Is Highster Mobile A Scam?

Executive summary

This Highster Mobile review is long and detailed, so here’s the summary for those readers who don’t want to spend too much time reading technical analysis:

Highster Mobile is a low quality, partially functional software with almost no support and no real refund policy. Basic features of Highster Mobile, like SMS messages and GPS locations capturing do work. The more advanced features, like capturing emails and IM chats don’t work as advertised. If you’re lucky and Highster Mobile is compatible with your phone, you will be able to use some basic capabilities. With less luck, you will not receive any help from their support, and your refund requests will be ignored.

highster mobile customer reviews

highster mobile in a nutshell (clickable)

Read on to get a very detailed technical analysis or head to our recommended full-featured phone spy software.

Highster Mobile Full Review

For the latest edition of Scam Report we decided to take a look at a piece of software that many people initially write off as a scam but is in fact working software – Highster Mobile. We found that Highster Mobile provided a competent enough product with only a few issues which are described during the rest of the report.

Ironically the only reason we came to hear about Highster Mobile and decide to test it was because a popular scam video for monitoring smartphones was discovered via a Tweet mentioning FlexiSPY and the Tweet led back to Highster Mobile. Again, this is discussed later on in the article.

This report will be split in to the following sections:

Investigating the software claims

Seeing if what they advertise on their website is really what the software can do.

Investigating the software website

Looking at the website and seeing if there are any discrepancies in terms of accuracy of information or if this is one of several sites as part of a scam ring.

Investigating the company

Seeing if this company is well-known for producing many scams of this nature.

Investigating the software you receive after purchase

Looking in to whether or not the scam software actually works and, if it does, if it delivers on any of the features or claims outlined in the first section of this report.

Investigating where the scam originated from

Collating all our evidence and cross-referencing it with any other scam software information we have to find the true provider of this scam.

Protecting yourself from scams like this

Explaining how you can use real software such as FlexiSPY if you wish to monitor a device instead of and saving money on your FlexiSPY purchase in the process.

Investigating the software claims

On the website Highster Mobile claims to offer features that the main competitors also offer.

These features, and whether they worked or not during our testing are given below:

Highster Mobile Features Test

Feature Did it Work? Notes
SMS message capturing
Call log capturing
Calendar capturing
Installed apps capturing
Open apps capturing
Email capturing
Nothing captured using Gmail on a rooted device
Contacts capturing
Browser history capturing
GPS logs capturing
GPS tracking capturing
Twitter capturing (5.0.8)
Nothing captured
Whatsapp capturing (2.11.505)
Captured first two lines of text only from both sides and then nothing else.  Sometimes chat data fails to open.
Skype capturing (5.1.0.58677)
Emoticons are not captured (both sides)
Facebook capturing (19.0.0.19.42)
Nothing captured
Instagram capturing (6.13.3)
Turned off by default
Viber capturing (5.2.1)
Shared videos not captured (both sides)Shared location not captured (both sides)Doodles not captured (both sides)Stickers not captured (both sides)Audio files not captured (both sides)
BBM capturing (2.6.0.30)
Turned off by default; Nothing captured
LINE capturing (4.9.1)
Nothing was captured
WeChat capturing (6.0.2)
Nothing was captured
Image capturing
Video capturing
Only 1 of 3 recorded videos was captured and it is the oldest taken
Remote camera
Uses SMS command; Turned off by default
Call recording
Turned off by default, calls made were never recorded or uploaded
Listen to surroundings
Went through as a normal call

Additional features could also be done by sending an SMS message to the TARGET device and the results of testing them are below.

SMS command Result Notes
Stealth Camera Passed Command is visible and case sensitive
Uninstall Passed Command is visible and case sensitive
Remove Installation traceability (hide icon) N/A Command is visible and case sensitive. Icon was already hidden so SMS command had no effect
Lock TARGET device Passed Command is visible and case sensitive; causes device to display black screen only
Unlock TARGET device Passed Command is visible and case sensitive
GPS on demand Failed Command is visible and case sensitive. No response came back.

Investigating the software website

The website for Highster Mobile makes the software look very attractive. It uses friendly language and the price point means that it is attractive when compared against competitors but looks can be deceiving. First of all they do not offer any real support. Most smartphone monitoring companies offer live chat so that you can talk to a real person but Highster Mobile does not and when you click the Support link on the website, it is a knowledgebase which is rather outdated with articles that are not always relevant to the product.

