If you think that sophisticated eavesdropping and high-tech invasion of privacy techniques are limited to glitzy television shows and cloak-and-dagger government operations, better think again.
A California woman, Kristin Nyunt, 40, has pleaded guilty to wiretapping charges and could be sentenced to a long stretch in prison and ordered to pay heavy fines at a sentencing hearing in 2015.
Nyunt admitted having in her possession spy software, including Mobistealth, StealthGenie and mSpy, that is mainly used for the covert interception of communications. She had the capability to record telephone calls and access texts, voicemail, e-mail, calendars, digital addresses and contact information, photos and videos, and voice conversations.
Targeted for interception
She got the software online and downloaded it, then installed the programs on the cell phones and computers she targeted for interception purposes.
The individuals victimized were unaware that they were being monitored. In one instance, she was paid by the husband of a victim to spy on her and intercept her private communications.
Nyunt also said she often used a feature of the spyware that let her activate the microphone of a cell phone so she could eavesdrop on and record conversations happening in the vicinity of the phone. She tapped into sensitive law enforcement information this way by installing spyware on the phone of a police officer without his consent or knowledge.
Previously, in September 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of Hammad Akbar, 31, of Lahore, Pakistan, the CEO of the company that advertises and sells StealthGenie online. Akbar and others allegedly created the spyware, which can work on Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and Blackberry Limited’s Blackberry.
Nyunt, most recently a resident of Monterey, California, was charged with interception of communications and possession of interception devices. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 2015.
This dangerous application is real and it’s out there, and there is no shortage of people willing to use it for their own twisted purposes. It bears repeating that extreme caution should be exercised when sensitive matters are being talked about, written about or sent out as e-mails or texts.