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A quick Google search for “spy software” yields over a 100 million results. Clearly, there is massive interest in spying software and gadgets. Irrespective of the motivation or justification for spying (such as spousal infidelity), spying is illegal and a gross invasion of privacy in most countries around the world.

This article takes you through the different methods that your spouse, employer or anyone else with an interest — nefarious or otherwise — in your private affairs can use to snoop on you. In each case, I have endeavored to provide practical defenses.

Smartphone Spying Applications

The digital age has accorded us many comforts and conveniences. One of these is the smartphone. But, our high dependence on smartphones makes us easy targets for spying. Mobile spy applications are selling like hot cakes.

Once installed on your smartphone, such applications use your data connection to secretly send logs to a remote server. These logs can include:

  • Calls
  • Text messages
  • Data from Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype and Viber

Spy applications can also upload stored camera images and can activate the phone’s microphone so that the spy can listen in on your conversations. Advanced applications even allow the spy to listen in on phone conversations using a technique similar to conference calling. Spy applications also log and upload location information using the built-in GPS receiver, wireless networks or cell network IDs.

These applications do not have a user interface so you can’t easily locate them on your smartphone. The spy can access the logs via a web interface from anywhere in the world.

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mobile hacking

What to do: Actual possession of the smartphone is required in order to install spyware. It takes only five minutes on average. The spy will usually achieve this by waiting until you leave your phone unattended. More devious and creative methods can also be used such as pretending their phone has a dead battery and borrowing your phone to make a call.

Therefore, the first common sense step to defending yourself is to ensure you have your phone with you at all times. Next, implement the following measures:

  1. Use a good strong screen lock password
  2. Avoid pattern locks and Face Unlock on Android, which can easily be hacked.
  3. Beware of prying eyes when typing your password. You would be surprised at how easy it is to read someone’s unlock code when they are unaware you are looking.
  4. It is possible to tell if your phone has spyware installed by watching the phone for weird behavior such as the backlight coming on for no particular reason.
  5. Check your data notification bar to see if your phone is connecting to the Internet for no apparent reason.
  6. Monitor your bandwidth usage Why You Don't Need Third Party Apps To Manage Background Data Use In Android Jelly Bean Why You Don't Need Third Party Apps To Manage Background Data Use In Android Jelly Bean If you’re like most people, you don’t have unlimited data and you don’t want to go over your data cap. Phones with Android Jelly Bean contain powerful tools for tracking your mobile data usage, setting... Read More using a data monitoring application. Spy applications tend to hog bandwidth as they upload logs to the remote server. Check your list of applications for any strange apps and uninstall anything you don’t recognize.
  7. If you can’t find anything, but strongly believe that your Android phone has been compromised, back up your data and restore the phone to factory settings.
  8. Install a mobile security application such as F-Secure to prevent future spyware installations.

iPhones need to be Jailbroken in order for spyware to be installed. The best evidence of jailbreaking on an iPhone The Dangers of iPhone Spy Software & How To Detect It [iOS] The Dangers of iPhone Spy Software & How To Detect It [iOS] There is a growing amount of so-called "spy software" available that promises to log everything the user of an infected phone does while attempting to remain undetectable. Compromised devices are easily traceable via GPS, record... Read More is the Cydia app (see image below), which provides access to the alternative store for jailbroken iOS devices. If you find the Cydia icon, you have good reason to suspect your iPhone is bugged. Get rid it by upgrading the firmware; this reverses the jailbreak. However, the fact that you can’t find the Cydia icon does not mean that your phone hasn’t been jailbroken. The spy may have covered his/her tracks by installing an app that hides icons. SBSettings Install These SBSettings Toggles And Make Your Life Easier [Cydia Tweak] Install These SBSettings Toggles And Make Your Life Easier [Cydia Tweak] SBSettings makes life easier. Allowing me to shut off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other settings in seconds is one of the most awesome things ever. SBSettings has been around for as long as I can remember,... Read More is a Cydia app which can prevent certain icons from appearing. It even hides its own icon. Locate SBSettings by swiping from left to right on your status bar. Open it and check to see if there are any hidden icons.


