Feb 06

Spyware Detection

Win a copy of Certo iPhone Pro Spyware Detector!

Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at different apps that can be installed on your phone to track your location, calls, text messages, and much more. They can even turn on your microphone and send the sound that it records to a user at the other end without your knowledge! Some will even allow photos to be taken with both your front and rear facing cameras. Don’t want to wait?

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If you’ve had any doubts up until now just take a look at what we’ve already uncovered in the video below. The good news is that we also have a solution that can put your mind at rest.

Another Certo giveaway is coming soon. Stay tuned!


Enter Certo. The fastest way to find out if your cell phone is bugged.

We were recently introduced to a new tool that can detect spyware installed on your iPhone. Being the skeptics that we are testing the functionality of this anti-spy tool under multiple circumstances was a must. For starters we decided to begin with Ownspy which provides users with a free one week trial. Any vendor with the confidence to give you a free trial must be fairly confident in their product.

In the video below you can see the software as it detects the Jailbreak that was performed on our test phone and further telling us that Ownspy had been installed as well. In case you aren’t familiar with Jailbreaking it is a procedure that allows anyone with access to your iPhone to easily bypass Apples security protocols and introduce malware onto your device. Since it is possible to hide the evidence of a Jailbreak you might no even know if your phone has been tampered with. Ownspy automatically hide its application icon and any obvious evidence of its existence on your phone. Even our technician who is very familiar with Jailbreaking, Cydia, iFunbox, and many other Jailbreak related apps was not able to find traces of Ownspy on the handset after it was installed.

Certo vs. Hellospy


Unless the person who added spyware to your phone removes it through the Ownspy web interface there is no way to know for sure that it is gone. That is up until now. Running the detection software again after we did the above showed us a negative result for Ownspy. We duplicated the process on several iPhones with different versions of iOS and the results were the same. It was able to find the spyware and also give us an all clear result if and when the bug software and Jailbreak are removed.

A quick word on Ownspy which we will go into later with more detail. This spyware is insane. It monitors emails, texts, location, phone calls and everything that you might image but more than that. It has a built in keylogger so even the pass code that we use to unlock our handset was recorded. Being able to turn on the phones mic and listen to what was going on in the room that we left it in was probably the creepiest part of all. With spyware you are never safe if your phone has a data or wi-fi connection. We wonder how long it will be until someone starts to spoof airplane mode so that you think you aren’t connected even when you are. Or maybe they already have…

cell phone tapped spyware detected


After testing our software we followed the remote uninstall procedure at the Ownspy website. Unfortunately it looks like there are still traces of the spyware on our phones. Not only that but we are also learning just how difficult it is to remove all of the iTunes files that we have installed on our Windows computer. Performing a simple uninstall from the control panel did not do the trick. We downloaded an automated utility that should have done the job for us including removal of registry entries that iTunes created but we still were not rid of it completely. It turns out that iTunes stores your backup files in a folder that does not go away with a typical program removal. Just in case anyone is wondering it turns out that a search for “%appdata%” brought us to an Apple folder that didn’t show up when we searched for “Apple.” Within this file you will find any backups that iTunes has created.

iPhone Spyware Demonstration

So far we have not encountered any spyware that cannot be detected by Certo. There are many spyware programs available today and we expect even more to appear in the future. Some require a Jailbreak but not all of them do. In the coming weeks we will be running tests with different spyware programs. Be sure to check back often so you’ll be up to date as new information becomes available.

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