Spying on your cell phone

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - If someone asks to borrow your cell phone, or if you leave it unattended, unless you actually watch them use it, they may be secretly grabbing every piece of information on your phone, or even deleted messages.

The CSI - Cell Seizure Investigator - Stick is typically used by law enforcement professionals and intelligence agencies to gather forensic data from cell phones.  But anyone can buy one, and in just a matter a minutes you can copy everything on certain phones - even things the owner may have thought were gone.

Registered private investigator Nicole Bocra is a big fan of the device.  Bocra has used it in marital and corporate investigations where cell phone data could be used as evidence.

Utah-based Paraben Corporation released the CSI Stick at a cost of about $300. It supports some nearly Motorola, Samsung and LG phone models, and creates a forensically sound document that can't be altered.

The company indicates that could be useful in police investigations, but Joe or Jane detective could find it useful too.

"Every time your husband leaves the house, if he's on the phone...if he's running out for bread and he automatically gets on the phone...if he comes in late and as he pulls in the driveway he's on the phone...you might want to see who's on those phone calls," Bocra said.

How it does work? you simply turn on the cell phone, find the right adapter to fit the phone, plug in the CSI stick, and wait for the two to sync up. Not only can you choose to copy phone numbers, text messages, photos or all them - depending on an individual phone's rewrite program - you can also copy things that have been deleted.

"Say for a example, this phone may have 60 days and every 60 days it rewrites over itself. It won't be able to get stuff then that's 120 days old," Bocra said.

When you are done with the phone, plug the stick into a computer, load up all the information, and you have tons of information to comb through for whatever reason.

"You can establish a pattern of who they're calling and when they're calling that individual," Bocra said. "We would then take those phones numbers and run them and see who the individual is."

In addition to buying the CSI Stick, you need the software to run it, which runs nearly $100.  There are multiple state and federal laws that deal with spying on a cell phone that doesn't belong to you, but the CSI stick and other devices like it are still on the market, and your phone could still be a target.

To see how cell phone spies hack into smart phones, click here:

To learn about warning signs your cell phone is being monitored, click here:

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