Desktop Spying

Remote access applications How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer Read More and key loggers are the weapons of choice for spies keen on hacking into your computer. An application such as VNC allows someone to remotely view all your activity on a computer.  A key logger records all key strokes. All the spy needs to do is read the log and find passwords to your email, Facebook and other sites.

computer hacking

What to do: To avoid your computer from being spied on, take the following measures:

  1. Set your computer to lock the screen whenever it is idle for three minutes.
  2. Use a good strong password How To Create A Good Password That You Will Not Forget How To Create A Good Password That You Will Not Forget Read More .
  3. As a general rule, never allow anyone to use your computer as an administrator. If you share a computer with other people at home, create separate user accounts. Only the administrator should be able to install applications. If this is not possible, regularly check the list of installed software to see if there is any software you don’t recognize.

If you suspect your office computer is being monitored, avoid visiting any sites that you wouldn’t want your boss to know about.

It is important to mention that most spyware is completely undetectable. A key logger may not appear in your Add/Remove Programs list or even in the task manager. To get rid of key loggers and other spyware in Windows you need to install an anti-spyware program such as the free version of SpyBot Search & Destroy or Malwarebytes. If you are unable to fix the problem, boot into safe mode (press and hold down F8 as your computer restarts) and try running the anti-spyware program again. MacScan works well for Macs. If you still can’t get rid of the problem, back up your important files and re-install the operating system. That should completely delete malware still in your system. Also, read Aibek’s article on how to cheat key logger software How To Cheat Keylogger Spyware How To Cheat Keylogger Spyware Read More .

GPS tracking devices

Planting a GPS device on a car is extremely easy. Any self-respecting spy will think of placing a GPS tracker on your car.

What to do: There are many tell-tale signs that your car is being tracked. If you suspect someone is keeping tabs on you via GPS, the following are the ideal spots for hiding GPS devices:

  • Inside plastic bumper
  • Under bug shield
  • Under grill
  • Gap between hood and window
  • Under front dashboard
  • Inside door speakers
  • Top of the roof
  • Inside rear speakers
  • Under rear dashboard fabric
  • Inside the rear third brake light
  • Inside the rear plastic bumper
  • In the glove compartment

where to hide a gps device in a car

These days, trackers can be as small as a matchbox, so you have to be really thorough. You should also check your vehicle’s OBD (On Board Diagnostics) port for anything plugged in. This is the port that your mechanic plugs in a computer to perform a computer diagnostic. It is usually located under the front dashboard. An OBD GPS tracker has the advantage of drawing power directly from the car’s electrical system. Non-OBD tracking devices will eventually run out of power so anyone keen on keeping tabs on you over the long haul will prefer an OBD device. If gadgets are not your thing, you can always hire an electronics specialist to check your car for any tracking devices.

You can also jam a GPS signal with a GPS jamming gadget. These gadgets are easily available at online stores and only cost a couple of bucks. Most of them plug into a car’s 12 V adapter and can interfere with any GPS signal within a range of 500 meters. However, GPS jamming devices are illegal in some countries, such as the United States and Australia.

Cameras & Microphones

Due to great advances in camera technology such as the introduction of night vision and miniaturization, hidden cameras are being deployed on a massive scale.

hidden camera

What to do: If you suspect there are hidden cameras in your home, office or car, you can begin by searching the usual places. For buildings, check:

  • Light fixtures
  • Smoke detectors
  • Shelves
  • Speakers
  • Underneath table tops
  • Shelves
  • Flower pots
  • Lamp shades
  • Clocks
  • Wall pictures
  • Any other place that could conceivably conceal a miniature camera

Also, look for black dots in walls that may alert you to the presence of a pinhole camera. You can also turn off the lights at night and look for tiny green or red LED lights. Shine a flashlight against mirrors to pick up any hidden cameras. In cars, check the rear view mirror, roof and dashboard. If you want to be absolutely sure, a radio frequency (RF) detector equipped with a hidden camera lens finder costs less than 50 bucks and will detect all types of hidden cameras. Wireless cameras transmit at frequencies ranging from 900 MHz to 5.8 GHz. The RF detector will alert you to a transmission and you can then investigate the area further to determine the source. The lens camera finder will detect wired cameras. It emits red LED light which bounces off the lens of the spy camera. All you need to do is look through the scope to see the sparkle of the camera lens. Hidden microphones can also be detected using an RF detector.

rf detector hidden camera finder

What Next?

Finding out that you are being illegally spied on by your boss or a peeping tom is fairly easy to deal with; notify the law enforcement authorities immediately.

But if it’s your spouse who is spying on you, it can be pretty upsetting and even traumatizing, especially if you are completely innocent. The thought that a loved one harbors mistrust can evoke strong emotions. I can’t tell you what to do in such a situation; you would have to make that decision on your own. On the other hand, if your spouse spies on you and catches you cheating, that would leave you in a catch-22.

