How Does Spyware Work on a Cell Phone?

By Cheryl Washington


We hear a lot about Internet spyware programs, but spyware can also be found on cell phones. Spyware for cell phones, in the form of a Trojan, can capture your text messages, mobile Internet connections and call logs. Cell phone spyware was first detected in 2006. The number of cell phone spyware attacks has grown rapidly since then.

What Is Mobile Spyware?

Spyware, also referred to as Trojans and malware, are programs that track your cell phone activity and send it to a third party. The programs can also manipulate your text messages so that others can read them. The malware can affect your cell phone by draining the battery and running your bill up to hundreds of dollars through premium text messages. It can disable certain programs from your cell phone or disable the phone itself. Some can delete files while collecting personal and confidential information without your knowledge.

Spy Spyware

Spyware is not always downloaded by some random hacker simply seeking to access your personal information and annoy you. Spyware called spy spyware is widely available to the public. It is marketed as a tool to track children, teens, employees and cheating spouses. These advanced spyware programs can intercept ingoing and outgoing text messages, locate where you are, obtain call histories and duration, find out who is in your contacts and even access live conversations. Cell phones are now available with this type of spyware pre-installed.

Most Vulnerable Phones

PDAs and smartphones are the most vulnerable because of their email and Internet capabilities. Similar to Internet spyware, mobile Trojans are downloaded through email, browsing the web, instant messaging and sharing files. The easy convenience of checking banking information and storing personal information on PDAs and smartphones increases the possibility of downloading Trojans and other types of spyware.


Treat your cell phone like you do your computer. Make sure you have the proper anti-spyware and anti-virus programs on your cell phone. The anti-virus software can detect the presence of malware and stop it. If you receive a Bluetooth or text message from someone you don't know, do not open it. Delete it right away. Avoid downloading pirated software on your cell phone. Only install programs from reliable sources. When using your cell pone to access the Internet, only visit websites you are knowledgeable of and you find trustworthy.