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Phone monitoring apps: The threat extends beyond privacy infringement

Cell-Phone-MonitoringPhone monitoring apps have indeed become more sophisticated than ever, giving the perpetrator unprecedented access into your privacy. This, unfortunately, is not the only thing you need to be worried about.

Many surveillance tools can take a toll on your phone’s functionality, software and even hardware, thus escalating your concerns even further. Unless the perpetrator is your concerned parents or an employer whose phone you’re using, don’t expect them to care much about what damage the app they’re installing can do to your phone.

The many dangers of low-quality spy apps

One of the biggest issues with phone monitoring apps, especially the free or low-quality ones, is that their functionality may extend beyond their touted role of merely spying on phone data. They can and are known to install spyware, malware or viruses on the target device. The spyware may not act any differently than the monitoring app, but its purpose may be extremely malicious, thus making it a potent threat. By recording everything from the telephone functionality to the text messages, emails, Internet activity, location and even the keystrokes, the spyware may empower the cybercriminal to a dangerous extent.

Malware, on the other hand, may interfere with the normal functionality of the phone by messing up the software. It may prevent the apps from running smoothly, or may install additional malicious programs on the phone, thus clogging both its memory as well as performance. Malware can also cause the phone to malfunction by interfering with the system processes and application files. As for the viruses,   they can corrupt or delete your cell phone data, send premium-rate texts and MMS without your knowledge or approval, and further spread to all your contacts. While you may not face these issues if the perpetrator has opted for a high-quality surveillance app, there’s no guarantee that they’ve made the right and safe selection.

The repercussions of rooting and jailbreaking

Rooting or jailbreaking may give you greater freedom on your Android device or iPhone respectively, but you need to be wary of the fact that while removing the built-in restrictions, you also lose some innate security features that are in place for the normal and smooth functionality of your cellular device. Since most cell phone monitoring apps can only be installed after administrative privileges beyond what the phone manufacturer or carrier had granted are gained, rooting or jailbreaking becomes an essential. Once that is done, the apps may leave the application sandbox, making their permissions and stated features irrelevant. They’d be able to mess with other apps and even the software, thus causing an anomaly in the phone behavior and creating new vulnerabilities. Furthermore, rooting and jailbreaking may change the phone’s configuration, making it a gift for hackers. Worst of all, the phone may get bricked if something goes wrong while removing the built-in restrictions.

Faster battery drainage

Despite running in the background and going unnoticed, mobile surveillance apps can put additional load on the battery by connecting to the network services for transmitting data, causing it to drain faster. If you’re already unhappy with the run-time of your battery, you’d find yourself complaining even more frequently.

A considerable drop in call quality

Monitoring apps may cause a significant deterioration in the quality of your phone calls. This is due to the call spy feature, which spies on your inbound and outbound calls by becoming a party to it and consequently making it a conference call, which generally lacks the clarity of end-to-end calls.

While privacy and security may already be serving as a strong motivation for you to protect your phone from potential snoops, the aforementioned harms resulting from monitoring apps may have convinced you to go the extra mile if necessary to keep your device safe, secure and running smoothly.

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