Help! Someone accessing phone info...

HelpingHand

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Hey there, everyone! I'm new to the forums, so thanks for taking the time to look this over! I'm in need of some help and advice!

My boyfriend's little brother has a Galaxy S3, and his ex and her family are somehow accessing the information on it. A synopsis would reveal that this family is highly unstable and rather fond of tracking and spying on each other and the people they're in relationships with. So, they've been broken up for a few weeks, and he's started texting and calling a new girl. This has happened before with his ex, so he has been very secretive with the new girl's information. He hasn't even told his family her last name, where she works/lives, or much else in hopes of keeping her from the drama, because we suspected a long-time friend was acting as a sort of double agent with the ex.

Out of nowhere, this new girl has started getting texts, calls, and messages on Facebook from this girl and her crazy arse mother. He hasn't friended her on FB or even sent a message to her because he worried the ex would track her, as she's done so many others before. This time, the ex made reference to conversations the two have had, both via text and calls. This is information only those two would have, unless there is some sort of spying taking place.

I've done quite a bit of research trying to figure out how to clean his phone of any possible spyware and limit any further and future access. Some of the information has suggested that a Factory Reset will eliminate all traces of spyware and render them useless, should they exist, but I've also found information that suggests that several of the newer, more advanced spyware programs remain intact and functional even after a reset has been performed. Do any of you know which information in this regard is accurate? Are there specific files that should be searched for? I have found several may appear as cleverly disguised widgets and system files in an attempt to hide them. Are there specific ones we should be searching for?

Also, I have read that the Kies Air application that is preinstalled on all S3 models can be used maliciously to act as a remote spyware program if not disabled. Is this information accurate? If so, does the phone need to remain connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the tablet/PC attempting to sync with it at all times, or simply for the initial setup? Also, will disabling the application within the Android system eliminate the ability to access the phone through the application?

One final question, in reading I've discovered information about people cloning a phone onto another device as a means of spying. How easily is this done with new smart-phone technology? Is there any way to detect if this has been done to his phone? Would his carrier be able to detect it in anyway (he's using Sprint)? And, how do you get rid of cloning? Is the only recourse to request a new phone system and SIM card?

Ooops, another question... We're in West Virginia, and I know laws vary but is there something that can be done from a legal standpoint to put a stop to the harassment and stalking taking place?

Any help and insight that you can offer would be most gratefully appreciated! This family is seriously disturbing! There are even fake FB profiles contacting everyone he's ever worked with, dated, or talked to!! We're going to be reporting those tonight.

So, thanks for your help and for looking over this thread! :)
 
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T Android

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Welcome to Android Central!!! A factory reset should fix all problems and I also recommend you download an anti-virus on the phone, such as Avg. You can only access the phone via Kies Air if you have the 4 digit code the phone provides you and this code is different for you every time you use Kies Air. Cloning? That is kind of going too far. Unless they are some some very advanced hacker, I don't think so. I can't give any advice on the legal matter since I don't want to get involved.
 

Carbon_Droid

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Welcome to the forums! A factory reset should solve the issue, and it would be better if passwords were changed on the accounts just for added protection. If the problem still persists, flashing the stock image and wiping all data should clear the phone of any spyware installed. Good luck! And yes, the law should be on your side. This is an invasion of privacy, and contacting your police department should help you to put a stop to this family. Oh, you might want to disable kies and no the phone is probably not cloned because that is very difficult to do thanks to security programs and devices in place.

Sent from a custom Galaxy s3
 

HelpingHand

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Welcome to the forums! A factory reset should solve the issue, and it would be better if passwords were changed on the accounts just for added protection. If the problem still persists, flashing the stock image and wiping all data should clear the phone of any spyware installed. Good luck! And yes, the law should be on your side. This is an invasion of privacy, and contacting your police department should help you to put a stop to this family. Oh, you might want to disable kies and no the phone is probably not cloned because that is very difficult to do thanks to security programs and devices in place.

Sent from a custom Galaxy s3

Thank you both for your replies!

Carbon, you mentioned possibly needing to flash the stock image and wiping all of the data. Can you explain how to do that? If you have a link to an article or post that does so, that would be great too. I will be sure to have him disable Kies. As for added security, is there a particular app you would recommend? I did a bit of research and found Lookout, which appeared to be a good one.

Thanks again! :)
 

Carbon_Droid

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I personally like Cerberus, but it's an anti theft program. I like lookout as well, it's really good. I would recommend lookout, and if not avg anti-virus. As for flashing the stock image, all you have to do is download odin and flash the sprint image. I found a guide for you if it does get to this point, but a factory reset should be all you need. http://forums.androidcentral.com/sp...-30-2012-sprint-only-unroot-return-stock.html I know it says unroot, but the process is the same. Just don't do anything like triangle away, that doesn't apply. good luck!

Sent from a Galaxy s3
 

Golfdriver97

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Thank you both for your replies!

Carbon, you mentioned possibly needing to flash the stock image and wiping all of the data. Can you explain how to do that? If you have a link to an article or post that does so, that would be great too. I will be sure to have him disable Kies. As for added security, is there a particular app you would recommend? I did a bit of research and found Lookout, which appeared to be a good one.

Thanks again! :)

Cloning can be done by obtaining the MEID. I don't know how to clone, but I know that code is needed. It can be obtianed by taking the phone for a few seconds and going into settings. You can get an app called App Lock and lock the settings screen and hide or destroy the phone box. Downside is MEID is also under the battery. But, yes, try a factory reset, put passwords on your phone (not simple ones, and avoid family members names) and install an anti virus with spyware. You may have to pay the developer for the anti spy, but in your case it would be well worth it.
 

Craig Rogers

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Just so everyone knows, I'm Carbon_Droid. The moderators deleted my new account, so I'm stuck with this one. Any update on the phone? Have you solved the spying issue?

Sent from a Galaxy s3
 

HelpingHand

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So far, his little brother is basically shrugging the whole thing off. The only time he gets mad is when a new girl he's talking to starts getting messages from text apps and the fake FB accounts. Then, he simmers for a day and goes back to cheerful apathy regarding the whole thing. He won't listen to anyone that says the whole situation is unsafe. He's convinced himself that it isn't his ex, as "she's too good of a person to do something like that..." even though he got a message from her where she made a little quip using the newest girl's name. *shakes head* I don't get him at all. Apparently, he likes being stalked and tracked. Oddly, I think he enjoys the 'attention' and being the center of someone's world.

Anyway, I really, really appreciate all the information and advice you've all shared. This whole experience has given me a new perspective on mobile security, and my boyfriend and I have, at least, taken the advice and put it to good use. So, thanks so much again! I really think this is an awesome community of helpful techies! :D
 

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