Beware: Your Apps may spy on you


You are not even aware of what’s the behaviours of your apps that are installed on your smartphone. Apps may be accessing secretly your smartphone’s microphone and camera to spy on you or collect data.

Just remind, when you are installing some apps, there was popup message that asking the permission to access into your microphone, camera, photos, location tracking and personal files. Most of us just allow them to access without even browsing at all what exactly was that for. Simple example many of us very familiar with the Zoom app. When Zoom app being used, popped up a message and requesting permission to use your device’s microphone or camera. In this case, you have to grant permission to use the microphone and camera in order to use the audio and video conference facility. I am not pointing Zoom at this article just gave you an example to touch your memory. There are some apps, don’t bother to ask your consent to access at all. The app will start to spy on you by using the camera and microphone automatically.

Over 250 apps across Google Play and App Store were listed in for background audio through phone microphone. This figure was identified back in 2018. The main task of these apps was to monitor what user watch and/or listen  in the background and figure out better target advertisement by analysing the data. This would-be long-term privacy issue.

What can you do to protect you?

The good news is you can take a few simple precautions to maintain your privacy and monitor those apps.

Identify the Apps that already have permission to use device’s camera and microphone.

This is a pretty simple task. You can view all apps that access our microphone within the permission manager tab.

Access into permission manger :

Android

Setting --> Apps --> Click more setting to view Permission Manger
Within permission mange, you can select permitted apps for different featured of the smartphone such as Microphone, Camera, Calendar, Contacts, Locations,..

IOS

Setting --> Privacy --> Microphone or Camera



Once you browse it you would surprise how many apps are access the device microphone.
Carefully go through the Apps. Many of the are not malicious apps. Some apps natively need permission to access your device. If you need further details, go through the privacy policy and teams of services section of the app.

Use an app that can monitor the usage of microphone and camera.

For android, uses can use Access Dots app to monitor the usage of the camera and microphone. Latest IOS updates address this concern and it includes a new feature called recording indicator to monitor it. 

Above feature and app will indicate you when any of the installed apps are using device camera or microphone. And also provide a report which app used camera and microphone in recently. This feature and app is active even the phone is the lock.

Use gadgets to protect camera and microphone

If you concern further protection you can use some special design hardware gadget to block the camera and microphone. There are sliding camera covers available to use. You need to slide the cover or open camera lens space when it requires to use it. As for the microphone, you can have special blocker jack to block the port.

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