Testing and Review of Highster Mobile
As I mentioned previously, I have been interested in the testing and review of Highster Mobile. While researching, I found a reseller’s site that is trying to support HighsterMobile, and actually agrees that their own support is pretty bad. This software also appears buggy by reading all the service reviews: (http://www.phonesspy.com/how-to-install-highster-mobile/)
I just finished reading another page with nothing but bad things to say about highster; especially how it starts out working then after a few weeks, stops completely. All the comments talk about the lack of support, which appears to be across the board for spy apps.
I paid $69.99 for a one-time license fee. Until I install in my kid’s phones (which are not Samsung), I really won’t know if it is worth the money or not. Highster Mobile is also sold under the names “EasySpy” and “GravitySpy” and probably a dozen other names, just like all the spy apps. Since they can’t list on Google Play Store because of the “hidden” and “secret/stealth” installation option.
If the person you are monitoring gets rid of their phone every year, Highster mobile will become more expensive for you as you will need to buy new “lifetime” licenses for each new phone. If they change phones often, a program that lets you delete and re-connect new devices like the truth spy might be a better idea … PROVIDED that the truth spy actually WORKS on your phone.
I installed highster mobile on a Samsung (GT-I9500) aka (S4 ) that was NON ROOTED. That means I knew that many of the “extra” features were not going to work without root.
PROBLEMS WITH AVAST:
The first thing I noticed: Avast security went crazy when it saw Highster mobile. I had to go to avast and tell it to ignore the Highster app. The only problem is Avast logs this action in the activity log which can not be deleted! So the log shows this activity:
Problem Found (1)
6:19PM, March 15
Problem in Device 3.0/data/app/org.secure.smsgps-1.apk
Adroid: Highster-A (PUP)
Problem Found (1)
6:17pm, March 15
Problem in: Device 3.0
Android: Highster-A (PUP)
(PUP) Potentially Unwanted Program
In the pull down status bar (which can’t be removed until after you run a scan):
“Virus Scanner: 2 problems Found”
I ran a scan using avast, and it returned “No Problem Found”. However, directly underneath it shows, “Show Ignored: 1”. When you click on that, it shows you that a “Potentially unwanted program detected – Android-Highster-A [PUP].” After completing the scan, the status bar warning disappeared.
Since the information isn’t removed from the logs, and it shows in the “ignored programs”, you must realize that these programs are not as “stealth” and “undetectable” as they would have you believe.
If I knew where the activity log was stored in Avast, I would find it and delete it. The Web says …
the Activity log you see in the app will always have max 500 lines, so it’s really not that big. We also store the log on the sd card/external memory in a file on path Android/data/com.avast.android.mobilesecurity/files/log/avast-log.txt which you can delete anytime.
On the Samsung however, the locations specified was blank … unless the phone had to be rooted to see this file??? Oops, I misread.
In the APP, a built in file stores up to 500 lines of activity, then offloaded to the sd card. This phone probably doesn’t have 500 lines yet. I checked the internet and there are many questions on the subject, but there is NO way to remove the internal activity logs of Avast Mobile Security.
FIRST THOUGHTS OF HIGHSTER (“What Works”):
Immediately the phone synced with the control panel. I realize this is a “Samsung”, the mother-lode of quality made phones, and the real test will be when I install Highster Mobile into the other off-brand phones that I own, however I was still surprised at how fast and “clean” the app uploaded the control panel.
1. GPS location shown immediately.
2. SMS’ indexed and displayed quickly
3. CALL LOG same.
4. Photos began uploading to the control panel. I went into device settings so I could stop photo and videos from uploading as I don’t want to see this in the control panel. I have GCloudbackup to control the “backup” of photos and videos.
5. CONTACTS same.
6. INSTALLED APPS list – same!
7. BROWSER HISTORY list – same
8. CALENDAR LIST – same
9. OPEN APP list – same
SO WHAT DID NOT WORK?
Anything that required ROOT did not work. That includes the monitor of Skype, whatsapp, line, etc., all things I didn’t care about on this phone.
BUT!! I was very disappointed to see that the SMS COMMANDS to Highster DID NOT WORK! When I sent the “secret” sms command for stealth camera, the samsung phone rang and displayed the message in the messaging application and did not activate the camera. It clearly showed my name and phone number and the “secret” command I had sent to her phone.
Highster wasn’t very smart in the creation of their SMS program. Instead of making the commands 100% gibberish, they include the purpose of the sms in the command (ie: “stealthcamera”, “phonelock”, “phoneunlock”, “gps”). Hey highster — next time try something like #$#8354#$# … so that if it does fail and end up in the recipient’s messaging, they will not have any keywords to identify what it is about, and with gibberish, there is more plausible deny-ability.
