Category Archives for Smartphones

PhoneSheriff Investigator Monitoring with No Jailbreak Required

I’ve had the pleasure of being a Beta tester for PhoneSheriff Investigator, which is the latest monitoring application released by Retina X Software, best known as the maker of the famous Mobile Spy. I’ve decided to share the experience and my opinion of the software in the shape of a review, and answer some of the key questions regarding the application.

Before I go on any further, I have to point out that the application I’m reviewing is the PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition – not to be confused with the regular PhoneSheriff program, which is similar in nature to MobileSpy, and is a mobile phone application, as opposed to the Investigator Edition, which is a PC program, used and made with a completely different purpose in mind. mSpy also have a new version of this kind of no-jailbreak software – worth a look!

What is It Then?

PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition is designed for the monitoring of Apple device, such as iPhones, iPads, iPods and so on. It can only be used to monitor Apple devices. One good thing about the PhoneSheriff Investigator is that you install it on your computer, which means you don’t have the jailbreak the target devices in order to monitor them. This eliminates a major issue regarding monitoring applications.

Many users flat out refused to monitor cell phones, tablets or computers, because they found the whole jailbreaking procedure overly complicated. Also, the way kids are with their cell phones today, it can be hard for parents to get a hold of their kids’ phones in order to jailbreak them. Now, it is much easier, thanks to this new software.

Another thing that needs to be pointed out is the fact that this is not an application that is to be installed onto a cell phone, but rather a monitoring software which you install onto your laptop or desktop that is Windows. The monitoring of Apple devices is carried out via Apple iCloud service, which requires you to provide the user’s Apple ID and password.

Requirementsphonesheriff

Obviously, you would need a PC or a laptop to which you would install the software. Also, in order for it to be useful, the monitored devices need to be Apple devices only. Even though you can’t monitor phones or tablets using Blackberry or Android, you can track the activity of multiple devices using a single installation of PhoneSheriff Investigator, which saves a lot of money, because you don’t to have purchase a separate copy for each device you need to monitor. You will need:

  • An iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, with iOS version ranging from 5.x and up
  • You have to back up the device via Apple iCloud (free sign-up with Apple ID)
  • Apple ID and password of the user is a must
  • A laptop or a desktop running Windows Vista, 7 or 8 (doesn’t support Windows XP)
  • A stable internet connection

When you buy The PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition, there are no more expenses, other than what you pay for it right away. The license lasts a lifetime, with no additional one-time or monthly payments.

Which Devices Can You Monitor with PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition?

Even though it functions in a different way, the PhoneSheriff Investigator can be used in the same way as any other cell phone spy app and monitor the same activities, which include:

  • Text messages, both sent and received, along with logs, as well as the content of the message
  • iMessages – monitor and read all messages sent and received using the iMessage service
  • Call history – in great detail, for every call
  • GPS locations – the latest backups on a dedicated map (limited and not in real time)
  • Any photo that is saved on a device
  • The full list of contacts on the device
  • Safari bookmarks – only works with the Safari browser; browsing history is not available
  • All saved notes
  • The details of every single account saved on the device

Because it functions in a different way than common cell phone spy apps, some of the features and functions usually found on those apps are limited here. You also don’t get real time features which are standard on MobileSpy, FlexiSpy and similar apps, but still, the PhoneSheriff Investigator is very useful in a case you are not able to jailbreak the device you wish to monitor, or if regular spy apps cannot be used. Therefore, this should be viewed as an alternative, when you have exhausted all other options.

How Does it Work?

Even if you are not very tech savvy, the PhoneSheriff Investigator Edition is still easy to use:

  • Sign up the device you wish to monitor to iCloud
  • Purchase and install PhoneSheriff Investigator on your Windows desktop or laptop
  • Sign up or log in with your Apple ID and password
  • Monitor the logs, messages and other data

The program is designed for use with Apple’s own iCloud, which gives 5 GB of free backup and storage space for any Apple device. The only thing you need to do is register and receive a free Apple ID and password, as well as install iCloud service on the target device. It will then sync up with iCloud and backup everything that is sent or received via the device: messages, call, logs, bookmarks and so on.

The majority of Apple users have this already set up, so the only thing you need is their Apple ID. In case you have to install the iCloud, there will be no trace of the software on the target phone. Once iCloud is working, it will sync up once a day with the target device automatically, but you can also sync up at any moment you want, using iCloud. So, just to recap – PhoneSheriff Investigator will access the data backed up on iCloud and give you access to it via your PC. As you may have noticed, the target device and your PC are never directly connected, which makes monitoring untraceable.

However, not everything is perfect, since there are no real-time updates. You will have to wait for the device and iCloud to sync up once a day in order to see the calls and the texts. Also, the GPS locations it shows are the locations where the phone was at when it synced up with the cloud service, and not all places where it was located since the last sync. Another flaw is that it requires Apple ID and password, which can be difficult to get a hold of, which is why this program is ideal for parents who monitor their children.

The Conclusion

After testing PhoneSheriff Investigator over the course of several months, I can say that it works exactly as advertised, which is not surprising, since it was released by Retina X Software, a company with stellar reputation. A very common occurrence in the spy app world is for new companies to disappear after a few months on the market, leaving users stranded and without support, which is why opting to go with a trusted company is so important.

