What is an SMS?
SMS is an acronym for Short Messaging Service and is a service used by millions around the world daily to communicate to colleagues, friends, and family. Called iMessage on the Apple iOS platform it offers emoji’s as a way of further personalizing communications and it utilizes an individuals cellular services (not data) in comparison to products like WhatsApp and Facetime. This text messaging service has been available from the earliest days of cell/mobile usage and it is a very robust and easy to use means of communication.
What is SMS Tracking?
SMS tracking uses tools and software installed directly on the device to monitor, track and report on these SMS messages. This information is provided directly via a web browser and the software can be installed on both Apple iOS and Android smartphones.
Why would I be interested in Tracking SMS messages?
From a business perspective, it is actually quite important to know what your employees are doing with your company supplied equipment. Most employees sign a document when joining a firm that states they need to comply with specific policies and procedures. There are many tools at the computer server and PC level to check compliance, not as many exist on cellular devices, which are now one of, if not the most common, devices utilized globally.
In addition to business reasons, there is also a requirement to know what your family members are doing, specifically your children, as unfortunately, predators are significantly more common in today’s society and access to vulnerable youth is easier than ever.
What if they don’t use SMS?
Actually, while SMS Tracking is the often used title, in most cases this software when installed also allows access to other commonly used apps on the device. In addition, it gives access to the photo/video storage and can be utilized to track the GPS history of the device.
Can it be used without my knowing?
Actually yes it can. There were several devices recently banned on Amazon as they were discovered to have SMS tracking software installed. Normally these are the budget Android devices vs. the name brand units & the software installed, sends the information obtained back to China.
Similarly and perhaps even more worryingly, approximately 20 apps have been removed from the Google Play store after they were discovered to have SMS Tracker Android installed. These apps monitored text messages, as well as photos and even had the ability to monitor voice calls. While only a few people were impacted, it is quite concerning and care must be taken.
I have an iPhone so I’m safe right?
While tracking software on the device level is next to impossible on new iPhones (unless directly installed by Apple themselves which is very unlikely!), resold devices could have the software installed and it can definitely be installed at a corporate level.
From an app perspective, Apple does take significantly more care vetting its apps than Google does, however, there is still a risk that an app could have a previously undiscovered ability to track SMS and other phone functions.
What can I do?
The best way to protect yourself is to ensure that you do not clutter your device up with too many apps that you do not use. This is good advice regardless as it will ensure your device works faster but as long as you focus on installing apps with lots of good reviews and do not install from outside the Play store, you should be OK.