Warning over ‘James Bond’ mobile spying devices

Matrix men

The biggest real-world problems when it comes to smartphone security are not viruses, but spying tools.

So claims security firm F-Secure, which believes that there are many companies selling spying products for smartphones like the iPhone and BlackBerry, and which users could install on other people's devices.

Mikko Hyponnen, chief security researcher for F-Secure, said that once installed, you could fully monitor what a person was doing on their phone.

"We've tried it out and it works like a charm. You can log someone's phone calls, the number, how long they talked," he said.

"If they sent text messages you can find full information about when they sent the message, who received it and the actual content of it."

To fit these spying tools you need to have physical access to somebody else's phone, although the researcher said it would only take a minute to a minute-and-a-half to install.

F-Secure said that the cases it investigated typically weren't really to do with espionage, but rather cases like a jealous wife or husband looking to monitor their spouse.

"With the modern phones you know exactly where it is. If you have GPS you get the exact location," Hyponnen said.

"You can also remotely turn on the microphone and listen to what's being discussed in the room."

In military bases, people are often asked to remove their battery in case there is a listening device inside.