When we had to contact support for issues with call recording and the ability to listen to the device surroundings we had to submit a ticket to them, however this was replied to within 24 hours. Because the Highster Mobile website looks so familiar in terms of graphics and layout we decided to see if any other smartphone monitoring software was being advertised using the same website template and the results were not surprising.

Another product, called Easy Spy, was actually being marketed in the same manner as Highster Mobile. When we looked in to this in more detail, given below, it turns out that Highster Mobile is actually a copy of Easy Mobile, not the other way around as we first thought but the software packages and features are still the same across both products.

Only the names and website design had changed.

 Investigating the software you receive after purchase

After you purchase Highster Mobile all details to get started are emailed to you.

For the sake of testing this software we are testing it on an Android device which is a HTC Desire 816, running OS 4.4.2 and the device has been rooted.

Installation is done by following the Highster Mobile instructions for the version which you have purchased.

The Highster Mobile instructions cover both tablets and phones.

The Highster Mobile instructions cover both tablets and phones.

The manual is split in to two sections: one for smartphones and one for tablets.

Installation is a simple matter of going to a website listed in the manual and downloading the APK installation file on to the device and installing it.

What is immediately obvious is that the software has quite a few requirements which must be met before the installation can take place.

These are:

  1. Enabling the installation of Unknown Sources on the device being monitored.
  2. Disabling the ‘Verify Apps’ option so that Google does not keep scanning the installed program and recommend removal.
  3. Making sure Location Services is turned on for the device being monitored so that GPS location data can be tracked.

Whilst numbers 1 and 3 are standard for smartphone monitoring software number 2 was interesting. For the purpose of this installation we made sure that the Verify Apps option was checked to see how and if it interfered with Highster once installed on to the device.

During our testing having this option enabled or not had no bearing on the performance of Highster Mobile installed on the device and Highster Mobile was not detected as a threat using Lookout Antivirus both before installation and after activation.

During installation the software, titled Device, installs itself as a system administrator to try to make removal of the software that much harder.

 

Highster Mobile installs itself as a Device Administrator to try to stop removal.

Highster Mobile installs itself as a Device Administrator to try to stop removal.

 

With the software installed on the device it has to be activated by entering both the Highster Mobile license code and the phone number of the device the software has just been installed on to.

 

Highster Mobile requires both the phone number and license code for activation.

Highster Mobile requires both the phone number and license code for activation.

 

After registration has been successful the software immediately tries to get root permissions from the device using SuperSU.

 

Highster Mobile checks for root access immediately after activation.

Highster Mobile checks for root access immediately after activation.

 

Once the device has been granted root access the icon is hidden on the device.

Notifications regularly appear when Device has been granted access via SuperSU.

 

Notifications from SuperSU regularly alerts that Highster is trying to get root access.

Notifications from SuperSU regularly alerts that Highster Mobile is trying to get root access.

 

Furthermore the SuperSU application on a rooted device cannot be hidden and inside SuperSU Highster Mobile (‘Device’) is clearly listed.

 

Highster is easy to find inside SuperSU.

Highster Mobile is easy to find inside SuperSU.

 

There is no documentation telling how to disable showing SuperSU notifications (the way FlexiSPY instructs customers during installation).

Everything else takes place inside the online portal.

 

This is the Highster Mobile online portal.

This is the Highster Mobile online portal.

 

Upon immediately logging in to the account data had already been uploaded as you can see from the screenshot below.

 

Highster Mobile featured a clean looking dashboard which seemed to remind us of FlexiSPY.

Highster Mobile featured a clean looking dashboard which seemed to remind us of FlexiSPY.

 

The software is legitimate and it works, to a certain degree but Highster Mobile aren’t being entirely honest when it comes to whether or not call recording and the ability to listen to the surroundings of the TARGET device, a listed feature inside the control panel and listed on the website, actually is included or not.

Because of that many customers will think that both of these features do not work. You only have to do a quick Google search to confirm this.

 

Our findings matched what customers had found when using Highster Mobile.

Our findings matched what customers had found when using Highster Mobile.

 

And whilst both of these features are not instantly shown in the list of features available on the Highster Mobile website if you dig a little deeper you will see that they still list them.

