As much as Apple thinks its iOS platform is locked up tight, researchers have found that at least one program can penetrate the wall, showing that pretty much any mobile device – whether it’s made by Samsung, HTC, RIM, or Apple – is vulnerable to something.
The news comes courtesy of the University of Toronto in Canada, where researchers have been playing with a surveillance program called “FinFisher” and it’s mobile version “FinSpy Mobile” which can remotely monitor and control devices on pretty much any platform anywhere around the world, including Android, Apple’s iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone.
Bloomberg News first reported the story, noting that the software can remotely switch on the microphone in your smartphone and turn the entire thing into a tracking device.
The software was originally designed for use by law enforcement teams to track criminals, but disturbingly, a copy of this technology appears to have gone missing, which can’t be good for anyone.
In fact, apparently the software can be installed by clicking on a link, making it possible for any mobile phone user on any platform to be infected accidentally and have their phone controlled.
At this time, we don’t think this is widespread, so you’re probably safe for now, but we’re checking with internet security firms to see how likely it is to affect smartphones and if anything can be done to protect them, such as using mobile security apps.