Mobile spyware has been dealt a blow after the US Justice Department indicted a software company CEO for advertising and selling the StealthGenie app.
Authorities charged Hammad Akbar, CEO of InvoCode, the owner of the app, with conspiracy, sale of a surreptitious interception device, advertisement of a known interception device and advertising a device as a surreptitious interception device, according to CNET.
US authorities worked out that the segment it was targeting was “the spousal cheat” market, according to a business plan obtained, and that those persons would account for some 65 per cent of the buyers of StealthGenie.
"Selling spyware is not just reprehensible, it's a crime," said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. "Apps like StealthGenie are expressly designed for use by stalkers and domestic abusers who want to know every detail of a victim's personal life--all without the victim's knowledge."
StealthGenie was able to record all incoming/outgoing voice calls, intercept calls whilst they took place, call the phone and listen to all conversations in a 15ft radius, and monitor all emails, SMS messages and voicemails. In addition to this it threw open access to the address book, calendar, and photos and videos stored on the device.
Once the communications were intercepted they could be viewed online at the cp.stealthgenie.com subdomain and the FBI has been given a temporary restraining order to temporarily disable the website hosting StealthGenie.
“StealthGenie has little use beyond invading a victim’s privacy” said U.S. Attorney Dana Boente. “Advertising and selling spyware technology is a criminal offense, and such conduct will be aggressively pursued by this office and our law enforcement partners.”
StealthGenie could be installed on all mobile operating systems including Apple iOS, Google Android, and BlackBerry and Akbar was due in court yesterday to face the charges.