 

Highster Mobile still advertise missing features on their website.

Highster Mobile still advertise missing features on their website.

 

However, and this may be due to the incidents with StealthGenie, once we contacted the Highster Mobile support team asking how to set up both call recording and the ability to listen to the device surroundings we received an interesting response back.

 

Highster Mobile confirmed our findings that the features were not actually included.

Highster Mobile confirmed our findings that the features were not actually included.

 

So whilst the software works, to some degree, the fact that Highster Mobile are not open and honest with their customers in terms of what their software can and cannot do is not a good thing.

Investigating where the scam originated from

Highster Mobile is not a scam as you get software after payment and the software works, it just does so to a limited capacity in certain areas (e.g. IM capturing). For this section we will focus our research on whether or not Highster Mobile is another company with a different name and different website selling the same identical product.

We assume though, we cannot confirm that the original name of Highster Mobile was actually Gravity Mobile Spy based on the helpdesk URL shown in the ticket above.

If we do some more research it seems that the URL http://www.gravitymobilespy.com redirects to Highster Mobile.

The Whois results are as follows:

 

The Whois result for Gravity Mobile Spy was interesting.

The Whois result for Gravity Mobile Spy was interesting.

 

For Highster Mobile it looks like this:

 

The Highster Mobile Whois result.

The Highster Mobile Whois result.

 

Whilst this does not tell us much it seems that Highster Mobile could have operated under the name Gravity Mobile Spy (because of the site redirect) but we know that Highster Mobile is also known as Easy Spy (http://www.ilfmobileapps.com/) because ILF Mobile Apps are the creators of Highster Mobile and their details are given on the login page for the Highster Mobile online panel.

Here is the Highster Mobile site:

 

The Highster website which turns out to look like Easy Spy

The Highster website which turns out to look like Easy Spy

 

Here is Easy Spy:

 

The Easy Spy site is the original design for the Highster Mobile site.

The Easy Spy site is the original design for the Highster Mobile site.

 

The general page design and layout is the same as Highster Mobile as well as the language used (e.g. How it Works).

The price of both products are the same, $69.99.

If we look at the dedicated device pages we can see even more similarities.

 

The Highster Mobile Android features page.

The Highster Mobile Android features page.

The EasySpy Android feature page which Highster Mobile is based on.

The Easy Spy Android feature page which Highster Mobile is based on.

 

The sites are pretty much identical but the final proof that Highster Mobile and Easy Mobile are the same is the software itself.

This is from the Android installation manual for Easy Spy.

 

The Easy Spy manual is what Highster Mobile is based on.

The Easy Spy manual is what Highster Mobile is based on.

 

And this is from Highster Mobile and their Android manual.

 

The Highster Mobile uses the same design template as Easy Spy.

The Highster Mobile uses the same design template as Easy Spy.

 

The URL is pretty much the same but the software is the same which means that these are two identical products being sold under two separate names.

Investigating where the scam originated from

At the beginning of the article we mentioned how Highster Mobile came to our attention via a Tweet mentioning FlexiSPY. You cans see the tweet below.

 

Highster Mobile used Twitter to discredit their rivals.

Highster Mobile used Twitter to discredit their rivals.

 

If you click the link you are taken to the main website which is responsible for the Tweet, Mobile361 (http://www.mobile361.com/2014/04/flexispy-cellphone-spy-software-buy-now-for-35-00-us-this-is-an-instant-download/), and, for all intents and purposes, this looks like a standard mobile application download site.

 

The website that Highster Mobile used showed a popular scam video.

The website that Highster Mobile used showed a popular scam video.

 

However you can immediately tell something is not right because the link to download FlexiSPY at a heavily discounted price of $35 points to a YouTube video whose account has been terminated by YouTube.

 

The video that Highster used was taken down by YouTube.

The video that Highster used was taken down by YouTube.

 

You then really have to look at the small text to find the URL that leads you to Highster and this is http://www.CellSpyExposed.com. Once you click that it takes you immediately to the Highster Mobile website.

This means that customers are trying to get a discount on FlexiSPY but are instead being led to Highster Mobile.

There are several variations of the Tweet shown above but the idea is still the same. Use the FlexiSPY name and brand to convince people to get a discount and lead them to a competing product.

 

Highster Mobile uses different formatted Tweets to project the same message.