Have you ever been spied on? What did you do about it? Is there any instance where spying is justifiable? Let’s have a healthy discussion in the comments below.

Image Credits: JD Hancock via FlickrHacked Smartphone via ShutterstockHacker with Laptop via ShutterstockCare Wireframe Model via Shutterstock, Camera Monitoring via Shutterstock

  1. abiola k
    October 12, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for your article this devices is being monitord as we speak by unscrupulous individuals with no decency as you say.

  2. Jim C
    October 5, 2016 at 9:30 am

    If you suspect someone you know of installing spyware on your cell phone, which btw can be done with no actual hands on access to the phone now, discovering it is simple. The types of people who do these things have certain personality defects. That is their weak spot. All you have to do is plan several "scripted calls". If you suspect a spouse, the script would be a "secret lover" or similar of course according to the person and situation. The variables are endless. The goal is to force them to expose themselves. If you are worried about a violent response, its simple dont do it. I am more concerned with a cowardly , backstabbing response. Face to face is EXACTLY what I want, which is something these people just dont seem have the stomach for. I had a family member who thought it was a big joke to install spyware on my phone. You couldnt pay HIM to do that again. I have no respect or sympathy whatsoever for people who do this just to be nosey. I have seen it completely backfire on more than one. Its called Karma.

    • Millie D
      October 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Since they no longer need actual hands on access to your phone, do they need your itunes user id and password to put the spyware on your phone? Can someone get access to my phone without having these credentials?

  3. Sherell Squire
    September 24, 2016 at 3:20 am

    My job has been listening to my conversations at home and using what they hear against me at work. They didn't tell me nothing about it.

  4. Hacker
    September 13, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Look up Libreboot and read what it says!

    The answer is: if you can not trust, either the network provider, the hardware vendor, the people auditing the systems you end up deploying then that web of trust is broken, very badly.

    Software as it stands sucks, incredibly - "hackers" know this and they capitalize on it!

    Heck, Microsoft Windows is still using NTLM Hashing for Network Password protection, that went the way of the doe-doe in 1996 when it was found to be invariably broken, what did Microsoft do about that problem? The answer is nothing, your corporate copies of Windows are still utilizing broken NTLM *(New Technology Lan Manager) Hashes that where proven to be ineffective at protecting your corporate networks as far back as 1996!

    Instead all you have to do is type in Windows 10 Spying to get a feel for the Microsoft Corporation and everything it represents!

    An as for Apple - unless you run XCode as a developer you have no real security anyway, because you can not update the broken software without it and every single iPhone still ships with the default password of = alpine for the secure trusted user account!

  5. PJ
    June 9, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Guess what folks if your significant other or spouse doesn't trust you .... best advice is GET THE HELL OUT FAST!!!!! DON'T BUY anything, nobody deserves to be in a relationship like this where you are spied on.... holy crap!!!! That is psychotic and will lead to nothing good... good luck....

  6. thomas kane
    May 26, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I hate cheaters, my fiancee never gave me a reason to be suspicious until i found her and her colleague at a romantic restaurant. she told me it was work stuff but something wasn't right. i was worried until i was introduced to cyberhacktivist1 (at) gmail (dot) com who hacked her phone and text so i can find out the truth. cyberhacktivist1 gmail com made it possible to track her movement and location. he hacked her facebook, aol email. now lets say i have no doubt he was cheating. Email him he can help.

  7. nayana
    May 24, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    i think some has been spying me for more than 6 years, i moved to different city but after 1 year it started again. whenever i enter into a room a tap or click noise goes on.
    i have told my friends about it but they dont believe me.
    i know for sure someone is spaying on me because in the class people are talking abt some specific thing that i only do at home and they stops when ask or try to listen.

    • Amanda
      June 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm


      That's a little creepy to have other people knowing your business in your home - and unfort. I'm in the same boat (minus the clicks/taps) I wish you the best and hope it doesn't ruin your life to level in which it has ruin mine

      • devline
        August 26, 2016 at 1:14 am

        Wait, so other people exprienced this? and six years how did you put up with it?

