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Security Response

Spyware as a service

Created: 14 Sep 2006 07:00:00 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:57:03 GMT
Liam O Murchu's picture
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There is a relatively new annoyance called "spim" that seems to be popping up on our screens more frequently. Spim is the equivalent of spam (unsolicited email, usually selling snake oil) that is delivered over instant messaging clients. After recently receiving more spim, which was advertising what I believed to be a spyware product, it occurred to me that the best tricks are still the oldest ones. With the recent attention that spyware applications are receiving, it is easy to overlook some of the simpler, more direct methods of spying. Spyware applications are not the only way people can catch their spouses cheating (!). The spim message I received was advertising a “catch your spouse cheating service”. No download necessary, no application to install, no hidden software on your spouse’s computer.

The service is based strictly on social engineering. It is a “very straightforward service”, as it is explained on their Web site. For a fee of only $49.95, this company will talk (read: flirt) with your spouse. You give the company the online ID of your spouse and the company will contact your spouse online and flirt with them, just to check how faithful your spouse is. The company will even try to get your spouse to turn on their webcam and see how far they are willing to go with an online contact.

Is this spyware being presented as a service, or simply the oldest trick in the book? It is simple and to the point (if not very technologically advanced). I didn’t test the service out—first I need to find a spouse—a spouse that I don’t trust.