Highster Mobile uses different formatted Tweets to project the same message.

 

Using the Tweet above as an example we are once more led to a download page on Mobile361. This time however the YouTube video that they linked to was working.

Again the same scam spy phone video was used to discredit competitors.

Again the same scam spy phone video was used to discredit competitors.

The YouTube video title lists both FlexiSPY and Mobile Spy as being scams.

The video itself is nothing more than a sensationalist news article which offers no real facts of spy phone software being used. This is a popular scam technique we uncovered whilst investigating E-Stealth. The video is designed to shock people in to believing that spy phone software can either be a) remotely installed without needing the other person’s phone physically b) allows you to remotely spy on any phone in the world, c) works on all mobile phones and smartphones, d) allows you to spy on someone else’s phone knowing just their phone number or e) allow you to spy on any mobile phone remotely using Bluetooth.

The video that is used here shows no actual footage of any of the reputable spy phone software out there such as FlexiSPY, it shows people using phones that are basic phones which could never be spied on because spy phone software only works on the latest smartphones and it uses terms such as ‘hacker’ and also shows ‘features’ which cannot be done such as spying on voice mail for example.

All of these techniques are popular with spy phone scams.

Investigating the company

Scam companies use a combination of the five points listed when advertising the product on their website to attract potential customers who may not understand how spy phone software really works and are easily persuaded by fake promises and features.

Highster Mobile was different because they provided real working software that actually did capture information, in parts, they just decided to discredit their competitors by offering fake discounts and fake information on how the competing software worked in order to make sales for their own product.

As you can see in the picture of the video we posted above there is a new website – http://www.amazingcellspy.com. Both that and http://www.cellspyexposed.com, which is found in the YouTube video description, lead directly to the Highster Mobile website.

 

All links in our investigation led to the Highster Mobile purchase page.

All links in our investigation led to the Highster Mobile purchase page.

 

On this page you can purchase Highster Mobile for $69.99, not FlexiSPY for $35 and it has nothing to do with either FlexiSPY or Mobile Spy.  As a last task we decide to see if we could find more about ILF Mobile Apps in terms of where the company was located and who worked there.

All we had to do was search for the name of the company behind Highster Mobile and Easy Spy using LinkedIn to find a software developer, Patrick Hinchy, who works for ILF Mobile Apps Corp. who created both these packages.

Our research confirmed that the main company we investigated created both Highster Mobile and Easy Spy.

Our research confirmed that the main company we investigated created both Highster Mobile and Easy Spy.

We could then find out all the details of ILF Mobile Apps which matched the details shown inside both the Highster Mobile control panel (the log in page) and the ILF Mobile Apps website itself for Easy Spy confirming that these two different products are actually the same.

Protecting yourself from scams like this

We have covered many different types of spyphone scams on Spy Phone Review which you can read about here.

Highster Mobile provides working smartphone monitoring software. They are just not honest to their customers about what features their customers get for their money. These features in particular could be considered the most important for a lot of customers when it comes to choosing the right smartphone monitoring software to buy for their needs.

So far both Mspy and Mobile Spy have all dropped features such as call recording, ambient recording and the ability to listen to the device surroundings. Or they have decided to make their software completely visible and now Highster Mobile is another smartphone monitoring product to change their software after what happened to StealthGenie.

This means that the only smartphone monitoring software to offer features such as call recording, ambient recording, and call intercept and the ability to listen to the surroundings of the device is FlexiSPY.

Spy Phone Review wants to help and wants to hear from anyone who has used or is currently using Highster Mobile and wants to know of their experiences in using the product. If you have purchased the software in this article or fallen for any website that advertises its spyphone software in the same manner then get in touch with us today.

We want to buy back your license from these scam vendors and you can then purchase a FlexiSPY license at a discounted rate.

Spy Phone Review is here to help!

Simply head over to FlexiSPY’s buy back page to get started or you can purchase FlexiSPY from here.

