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Hosting Provider Finally Takes Down Spyware Leak of Thousands of Photos and Phone Calls

After Motherboard reported that a consumer spyware vendor left a lot of incredibly sensitive and private data online, the company’s hosting provider took it down.

by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai
Mar 26 2019, 3:32pm

Image: Shutterstock

A company that sells cellphone spyware to consumers left 95,000 images and more than 25,000 audio recordings on a server accessible to anyone on the internet for weeks. The sensitive data was so easy to access, that Motherboard couldn't even name the spyware company in its report without risking more people finding and abusing that data.

But now, after Motherboard reported the breach, the company that was hosting the database took the whole spyware company's site down.

“Codero has taken action on this matter and the mentioned URL should no longer be accessible,” Jason Ackley, the vice president of operations and network engineering at Codero, told Motherboard.

Earlier this year, security researcher and student Cian Heasley found the server, which belonged to Mobiispy, one of many companies that sell spyware to parents and employers to monitor their children and employees. In many cases, these type of spyware apps are used by abusive partners, as several Motherboard articles reported over the last couple of years.

Mobiispy Website
A screenshot of an archived version of Mobiispy’s official website. (Image: Motherboard)

For weeks, Motherboard tried to reach John Nguyen, the owner of Mobiispy.com. But he did not respond to multiple emails to a Gmail address that was used to register the domain, as well as the official Mobiispy contact address.

In the process of reporting the original story, we reached out to both GoDaddy, Mobiispy’s domain registrar, and Codero, their hosting provider. Neither companies could help, initially.

Got a tip? You can contact this reporter securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at lorenzofb@jabber.ccc.de, or email lorenzo@motherboard.tv

Then, after we published the story, Codero got in touch, and told Motherboard that it was “reaching out to the customer.” Hours later, Ackley said that Codero had “sent communications with a deadline to the customer and will take action if the deadline is exceeded (hours not days).”

Finally, a few hours later, Ackley followed up to alert us that it took down the content.

As of this writing, Mobiispy’s whole website is gone from the internet.

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