Robert McMillan, IDG News Service wrote an INTERESTING article about spyware being sold on eBay that has questionable applications.
From his article:
Think your wife may be cheating on you? Wondering who your boss might be talking to? "Learn the truth. Spy today."Of course, eBay wasn't able to be reached for comment.
So reads an ad for "Bluetooth Spy Pro-Edition," one of nearly 200 mobile phone spyware products currently listed for sale on eBay.
The software, which costs as little as US$3.99, can be used to view photographs, messages and files on the phone, listen into phone conversations, and even make calls from the phone being spied upon.
Security experts are concerned, because while these products aren't illegal, installing them without authorization to spy on someone else most definitely is.
In August, I did a post called, Self service stamp machines targeted by credit card thieves. When writing it, I saw a quote that some of the stolen stamps were being sold on eBay and decided to see for myself. What I found was a lot of stamps for sale for what seemed to be too good to be true prices.
To be completely fair, eBay isn't the only one selling questionable merchandise on the Internet. The problem exists on auction sites in general and there are e-commerce companies that specialize in selling devices, which are marketed specifically as tools to violate other people's privacy.
In the wrong hands, these devices can be used for more sinister purposes, also.
A good example of this is keylogging software, which is is a favorite tool of cybercriminals to steal people's personal and financial information. Keylogging software is legal and easy to purchase in a variety of places, including the Internet.
Another example, which is similar to Robert McMillan's story concerns a company called FlexiSpy. I did a post on this company, who sells technology designed to spy on Smart Phone users.
In the post, I wrote:
There is already a lot of "buzz" that mobile phones, especially those of the smarter variety will be targeted for their "information value."
A product called "FlexiSPY" is being legally sold, which allows anyone (with the money to buy it) to invade the privacy of someone, who uses a smart phone.
Despite all the controversy at the time, FlexiSpy seems to be alive and selling their product to anyone with the money to buy it.
To end this post, I will refer to the worst site of this type (my opinion) out there. Hackershomepage.com is a one stop e-commerce shop selling technology and a host of manuals that could be used to commit a host of financial crimes.
I covered this website in a post entitled:
It is no wonder why skimming (credit/debit card fraud) is becoming a nasty problem!
Here is the websites legal disclaimer:
We WILL NOT answer emails from anyone asking about illegal activities, or how to use our products for illegal activities...they will automatically be deleted. All products are designed for testing and exploring the vulnerabilities of CUSTOMER-OWNED equipment, and no illegal use is encouraged or implied. We WILL NOT knowingly sell to anyone with the intent of using our products for illegal activities or uses. It is your responsibility to check the applicable laws in your city, state, and country.
Hackershomepage.com, who has the motto "they make it we break it" is up and running at the time of this writing and boasting they've been in business for eleven years.
While there might be legitimate uses for some of this technology being marketed on the Internet, you would think at the VERY least we might want to put a few controls on who it is being sold to?
When I say some of this technology MIGHT have legitimate uses, there is also some that I can think of no legitimate use for!
Unfortunately, until laws are enacted that hold the sellers accountable, little can be done about this.
One thing to remember is that even though the sellers aren't being held accountable, the buyers will be if they are caught using them in a manner deemed to be illegal. Just because it appears easy to buy doesn't mean that using it won't land a person in a lot of trouble.
It's safe to say that we could find people in correctional institutions that could attest to this fact.
IDG News Service story (courtesy of PC World), here.