you may be asking yourself if loading spyware onto the cell phones you provide to others is a good idea. If so, you may want to know about these four unexpected things cell phone spyware can do for you.
1. It can back up your files and protect you from loss
Programs like Autoforward work by copying every email, every text, every photo and every attachment, from your phone to a secure online log. You can later access this log from a mobile device or from a regular computer.
While one application is so you can monitor all the activity and content that crosses a targeted phone, another application would be to access these files as a secure online backup. Data in the log doesn’t get deleted when it’s deleted off the phone, so it can act as a saved backup copy of important content that might get accidentally deleted.
And if your mobile device should become lost, damaged, or destroyed, the secure log might be the only place to get your files, emails and records back.
2. It can act as a record of when something was sent and to whom.
If you use your mobile device or tablet computer as a primary means of doing business, as many people now do, you might be running up against memory limitations that encourage you to delete content from your mobile device more aggressively than you might from a normal computer. And if you do delete things like emails, even if you save them elsewhere, you can lose the ‘provenance’ of when something was sent, to whom it was sent, what was included, and what was attached.
If you ever need to prove to a client, employer, or collaborator that you sent them something, what was sent, and when, it can be very useful to be able to retrieve this information. And a spyware app can enable this, as you pull things from the log with all the content and timestamps included. And if you’ve ever been part of litigation, you can imagine what the issue of discovery could mean if you have to claim that your email records have all been deleted. Even if they really have!
3. It can protect your information if the phone gets lost
When talking about cell phone spyware, you sometimes hear that it can help you retrieve your data if your phone becomes lost. It’s less often that you hear how this software can protect your data from someone who takes or simply finds your phone.
Let’s face it, most 4-digit cell phone screen lock passwords aren’t exactly foolproof. Anyone with a little time, some insight into your mind, or any type of password cracking software could easily gain access to your personal files… and that’s assuming you even use a password.
But if you have a program like Autoforward running on your phone, you can turn your phone off remotely. By activating this remote “kill switch”, you can prevent anyone who has your phone from using it to steal your information, access your accounts, or even just making phone calls.
4. It can tell you where it is, Right Now!
Another little known capability of call phone spy software is to track the phone’s physical location using the GPS capability built into all modern smart phones. The software both logs a continuing record of where the phone has been at frequent intervals, an it provide an ability to “ping” the phone remotely and get it’s GOS coordinates immediately.
This kind of capability is great if your phone ever gets misplaced, dropped in an unexpected place, stolen, or left in a taxi.
You can activate this capability to find your phone from a remote control panel you can access from a computer of mobile device, to receive its GPS coordinates on a map.