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I own samsung galaxy y, an android. I suspect my roommate has installed spyware in my phone. Is it possible to install spyware in password protected android phone ?

  • Be sure that usb debugging is not activated so that a person who has physical access can't initialize an ADB session. – ScienceLover Sep 26 '18 at 14:25
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The scope of this question is too large. Is the phone stock? Running a custom ROM or rooted? Could he have guessed your PIN (looking at grease marks on screen)? When you say spyware do you mean an app from the store or custom apk?

I would say no, this is not possible, in normal circumstances. If you suspect something why not just wipe the phone and sync all your data back and vet the applications?

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  • I dont think he could have guessed the password.app can be from anywhere may be play store or apk install - does this matter ? – user2917687 Nov 18 '13 at 14:17
  • Then the answer would be yes it is possible. Perhaps not likely, but possible. – Scott Helme Nov 18 '13 at 14:26
  • how is that possible ? – user2917687 Nov 18 '13 at 14:37
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    The PIN really only stops someone using the screen, the User Interface (UI). Yes it may provide some rudimentary protection for the device but it depends. Does the phone auto-mount as USB storage? Can he remove a memory card and manipulate or load files? – Scott Helme Nov 18 '13 at 14:48
  • yes he can remove memory and load files. but spywares have to be installed right ? will just copying make them work ? – user2917687 Nov 19 '13 at 7:27
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If your roommate has physical access to your phone, then yes it's very possible. Given that he is your roommate, it means he can access your phone while you're sleeping or taking a shower.

Flash your mobile and enable full device encryption with a strong password. Also, please get a roommate whom you can trust.

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  • Yes, but he does not know the password. Is it still possible and how ? – user2917687 Nov 18 '13 at 14:15
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    @user2917687 He doesn't need the password to manipulate the files on your mobile. He can simply connect it to a computer. Remember, without encryption, physical access usually means total compromise. – Adi Nov 18 '13 at 14:21
  • even then he need to unlock the phone before he can see the files in computer – user2917687 Nov 18 '13 at 14:35
  • he can surely take out the sdcard and read it via computer. can he install spyware by copying the apk in sdcard and just inserting it back in my phone ? – user2917687 Nov 18 '13 at 14:36
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    He can use something like Kies to get access, without using the pin. – Polynomial Nov 18 '13 at 14:36
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Are there ways to do this? Yes, but the methods your room-mate will have access to will heavily depend on a few things:

1) Have they had physical access to your phone? If so, there is a technical possibility that they used a tool like ODIN to flash a compromised image to your phone. This needs a lot of Android building mastery however, and even more skills if you aren't using a custom ROM in order to conceal it. Samsung ROMs are a hard nut to crack

2) Do you use custom recovery software? (eg:TWRP) If yes and your phone is unencrypted, this gives them carte-blanche access to your phone.

3) Is your phone rooted and:

3a) did they persuade you to install an APK they gave you?

3b) would they have had a chance to install anything themselves?

If yes to either of those, it's a real possibility.

4) Is your phone's bootloader unlocked? If you don't know what this is, it's probably not unlocked. If it is unlocked, this allows an attacker to install custom recovery software (see #2)

Your roommate would need to be incredibly skilled to pull any of this off, however. Android devices are far more secured than your typical Windows machine of yesteryear or even today. Chances are your roommate has simply guessed your password or is shouldersurfing when you use your phone.

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There are highly sensitive spywares out there that can be bought online, which only require your Bluetooth to upload. Also, there are spyware softwares that can be uploaded by phone calls, texts and email attachments. There are also apps that can figure out passwords in the same manner as a phone-auto-redial. All of these softwares are available online and can be bought with a price. It's not rocket science, it's just every technology that is built, the same builder finds several ways to break in. It's like you building your own house, getting locked out and not knowing how to get in if you lost your key, a builder always prepares. Smartphone's are about the same as computers and face similar spyware problems. Nothing, no technology is 100% secure. Protect yourself for that.

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    I haven't heard about these Bluetooth malware. Can you provide links? – schroeder Mar 24 '15 at 1:27

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