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New software allows Chinese to tap neighbors' phones

By Wu Yuehui (People's Daily)

16:02, September 13, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

According to latest statistics, more than 6,000 mobile phone wiretapping incidents are occurring every day caused by the "X-Spy" wiretapping software program. In addition, according to the China Mobile Phone Security Report of the First Half of 2011 issued by the 360 Security Center, nearly 2,600 new Trojan Horse programs and malicious software programs appeared, and more than 13 million mobile phones were infected in China in only the first half of 2011.

These programs could be used in hundreds of kinds of mobile phones and are sold at prices between 1,500 and 1,800 yuan.

"Monitoring, extramarital affairs, business secrets and commercial disputes: mobile phone wiretapping can help you with everything." On some Websites selling mobile phone software programs, vivid advertisements of this kind can be frequently seen.

According to monitoring by the 360 Security Center, more than 1,000 phishing websites selling mobile phone wiretapping software programs or cards have appeared on the Internet to date, and the 360 Security Guards intercept the page views of such websites more than 400,000 times a day.

On every major search engine, inputting keywords like "mobile phone wiretapping programs" will bring up millions of search results. In addition, the prices of the wiretapping software programs sold on the Internet vary between 1,500 yuan and 1,800 yuan according to the operating systems of mobile phones. The price of the wiretapping software program for mobile phones made by Apple is as high as 4,000 yuan. Furthermore, some spy software sellers are even recruiting commercial agents in public on the Internet.

The software and viruses are good at stealing information and are highly compatible. They support mainstream operating systems, such as Android, and are compatible with several hundred models of mobile phones from producers such as Nokia, Samsung and Motorola.

The scale of the industry reaches 1 billion yuan and may threaten national information security

According to a report released by KingSoft, the mobile phone spyware industry generates 1 billion yuan in gray revenue.

In response, mobile phone industry insider Xiao Le said that mobile phone spyware has a huge market: some use them to steal information on rivals or intrude on personal privacy.

"Currently, the abuse of such hacking software will lead to severe consequences without strict regulation and prevention. They will not only directly cause the loss of personal privacy but also directly threaten business conspiracy and even national information security," Zou stressed.

Government bodies improving legislation against cell phone spying

Related government bodies have started to pay close attention to cell phone spying and are working together to improve legislation against it. The Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly issued the "Interpretation on Several Issues Concerning the Laws Applicable to Criminal Cases Involving Damage to the Safety of Computer Information Systems," which came into force on Sept. 1. This judicial interpretation further clarified the applicability of certain laws in related criminal cases.

Min Chaoran, a lawyer at Duan and Duan, said that Article 11 of the judicial interpretation stated clearly, "The 'computer information systems' and 'computer systems' here refer to all automatic data processing systems, including computers, network equipment, communications devices and automation control equipment." In other words, smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices that have emerged in recent years are also entitled to the protection of the law.

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