Parents who wish to keep track of their kids’ cell phone activities will find much to like here, since it’s very user friendly, eliminates the issue of jailbreaking, which was the sticking point in the past, and the children are unaware of the fact that they are being monitored. PhoneSheriff Investigator doesn’t have the option of real-time monitoring, but if you are using it monitor your kids, it will do the job. You may not know every single detail of their conversations, but you will get a general idea about the nature of their contacts. Jailbreaking the device and installing a spy app is a more efficient solution, but, if such a possibility doesn’t exist, PhoneSheriff Investigator is good enough, and the two shouldn’t be compared.

On top of all this, PhoneSheriff Investigator is quite affordable, at just $79 for a license that lasts a lifetime, with no additional or hidden charges that you have to pay every month. In case you are not sure it is the right choice for you, you can download a limited Trial version of the software. You won’t be asked to provide your credit card information, but the functionality of the software will limited to showing only the first 10 records of each log during the trial period of 7 days, which more than enough to get acquainted with PhoneSheriff Investigator.

Recap

A quick rundown of the features:

  • Only for Apple devices – iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS 5 and above)
  • No need to jailbreak the target device, as the software is installed on a PC running Windows Vista, 7, 8 or better
  • Installed iCloud on the target device
  • User’s Apple ID and password is required
  • No third party access, just your desktop or a laptop
  • No software is installed on the target device
  • Monitoring of multiple devices from a single PC
  • You pay only when you purchase the license – no additional costs

Check it out and see what you think! Thanks for reading.

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Three Flaws in Smartphone Security You Should Look Out For

If you think that your smartphone is foolproof when it comes to security, and that you don’t need to worry unless someone else has your phone, you need to look at the facts. See, smartphones are still a new concept, so naturally many security flaws have yet to be fixed. While you shouldn’t be paranoid that someone’s going to steal your data, you need to remember to take certain precautions if you want your security to be protected. With that said, how many security weaknesses are there in smartphones? In this article, we’ll look at the biggest ones.

Faulty Communication Protocols

The Internet’s rise to the mainstream is one of the bigger achievements in history, and it’s given birth to many things. While a lot of bad has come from the Internet, many good things have as well. But when you’re part of a network that is online constantly, there can be problems. Data is no longer just set on one location. You don’t need floppy disks, CDs, or USB drives in order to transport something. Now all you need to do is grab it from wherever.

This makes data easier to access. Naturally, developers are trying to take great security measures to make sure your data isn’t stolen. However, people do not encrypt their data, which they can be able to, but they don’t. Why? People don’t believe it can happen to them. Because they’re not a famous person or a millionaire, they assume that it won’t happen to them. But it can.

Let’s look back at SS7. This was how telecom companies transmit calls and texts. However, security flaws were soon revealed, and it made it easy for anyone to look at your conversation. SS7 was developed in the ‘70s, so it makes sense as to how a 40-year-old system can have flaws. Especially one as complex as SS7.

Now we have the NFC protocol. Being newer, you’d assume that it’s safer, but it’s not. It allows your phones to be able to send data, but it can be hacked into. This protocol actually leaves your phone vulnerable, and people can hack and run into your smartphone. The RFID chips in your phone can easily be hacked.smartphone security flaws

If you want your data protected, you need to make sure you have secure connections that keep your data safe against anyone who wants to grab it. If you’re banking on your phone, you better believe that you need to take precautions!

Smartphone Viruses Do Happen

Stop thinking that only a Windows computer can get a virus. Every OS and even smartphones have susceptibility to viruses. Your Android and Windows Phone can be bombarded with viruses, and even the iPhone isn’t safe. The National Vulnerability Database, along with the information in Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures of 2013, revealed that there were at least 200 security flaws in the iOS. That’s about an 81 percent accountability for all smartphones!

Blackberry, Android, and Windows Phone have fewer flaws combined than what the iOS has. That is not to say that Apple is horrible, but the fact is that every smartphone can have risks, and with the iPhone being so heavily used, everyone wants to crack inside it.

Flash forward to early this year. It was revealed that a security flaw affected 90 percent of global smartphones. What was that flaw? It came from a standard that was shared by all major devices such as Blackberry, Android, and iOS. This allows hackers to do whatever they want to your data. They can delete it, look at it, and even add their own.

Smartphone security is flawed, to say the least. You can get viruses from almost any place, including app stores, which can have apps that will scam you out of your data. Malware can hit your smartphones and spy on you. So what is a user to do? You should look at your device and see if it’s acting odd. If it is, download a scanner and see if it contains any viruses or malware. Do not think that hackers don’t care about you. They do, and while you shouldn’t be too paranoid, you should stay safe. Just like you’d lock your car after leaving, you should lock your phone as well.

More Security Flaws

Apple fell under scrutiny early this year after a researcher in security discovered a backdoor that allows entrance in all iOS devices. People claimed that Apple did this on purpose to allow encrypted data to be pulled from the device. Apple did not deny it, either. They outright admitted that it existed. So anyone can get in that backdoor and grab your data. Are there any more backdoors out there?

Research at the North Carolina State University reveals that 60 percent of apps from ten different Android models could give your phone vulnerabilities, and these apps were from the manufacturer itself. Not all of them were with the intention of a backdoor; some were just apps that had flaws in them. But it proves that you can’t trust the manufacturers themselves. With government pressure to allow such backdoors, you should always tread lightly.

Conclusion

This is just the beginning when it comes to security flaws. You can get hacked through Wi-Fi and SMS. The smartphone is definitely not as secure as you once thought. So what’s a user to do? One thing would be to make sure that you always be secure whenever you’re on your phone. Encrypt your data, don’t allow fishy apps to access it, and stay alert!