Transcript for The Apps That Can Secretly Spy on You Through Your Cellphone
We're back now with "Gma investigates" looking into secret apps that give someone the ability to track every text you send, every photo you take, even listen in on your phone calls. ABC's Rebecca Jarvis here with more on these spy apps. As you said this is creepy stuff. It is so creepy, George. I wouldn't even believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes. We got an up close look at these apps which senator Al Franken calls unconscionable stalking apps. He says they let people track others in complete secrecy and found firsthand exactly what he means. In this scene from the popular show about hacking Mr. Robot, you see a character secretly install tracking software on someone else's phone and we found if you allow someone to access your phone, it could happen to you. I don't know if when I'm sending an e-mail he is Reading it. Reporter: This woman tracked her, she says, by installing a spy app on her phone. Or if I make a phone call if he can hear what I say. Reporter: Brian hill a former police detective and digital forensics expert is about to show us how quickly and easily it can happen. We focus on two apps, mspy and flexispy neither available at the apple store or on Google play, only through the company's websites. Their cost as little as $8 a month. Both apps are marketed primarily as a way for people to monitor their children or employees. While there may be legitimate reasons and ways to do that, critics say these apps go. Further. Brian shows how just a thin excuse could get a phone out of a target's hands. So I don't get any service on my phone here. Do you mind, I need to look up a few things. Reporter: It takes him a little over two minutes to install mspy on our android phone. Then I take a walk, the phone with me. During that time hill seeing my every move. So back from my walk and what did you get? I got just about everything that you can imagine. It pinged your location six times. These are my colleagues. Five full pages of contacts. Call logs. There's my text message. Yep. You went to bank of America, checking accounts. Reporter: Now to the next app, flexispy able to secretly listen to phone calls on many phones. It takes him just over an hour to bypass the security settings and install it on my phone. Then by logging into flexi spy's website Brian takes control of my phone during a work meeting. Even snapping photos of me while I'm holding 9 phone in my hand. Then he's able to listen to a phone conversation I just had with my assistant? So your next flight's be on the 8th and you're going to L.A.X. Reporter: Now he knows what day I'm traveling and where I'm going. Because laws may be violated by using these apps, the companies warn you should only use them on phones you own such as your child's or an employee's work phone and only after notifying the person. Still, the website strongly suggests they're about spying. Flexi spy says a common use is to track a cheating girlfriend and warns users to stay silent and mute your own Mike while using the app. Mspy told us if it has evidence the application is being used in a wrong way, we make every effort to check the case and prevent usage. Flexispy did not return our repeated requests for comment. And here's what is even more creepy. Experts tell us you wouldn't be able to tell if you have these kinds of spy apps on your phone. It requires very specialized training to take them off to protect yourself and our experts advise if you keep your phone with you at all times, that is the very best thing you can do, set your phone to lock immediately after every single use and never tell anyone your password. I mean we were talking about this earlier. Peop peoplelay their phones -- My entire family knows my password. It's amazing this is legal. Right. Don't do it. Don't do it. It's not right. It's not the right thing to do. You can't do it without someone else's permission and it is really scary. It makes you think twice. Yeah, important story. Thank you, Rebecca. Coming up, great football
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