October 28, 2015 / 1:11 PM / 3 years ago

Prosecutors search homes in European smartphone spying probe

FRANKFURT, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials in almost half a dozen European countries have searched the homes of people suspected of having used software to spy on mobile phone users, Frankfurt prosecutors said on Wednesday.

In Germany, prosecutors searched the homes of 13 people on Tuesday, they said, adding raids had also taken place in Britain, France, Belgium and Switzerland. They did not have further information on the raids in other countries.

The suspects in Germany, aged between 19 and 51, are believed to have bought and used smartphone software DroidJack, which allows surveillance of phones that use Google’s Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system.

The software allows users to, for instance, monitor a smartphone’s data traffic, eavesdrop on phone conversations or hijack a phone’s camera without its owner noticing.

It can also be used to spy on smartphone users as they access online banking systems.

The prosecutors’ office said DroidJack could be used only to commit crimes and was designed to avoid detection even by experienced smartphone users.

It is too early to say how much damage the suspects may have done, a spokesman for the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said.

Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Georgina Prodhan

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