Spyware Activates Speaker Phone

Your smart phone rings and you answer it, not realizing that the caller has you on speaker phone and can listen to what’s going on around you. That’s a capability made possible by PhoneSnoop, a free application designed for use on the BlackBerry.

In a technology blog on the Washington Post website, Brian Krebs says the Department of Homeland Security’s US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) warns BlackBerry users that the spyware could turn their handset into a microphone that a third party could access remotely. PhoneSnoop is an app created by Sheran Gunasekera, a Sri Lankan programmer at a firm that conducts physical and network penetration tests for banks and telecommunications providers.

The app has its limitations, and Gunasekera admits it is “not very stealthy,” but it highlights the importance of protecting private data on personal telecommunication devices. The Washington Post article lists a few ways to protect the device.

“BlackBerry is one of the most secure platforms out there,” Gunsekera said, “so what I wanted to do was highlight that even though you have a secure platform, in the end the user is probably going to be the weakest link.”

To read the Washington Post article, please click here:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/10/dhs_warns_of_blackberry_snoopi.html