Imagine this, you are talking to your friend at the mall or at your home but then your Android smartphone is secretly recording your conversation. It’s not doing this on its own though as it has been injected with a malware so that other people can spy on you or even copy the data that is on your device.
That’s a scary scenario right? But this is actually happening right now without the knowledge of the owner of the Android device and it is being conducted by the Federal Bureaue of Investigation. The Wall Street Journal has reported that law enforcement personnel of federal agencies are resorting to tools that are usually being used by hackers to gather information on suspects.
Spying on a suspect using this method requires a court order and even with this it still isn’t a reliable method to be used on a tech-savvy suspect. This is because the Android smartphone must first be infected with a malware which can be done when the person involved clicks on a shady link or opens an attachment. People with tech backgrounds usually don’t fall for this trap.
A former U.S. official with knowledge on this matter says that the agency does not usually resort to this method. It is only being used if it involves organized crime, counterterrorism, or child pornography.
Criminals today are using communication technology that is difficult to intercept which is why the FBI is using hacking tools. These tools are either developed internally or are bought from private companies. One major feature of these tools is that it can activate the microphone of an Android device and record any nearby sounds. The same tool also works on laptop microphones which can be used to record conversations.
If you’ve got nothing to hide then this really won’t be a problem however if you’re particular about your privacy then it’s best to avoid having malware infecting your smartphone. Installing a mobile security software on your device is one way to make it more secure.