Author: Marc Harris

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  • Jlevaugh

    I am in the process of dealing with this company. Single mom trying to make sure that my 12 year old daughter has a little extra protection. What a mistake! I spent the first two days on the phone with Apple making sure that the cloud was updating as it was supposed to be so this stupid program would work. I then asked Highster tech support to help walk me through installation so that all would be good. I just kept getting an email (as they have no live support) with the original instructions. By day three I had had it and asked for my money back. I got an email stating that my refund would be back in my account within 3-5 days. On the 5th day I contacted them again and was told that I wasn’t eligible for a refund because the program was working perfectly. Yeah perfectly monitoring my phone instead of my daughters. They are not going to honor the money back guarentee. Surprise surprise. I wish there were a better way to get all this information out there so that others like me can’t be hurt in this. Sad thing is that I researched them. I didn’t find all the bad reviews until after purchase. Scam Scam Scam!!!!

    • Hello.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Unfortunately we had the near enough same experience writing this review. We are currently now investigating Webwatcher to add to this series of articles as well.

      It seems that both Mspy and Highster, which seem to get the most press, are the ones that treat their customers the worst. They have no right to not refund you either so you may want to contact your bank to chargeback instead.

      Having no live Support for technical issues is also not good and whilst other programs also don’t have live technical support, such as FlexiSPY, at least FlexiSPY reply to you almost immediately and will always refund an unhappy customer.

      Sometimes, treating customers correctly is more important than any software feature or update.

      We really hope you get a good result so that you can monitor your daughters efficiently and keep them safe. You may wish to see if FlexiSPY perform any better.

      Thanks again.

      Spy Phone Review.

  • Angela Avila

    I found this app on a TOP 5 article. After over 2 weeks, I’ve had to reinstall 3+ times. I paid for the premium support…their best package at $120+. I called virtually every day to get support. A Filipino lady answers, takes your invoice number, name, contact number. (condescending, rude, unprofessional…pretends to have not been who you’ve been speaking to every day for a week BIANCA! ,,probably hates her job) ….Jacqueline calls you back 30 mins to 6hrs later to never….and her version of troubleshooting is instructing you to watch youtube vids on how to factory reset your phone LOL. Same person will call you back even if you request a supervisor. Only text and calls worked…but for 2 days. GPS and other features did not work. This is the biggest waste of time, effort, sanity, and money. SCAM! You do not get what you pay for….they are relevant enough to sell a product….like buying a lemon car. I almost thing the refund isn’t even worth dealing/ micro-managing/ unconstructively communicating with this joke of a company.

    • Hello Angela.

      Thanks very much for your honest assessment of Highster Mobile. Hopefully many other customers will heed your words before trying this software and falling for all the clever marketing.

      Spy Phone Review.

  • Scott

    I fell for the Highster scam. I thought I had found some legit reviews of it and therefore decided to give it a try.
    It really doesn’t work as advertised at all. It does record SMS, sometimes. The GPS didn’t work AT ALL. When I emailed their “Tech support” they said I needed to install the latest version, which came as the same install package as the original (I reinstalled, just giving them the benefit of doubt, and wasn’t surprised to see it’s the same thing). All of the commands are SMS based, which is horrible. They do work, except for the GPS command, but the user gets to then see the messages and they can be sent from ANY device. Hell, you could probably send the messages to yourself. I’ve installed this product on a LG L90 D415 which is rooted. Another fun thing to note is that the facebook messenger was being logged, but every single conversation and every comment therein was marked as December 31, 1960. There were no markings of who made which comment in each conversation thread, and the conversation was all out of order as well. The other red flag for this product for me was that the last “news” on it was in October 2013. I wish I’d of seen that before handing over my CC #. I also found the uninstall instructions, and all of the other “knowledge base” instructions to be insulting. They literally told you how to just basically operate your phone. If you follow their uninstall procedure, you’d NEVER be able to uninstall the product. Thankfully, I have a decent amount of knowledge about the android ecosystem and was able to get it uninstalled properly.

    • Hello Scott.

      Thank you so much for your valuable comment. We are sorry that you were a victim of Highster Mobile. You may be interested to know you can trade in your Highster Mobile license against a discounted 1 year subscription of FlexiSPY Premium or Extreme.

      Please see the link below to get started:

      http://blog.flexispy.com/flexispy-buy-back-program-2/

      Spy Phone Review.

  • Leonard Brown

    If you want to find out if somebody is
    cheating on you or not – Welcome to SpyToMobile. I have been using this software for
    more than a year. It is a great app) I can intercept WhatsApp, Viber,
    SMS, Calls, Phone Book etc. This app is cheaper than others.