Is my company smartphone spying on me?

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What should one do when one suspects that the recently issued company smartphone replacement is being used for surveillance purposes to spy on employees even in the privacy of their homes? I suspect the Big Brother has gotten some spyware installed that even records conversations, transmits video on demand even when the phone is off. Now, who can help me prove that the original factory settings have been altered for the sole purpose of Espionage? What if I also suspect that company Laptop has Key-logger and all kinds of surveillance installed as well.

My phone and Laptop seem to have lately gotten minds of their own. Phone makes clicking sounds all the time, lights up without being touched especially if I walk into a dark room where it is (motion sensor?), goes on and off on it's own, batteries are always flat, while my Laptop has a million processes running that I haven't initiated and restarts on it's own. Wasn't aware I was working for Stasi. Am I being watched, haunted or is paranoia setting in? I'm getting sleepless nights about this.

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Have any of your colleagues had similar problems with new phones/laptops?

It might well be worth asking around a bit...

 

If it isn´t actually a requirement of your company that you are accessible 24/7, why not simple lock both the phone and the laptop in a cupboard when you get home - possibly in the cellar, so that an absolute minumum of your private life could be detected if that si really what is going on here?

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Maybe the phone is just malfunctioning. As for the key logger, I know in the US and UK, employers have the right to spy on their employees all they want but I don't know if they do here. At least I worked with some guys here who spent a lot of time watching porn during working hours and they claimed that it was against privacy laws in Germany to spy on what you are doing on your work computer.

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LeonG, at least as far as the UK goes, no, employers do not have the right to spy on their employees, and I think the first judge (and the second, third and subsequent) will make short shrift with an employer that spies on employees while the latter are at their homes. And I am willing to bet a decent amount to say that same applies in the US.

 

@OP: A phone that is switched off, is off. Period. Yank battery and be sure that when you switch it off it really is off. Oh, and don't forget the tin foil hat

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Have any of your colleagues had similar problems with new phones/laptops?

It might well be worth asking around a bit...

 

Yes, although of course not within 100m of your phone or laptop. And you might want to ensure that the person you're asking doesn't have theirs on them either. Ideally through some form of cryptic dance.

 

First things first, you could take the batteries out of them to see if the oddness continues. That should help clarify whether you really need a technology expert or a priest.

 

If you have only just walked into the dark room, can you be sure the phone wasn't brightly amusing itself it beforehand? I knew someone who returned their new phone because of its flashing lights, which I suspect were simply annoyingly attention-starved indicators of an old, unread text message. I've never had a phone smart enough to do any of this, but I imagine it'd have to be some pretty low-grade spyware if it leads to mad clicking and lights flashing. Unless it's meant to be a double bluff. The model of phone would help. If it's an iPhone then yes, it's spying on you anyway.

 

As for the laptop processes, I'd try to ensure there are as few programs as possible running on startup, and then google the names of any other suspicious-sounding processes. Perhaps using another laptop, if I were paranoid.

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Putting a key logger on a company laptop isn't really spying on you when you are at home. It is spying on what you are doing with company owned equipment. However, it still might be against the law in Germany as my porn watching former co-workers claimed. It's worth it to check that out I think.

 

As for the phone, it might just be malfunctioning, who knows. IMO, just leave the company phone at work. If you really must be reached, get a stupid-phone for 30€ and put your company SIM card in that.

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Thanks for replies. A work mate confirmed that it is indeed true that we are being spied on and that it's been going on for a while. Employees have been leaving the company in large numbers to join rival consulting companies and that has made some people very angry and insecure. I guess it's time to start looking for another job.

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Thanks for replies. A work mate confirmed that it is indeed true that we are being spied on and that it's been going on for a while. Employees have been leaving the company in large numbers to join rival consulting companies and that has made some people very angry and insecure. I guess it's time to start looking for another job.

 

I was thinking virus/trojan myself.

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So, I suspect hubby may have spyware on my phone and/or laptop. (Aside: Greetings Ernest.)

My phone gobbled up 50 MB of internet usage after a 10 second video conversation on Whatsapp with someone in the same country as me. How can that be? He is currently in the Canaries. So I wondered if my phone is sending/receiving abroad. Dunno if or how this would show on my bill. Any thoughts?

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31 minutes ago, optimista said:

My phone gobbled up 50 MB of internet usage after a 10 second video conversation on Whatsapp with someone in the same country as me.

How much data did the whatsapp used for the 10 second call?

 

31 minutes ago, optimista said:

 So I wondered if my phone is sending/receiving abroad. Dunno if or how this would show on my bill. Any thoughts?

Well depends on your settings. If auto app update happened, then significant data can be used. Also there are many background app that pings and uses data. So it need to be seen which app and why data was used.

 

There could be legitimate uses or some rouge App. 

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Thanks for replying although i am somewhat out of my depth here. What is a rouge app ? Spy app ? How do I prevent updates happening while i am out ?

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You have to figure out which app it is and deactivate it.  Even better, do a factory reset on your phone.  You'll have to set it up again but at least you know there's nothing on it that shouldn't be.  

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Factory reset... will that delete stuff like contacts and foti ?

 

I went through all app and put them on wifi where it is an option. The Android installed apps that you cannot delete i have deactivated mobile data but there is no wifi option. So how will they update ?

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10 sec video call used 46MB. I dunno if that is normal. I was cut off and got a message from my provider that my internet allowance was used up. They still docked me for the remaining couple of euros credit on my account for internet use beyond my subscription

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