Cell Phone Spying Nightmare: 'You're Never the Same'

We installed the software on a colleague's phone, with her permission, and sent her out to see how it worked. We were able to intercept and listen in to a live phone call without her knowledge, and she didn't even have to be on the phone for us to spy on her. We could also turn her phone into a remote listening device no matter where she was. If the phone was on, we heard everything she said.

"This is no sci-fi flick," Siciliano said. "This is the real thing and it's happening to people right now."

It's perfectly legal to sell the software but not necessarily legal to use it, although that's in the fine print.

For people like Susan, the laws, which vary from state to state, haven't caught up to the technology. Police say there aren't specific laws on the books to address this type of stalking, as opposed to the physical stalking that led to the restraining order.

When it comes to cell phone spying, "The cops kept telling me there's nothing we can do," Susan said. "He's not breaking the law."

Protect Yourself from Cell Phone Spying

Susan changed her number 10 times, but it didn't help because the spyware was on the phone itself.

"I'd go and change my number at the cell phone store, and he would be calling me on my way home on my new cell phone number."

After three terrifying years, Susan realized the software was on her phone. She got a new one and it seems the nightmare has ended.

"You're never the same after this," she said. "I think you become a lot more aware of your surroundings, you're not as trusting. You just make it day to day and keep living."

Safety experts say that if you believe you've been the target of cyberstalking, trust your instincts and ask for help. Organizations such as the National Center for Victims of Crime's Stalking Resource Center and the National Network to End Domestic Violence's Safety Net Project advocate for victims.

Indications that spyware might be on your cell phone:

The screen lights up for no reason
The flash on the camera goes off when you're not taking a picture
You notice ambient noise in the background when you're on a phone call
You repeatedly get strange text messages from an unknown origin

Tips:

Never let your cell phone out of your control -- spyware can be installed on it in as little as a few minutes.

If you think spyware is on your phone, security expert Robert Siciliano says you have two options: Get a a new phone or call your cell phone service provider. They will tell you how to reinstall the operating system. Reinstalling the operating system should wipe out the spyware.

For more information on combating all forms of cyberstalking, CLICK HERE.

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