A Pakistani CEO was arrested last Tuesday for allegedly selling and marketing “StealthGenie”, a mobile application that enabled users to tap and monitor into someone else’s phone calls, texts and online browsing — all without the other person’s knowledge, authorities said.
Marketed to concerned parents and people suspicious of a cheating spouse, StealthGenie do have a lot of appeals for stalkers and criminals. In addition to a quite long list of features, users of StealthGenie can also:
monitor and track messages sent and received via WhatsApp and iMessage on the target phone along with the chat details like the names and time & date stamps. Any multimedia content that is shared using these apps would also be accessible.
Highly-rated by customers, now despised by our government…
“The customers love it as they can really monitor their loved ones from every aspect. They asked for it and we delivered.”, Eugene Schmidt, the manager of services at StealthGenie.
Assistant Attorney General Caldwell stated last Monday, ” “Apps like StealthGenie are expressly designed for use by stalkers and domestic abusers who want to know every detail of a victim’s personal life – all without the victim’s knowledge. The Criminal Division is committed to cracking down on those who seek to profit from technology designed and used to commit brazen invasions of individual privacy.”
According to the FBI’s Washington Field Office Assistant Director, Andrew McCabe: “This application allegedly equips potential stalkers and criminals with a means to invade an individual’s confidential communications,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge McCabe. “They do this not by breaking into their homes or offices, but by physically installing spyware on unwitting victim’s phones and illegally tracking an individual’s every move. As technology continues to evolve, the FBI will investigate and bring to justice those who use illegal means to monitor and track individuals without their knowledge.”
31 years old CEO of InvoCode Pvt, Ltd, Hammad Akbar was indicted with conspiracy, sale of a surreptitious interception device, advertisement of a known interception device and advertising a device as a surreptitious interception device.
StealthGenie was hosted at a data center in Ashburn, Virginia. On Sept. 26, 2014, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia issued a temporary restraining order authorizing the FBI to temporarily disable the website hosting StealthGenie.
The indictment alleges that StealthGenie’s capabilities included the following: it recorded all incoming/outgoing voice calls; it intercepted calls on the phone to be monitored while they take place; it allowed the purchaser to call the phone and activate it at any time to monitor all surrounding conversations within a 15-foot radius; and it allowed the purchaser to monitor the user’s incoming and outgoing e-mail messages and SMS messages, incoming voicemail messages, address book, calendar, photographs, and videos. All of these functions were enabled without the knowledge of the user of the phone.
Akbar and his co-conspirators allegedly programmed StealthGenie to synchronize communications intercepted by the app with the customer’s account so that the customer could review intercepted communications almost immediately from any computer with access to the Internet. To install the app, a purchaser needed to obtain physical control over the phone to be monitored for only a few minutes. The purchaser could then review communications intercepted from the monitored phone without ever again having physical control over the phone. Akbar and others alleged designed SteathGenie to be undetectable to users of the phone.
According to allegations in the indictment, the business plan for the development, sale and advertisement of StealthGenie stated that the target population for the marketing of the app was “[s]pousal cheat: Husband/Wife of (sic) boyfriend/girlfriend suspecting their other half of cheating or any other suspicious behaviour or if they just want to monitor them.” Language and testimonials on the StealthGenie website focused significantly on potential purchasers who did not have any ownership interest in the mobile phone to be monitored, including those suspecting a spouse or romantic partner of infidelity. The indictment alleges that Akbar and his co-conspirators fabricated the testimonials.
Source: Department of Justice