TIP: With any program you install, TEST the SMS commands before you return the phone to your target so you know whether they will work or not! And make sure you REBOOT their phone at least once to make sure that all internal “warnings” have been shown.
WORSE YET … After logging out of the control panel and trying to log back in a few minutes later, I continued to receive “Security Error” messages and was not able to get into the control panel.
I clicked on forgot password and had it send my username and password to my email. All the information I was typing in was correct. I tried copy and paste and still could not get access to the control panel. I was starting to worry.
I changed to a different browser and this time was able to get in. Must be an issue with cookies or something.
OTHER THINGS I HAVE NOTICED AND/OR DON’T LIKE:
1. Highster does not show the last date and time that the phone and online control panel synced. I really don’t like not having a sync date. Without it, you can’t tell if the control panel is up to date or not. If Highster stops working, there is no easy way to know without continued checking. Big time thumbs down here.
2. DOESN’T SHOW NAME OF CONNECTED WIFI: It doesn’t show you the name of the wifi that the phone is connected to (only Cerberus does that so far in the apps that I have found). [WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? If you are having problems with getting a location of the target phone, and you could see the name of the wifi they were connected to, you might know where they were based on the wifi name — home, starbucks, best friend’s house, etc.]
3. It does tell you if WIFI and GPS is on, as well as the battery life, and amount of storage available. But it doesn’t tell you the percentage of connection strength even it is listed on the control panel — it always shows “0%”.
[UPDATE: I uninstalled Highster from this phone after the test was done. Days later, Highster control panel is STILL reporting that the phone is still connected to WIFI and has 92% battery. NEITHER of which is true!]
4. After I installed Highster and noticed that it was uploading the photos from the phone, I went to the settings and told it not to upload photos or videos. So far, it has continued to upload these items even with the setting off. (It stopped at 307 photos of her 1000+).
5. In the control panel, on the first (main) page, it shows some of the “latest photos” uploaded to the control panel from the phone. I don’t like this feature. I want to click on the menu to see photos not have them loading each time I return to the main page, taking up bandwidth and reducing loading speed.
So EACH and EVERY time you return to the home panel main page, all of the images shown must reload. This increases the load for the control panel and increases the length of time it takes to load the page.
6. SMS LISTING LOG: Highster doesn’t organize the text messages into “conversations” like the truth spy does. If you and another person exchanged 20 text messages, they would appear individually as 20 messages in Highster. In TheTruthSpy, they would be threaded into one conversation to make it easier to follow the actual conversation, clearly indicating that what one-person said was in response to which text message. So Highster doesn’t do as good a job as TheTruthSpy in this instance. (Of course, thetruthspy hasn’t worked 90% of the time so I guess it is a moot point — and what good is a feature if the program doesn’t work).
So, I’m looking at the Samsung account and at 1:20pm, it was downtown. It is now 2:17pm and the Samsung phone and I are 30km away from downtown … yet the location online hasn’t changed. And I can’t tell it to “get the current location” because there is no button.
History shows that it updated at 1:24; and then not again until 2:14!
The phone was on and where I could see it. It appears to be updating every 10 minutes, except during that time specified.
Also there is no method to adjust the GPS updating time. I don’t need updates every 10 minutes; I would be fine with one per hour; save battery; and not pop up on the notification bar so often. But there are NO settings to change the frequency of updates.
However, compared to thetruthspy, at least highster’s GPS actually WORKS!
8. SMS LOG DOESN’T SHOW CONTACT NAME: In the SMS log, you can see the date, time, and phone number of the sender — but you can’t see the NAME of that sender as it is stored in the contacts file! They actually LINK every page to their own COMPENSATED-AFFILIATE LINK to a online paid phone listing service where you can look up the name! Very poor! The SMS log shows the phone number on the target phone that received the call — I’m worried that with multiple targets in your account, all sms might be mixed in one big list — separated only by the target number! I hope not.
9. The Target Phone is running HOT since I installed Highster. I’m not sure of the source, whether it is because of GPS or it is because of Highster continuing to try and upload photos, but the target phone has been VERY hot, especially after being on the charger all night (as standard practice). Even with the “upload photos” setting turned to off immediately, it shows it uploaded 299 pictures (she has 1200+ on her phone). [Days later, there were no additional complaints about the phone running hot].
So what are you really getting?
Since the phone is not rooted, the only thing I am getting of value:
GPS of phone location
All SMS’s received/sent
The Call Log
The list of contacts.
Until I root this phone, I won’t know if it can be better.