Is your BlackBerry spying on you?

Friday - 5/21/2010, 8:30am EDT

Cybersecurity Update - Tune in weekdays at 30 minutes past the hour for the latest cybersecurity news on The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris (6-10 a.m.) and The DorobekInsider with Chris Dorobek (3-7 p.m.). Listen live at FederalNewsRadio.com or on the radio at 1500 and 820 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

  • You may consider your cell phone or smart phone a life-saver, bringing instant communication at your fingertips. But your cell phone can also be used to spy on you, without you even realizing it. Spyware can get onto your phone through an email or text message with a trojan horse, or through a computer connected to your phone when you're not looking. CBS 11 in Dallas reports the spyware can then turn on your cell phone's microphone and allow someone to listen in to your conversations with someone else in a room -- even when you're not on your phone. Experts say up to six million of the estimated 200 million cell phones in the U.S. could be infected. Research in Motion, maker of the smartphone used by most federal employees, says its phones are designed with a number of application controls to make it more difficult for spyware to be placed on its phones... Difficult, but not impossible.

  • The federal cybersecurity landscape could be changing in big ways. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has approved a bill to revamp laws aimed at protecting government systems. The Federal Information Security Amendments Act would lock in a permanent federal cybersecurity coordinator and chief technology officer. It would also require agencies to monitor their networks in real-time, and eliminate the need for managers to file periodic paperwork that certifies compliance with an existing information security law -- FISMA. The bill now goes to the full House floor.

Check out all of Federal News Radio's coverage of cybersecurity issues here.