  8. oliver jens
    December 9, 2015 at 1:41 am

    Nice post,Everyone , I just thought I'd let you know you can have a talented hacker get your jobs done for you(whatsapp,viber,texts,Facebook,monitor calls) , whatever you need done , reach him on cybershadow76 AT , , if you realize you have a cheating partner and just want to be more sure about the affair , he will get whatever you need done for you , he helped me once , i couldn't be more grateful, i fell in love with an unfaithful man having TWO affairs, you can imagine how sickening that is, this fella helped me know about it all, reach him for whatever you need done. let him know Maria told you

  9. lisakaycortez
    July 19, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    My husband & his mistress put spyware on all my devices he also gave them a key to my home to place spyware I don't know why he would do that to me I have nothing to hide from him or secrets and why would she want to hear what I talking about w my mom or dad she got access to all my phone contacts started texting my parents on there cells and myself talking with a foul mouth text my son!!!! She did ! And said sooner or later your gonna find out who I am, she put some kind of mspy/flexspy on my phone but when I to,d my husband I reported to the police and also turn in all her text messages and wrote two written reports , he was quite and of course he told her !! And I also reported it to the FBI OF INTERNET crime , I just didn't understand why he did this to me and then my new car I know he allow them to put any kind of spyware inside my car but by the grace of god I was able to find out some things . I feel they have a way in my home I feel as they can hurt me . My parents live two hours away and she even show up there in front of my moms house and this person works for hospice!!!!! She travels and to me they are both sick I tried to leave him but he stared to cry and said no plz don't go I love u, but I told him no u don't, you have verblely abuse me mentally abuse me your words are like daggers in my heart and you still don't want to tell me who she is, ever since we had our will done back in 2013 he got to be uglier w me he took our life insurance papers and I just feel all this has to do w that , she has life insurance on him and she wants him to change thing over to her or forfeit our will its been awful he even started blasting my lord and savior and all he does is lie to me but yet he don't want me to leave??? Why???? Maybe cause he knows he wouldn't want anyone else to have me or he knows this person he got involved w is truly sick not sure why I don't feel safe at all any more I had to get my a prepaid phone

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    July 11, 2015 at 8:59 pm

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  11. Vicky Chen
    June 23, 2015 at 9:43 am

    To monitor or not to monitor, that's a question.Sometimes it is legal to monitor for example,monitoring is legal practices for the country's part or for the employers during the working time.But monitoring spy app like Micro Keylogger is forbidded when using without others' permission,.This article give me a clear sight while being monitored what should I do.

  12. Kelly Paul
    May 20, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I believe there is a chance my apartment has hidden cameras, as well as listening devices. Not sure what to do, private investigators to expensive.

  13. gross invasion
    May 14, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    What do i do?
    if they are using a walkie talkie and 5 houses away, what can i do.
    My boy friend brings his walkie talkie home and a charger from his work. However his brother inlaw (Sherrif) house is 5 does away .they listen in to me while he is at work and here. He acts very distance and ignored me when he is home. Other then picking a fight all the time.
    How /what do i do to get them caught? ??

  14. Anonymous
    April 17, 2015 at 8:03 am

    My employer put something into electricity switch through GPS next to my room and he monitored me while his on his work, i know he does cause the electricity is clicked faster if i'm scrolling Facebook or some apps i've been in. And all tapped their mobile phones even children's phone has it, they know where i am if i bring my gadget all over the house. And what they can see if they open that GPS in their mobile? My GPS are turn off but the still reach me what can i do?

  15. Sean Gregory
    April 10, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Everywhere I go I am bugged, micd and cameras set car, where I live and wherever I phone is redhot too.
    How do I find out who is responsible for such an elaborate set up on my life??
    Please help.nobody believes me but my bug detector has located many suspect items which I usually pull apart.
    Everyone says I'm having paranoid delusions but I know I'm not.please help

    • Bradley Lee White
      April 12, 2015 at 2:16 am

      I wish i new my self hey if u find out please let me know if there is a free. App to find them thanks look for me on facebook and we can work together and find out what is going on

    • floyd
      May 14, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Unbelievable I thought I was the only one. Tell the Fbi thats what I did. They won't even know they are being watched back.

