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nadiarose's avatar

How can I tell if text message tracking software was installed onto my iphone 3G?

Asked by nadiarose (2 points ) January 30th, 2011

Hello, AT&T has told me that I probably have a virus on my iphone 3G. I believe that it is actually an installed text message tracking software. How can I tell if this is true? Is there a way to see installed programs like this?

I am being spied on and would like to take legal action if I can prove the activity.

I have reset my iphone, and if my problem continues I am told to call Apple to further instruct me. Also, as of right now, my iphone has lost all it’s contact info, photos, voicemail password, notes, etc… if I upload my old data from itunes and there was a text message tracking program installed before the reset, will this reload that spying software along with all my contact info, photos and other data?

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11 Answers

rawrgrr's avatar

Don’t worry, you’re safe. iPhones are one of the most safe phones on the market today. It is very unlikely you have a virus or tracking software. Only AT&T has access to that kind of information. Apple has to approve every single piece of software available for iPhones.The only way this would be possible is if you jailbroke your iPhone. Apple takes that kind of thing very seriously.

No you do not have text message tracking software installed on your phone, yes you can get your data back through iTunes if you backed up before restoring, and what is this “problem” you’ve been having? What made AT&T think you have a virus?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Someone spent BIG money to follow you. (up to $500).
Take it to your local Apple store or call support 1–800-MY-APPLE.

Are you a minor ? ? Maybe your parents added it.

Silence04's avatar

What evidence do you have of being tracked?

sinscriven's avatar

Do they have any proof of this “virus”? It sounds really peculiar and if this was possible it’d be global news as of now, So I’m kind of skeptical.

SMS, like most e-mail is sent unencrypted, so don’t expect any sort of privacy when sending those. Go by the rule of thumb that you shouldn’t ever text anything you wouldn’t want put on a sign in times square.

jerv's avatar

Unless Apple changed their licensing fairly recently, any and all data put on or sent through an Apple iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone is pretty much fair game for them to read, delete, or share as they see fit. That right there means that iOS can be considered “spyware”.

As @sinscriven points out, SMS (“text messaging”) is also unsecure. No need to install tracking software if they are within radio range of you or have access to AT&T’s servers and equipment. And as much as I would love to disagree with @rawrgrr, there really isn’t a way this could happen to a non-jailbroken iPhone; Apple is that anal about what they allow onto their products. Of course, that means that much of the stuff that is written for jail-broken iPods/iPhones is malware since nobody but Apple is allowed to do anything as far as making iOS more secure….)

The problem here is that iOS doesn’t have a conventional file structure. That makes it a bitch to do a lot of simple things that most people take for granted. That also means that anybody who can write for iOS can hide their stuff pretty damn well, or at least well enough that anybody who asks, “How do I…?” has no chance.

Now, if we assume that there is a virus (or other software) on there then it will likely also be part of your backup and thus will be reinstalled along with your other stuff. There was a non-computer-literate teacher that kept re-infecting our schools (Macintosh) network that way; infected backups.

Of course, an actual virus would have a hard time getting there and an even harder time staying alive, so I suspect that it is supposed to be there… like it was put there by a boss, parent, or law enforcement official.

I can’t think of anything you could do aside from call for help from the only place that is even allowed to know anything about the inner workings of the iPhone; Apple.

nadiarose's avatar

Thank you for your time and answers. I really appreciate it.

The AT&T personnel I spoke to on the phone may have been mistaken with the term virus.

However, there are programs, for example, from mobile-spy.com that offers text message tracking software. Their site claims that Mobil Spy is compatible with the iphone. It let’s the user intercept text messages sent to the other parties phone along with the call history in and out of the phone.

Do you know anything about this type of software?

I thank you again for your comments and I certainly have a few more ideas to consider.

jerv's avatar

Controlling physical access to your hardware goes a long way to enhance your device’s security. It appears that Mobile Spy only works if someone installs it on there and the way iPhones are set up makes that impossible without physical access to your phone… unless one of your other apps is a Trojan….

Now, does anybody here know if Apple/iOS has anything comparable to Android’s “permissions” that allows you to tell (or at least have a good idea) what each app really does? For instance, there are some apps I almost installed but their permissions seemed suspiciously extensive.

nadiarose's avatar

But if someone did have physical access to my iPhone, a program like Mobile Spy would be possible?

jerv's avatar

VERY easily.

Granted, it’s slightly tougher on an iPhone, but by “tougher” I mean, “you need to read some simple instructions” as opposed to Android where it can be done by an untrained monkey. Assuming your stalker is literate beyond a third-grade level, they could have it on there in ten minutes tops, and considerably quicker if they have enough computer skills to successfully use an ATM.

If you ever left your phone somewhere someone could reach it, like in your room while you take a shower, then it’s fair game. The only reason I don’t worry is that the only time my phone isn’t on me is when I am at home, and I trust my wife and our roommate. (I’m not so sure I trust the cat, but she doesn’t have the manual dexterity to even unlock the screen, so I doubt she’ll mess with my phone… except to chew on it.) Now, do you live alone? I doubt it since most people don’t, so we;ll move right into, “How much do you trust the person/people you live with?”.

Silence04's avatar

You still haven’t told us what evidence you have of your phone being tracked, unless you are just paranoid.

If you get all of your apps from iOS app store then you really have nothing to worry about since apple pretty much have it on lockdown.
If your phone is jailbroken, download activity monitor to see what your phone is doing, and also install firewall.

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