  16. trishia patrick
    April 9, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Im Dani and I must say I was impressed with the blackhathacker2012@gmail, he helped mme when I was hacked

  17. robert jones
    April 7, 2015 at 11:50 am

    help me my house is bugged all the way where can i buy an rf dector..??? now they know im learning about this there on me heavy im you know a proffesional company that i can call to sweep my house

  18. Wise Geek
    January 30, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Do you need to hack into your cheating spouse's phone to track their calls, whatsapp, BBM, email and also hack any database of any kind be it a bank in any country, or whatever the information you need with our sophisticated software, add me on Y! messenger on: wisegeek2001

  19. Vanessa Lugo
    January 3, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I computer have a question? What should I do if my live in boyfriend is a computer wiz and thats putting it lightly. My question is since we reside together in the same apartment, does that give him the right to spy on me or allow other people outside of our relationship meaning him and I to spy on me? Is that legal? Im very uncomfortable and feel like im always a target to be spyed on. It's very sad. What do I do? He even has a business that says his name and that he does computer work.

  20. Not Just Paranoid RaiseUrHandifUrSure
    December 22, 2014 at 8:11 am

    sorry my phone likes to make me look like an idiot or is it THEM? lol

  21. Not Just Paranoid RaiseUrHandifUrSure
    December 22, 2014 at 8:09 am

    please, could someone be more specific on the other methods used to install spyware? my ex sent me a photo that had an "unstabme date" as in it kept changing from, for lack of memory's sake, July 8 1970 to July 8 2011 etc. because he wanted to make me appear crazy, he had his boss/friend "accidentally" message me with a job site pic that did the same thing then he'd ca'll and pick a fight knowing I'd text an angry msg then tauntingly letme know I was linked in with his work messages..ofcourse I thought it was bs because their numbers weren't included. isthat possible as a method? opening an image? whatis another way because he's not the only sick shit in my life. how does a Citrix receiver fit in for someone who only looks at Facebook and recipes and plays solitaire? (seriously, if that is THE extent of the users experience, what the check would they do with such software? please be specific as you can. thanks for your time and expertise...Not Paranoid

  22. Grant R
    December 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I appreciate security articles very much. But I don't appreciate those with bad information.

    "Actual possession of the smartphone is required in order to install spyware."

    Actually, spyware can be installed on mobile devices without physical access to the phone. Apps including spyware have been discovered on for both Apple and Android, even on the official storefronts. Spyware can be installed on smartphones via a number of other methods as well, including session hacking over local wi-fi.

    "If you see the Cydia icon, you have good reason to suspect your iPhone is bugged."

    Cydia is required for iPhones running on pre-paid plans from many national vendors such as MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, Straight Talk, Cricket, and others. This is because Apple blocks settings needed to configure the phones for different networks. Most often, seeing this icon is because you or your phone provider installed it for practical and valid purposes - not because you are being spied on.

    • Kihara
      December 11, 2013 at 5:06 am

      Thank you Grant for that useful information on installing spyware without actual possession of the phone. Maybe I should have been more specific by stating 'most spyware'. I was making reference to the numerous spyware apps being hawked all over the Internet. You need actual possession of the phone to install most of these apps.
      As for Cydia, the point is, if the icon suddenly appears on the phone, you should be worried and check your phone for spyware.

    • Grant R
      December 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks for the clarification, Kihara. Merry Christmas!

  23. Manuth C
    December 10, 2013 at 8:21 am

    How about spying a Windows Phone?

    • Kihara
      December 11, 2013 at 4:59 am

      Hi Manuth, most of the spying apps available for Android are also available for Windows and iOS devices. Most spyware vendors have different versions for different systems.

  24. Prateek
    December 10, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Proxy browsing Sites like can be used for secure browsing.

    • Sheila
      January 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      I couldn't access via my J2ME/Java browser on my cell. Sure it's spelled correctly? Thanx!

    • Prateek A
      January 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Sheila you can check the site its accessible.

  25. dragonmouth
    December 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    "How to Protect Yourself From Unethical Or Illegal Spying"
    Is spying EVER ethical or legal??????

    "If you suspect your office computer is being monitored, avoid visiting any sites that you wouldn’t want your boss to know about."
    Always assume that it IS being monitored.

    The company-issued equipment (computer, phone, laptop, etc.) belongs to the employer who has the legal right to install any and all tracking and/or logging software. The same software installed on equipment owned by the employee but used for work, is illegal.

    • Joseph Webster
      December 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Actually on a BYOD device, tracking/logging software is usually not illegal. It depends of what you agreed to when you were allowed access to the company network resources. Installing surreptitiously or "hacking" your personal device might be illegal, but you would probably have a hard time pursuing legal action unless actual physical damage or loss occurred as a result. Bottom line is as you stated: Always assume that it IS being monitored. That includes EVERY device that touches the corporate private network - regardless of who "owns" it.

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