Apps can secretly record

2 min
Tags: espionage Apps programs operating systems video conference record screen content

Apps can secretly record

It is becoming increasingly difficult to protect against espionage by apps and programs. Entire operating systems are affected. Recent experiments have shown this. These findings are making waves, especially in times of increased home office use. The security risk is increasing more and more.

Shift in communication

In the working world, communication has changed a lot during the Corona pandemic. In the morning, the day begins with a video conference, and continues in the afternoon with various online meetings and video calls. The camera is almost always active. For employees and employers, this has become the norm. Nevertheless, working in a home office also entails many risks when it comes to the security of one's own data.

This is what the latest research has shown. Conversations and videos are very often recorded via the microphone and camera. The user knows nothing about this. Meanwhile, there are more and more apps that are geared accordingly. The screen contents can either be photographed or recorded. The risk of a very extensive espionage attack is then correspondingly high. Videos, pictures and documents are collected in the background and personal data is accessed. In principle, everything that happens on the computer or smartphone was accessed.

Known security gaps

The almost endless security vulnerabilities have been known for years. In IT security circles, this topic is therefore not new. In the past, there was always talk of solutions when such malicious software products or espionage attacks were on the market. However, Apple and Microsoft hardly kept up with the improvements regarding the operating system.

Thus, it is no secret that these operating systems from the well-known major manufacturers enable extensive spying capabilities. The typical spies cavort on platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Thus, a part of one's own screen is also recorded. However, the user now has to ask when the operating system actually protects the privacy or not. A few tests have been completed in this regard.

Multiple accesses possible at once

If you think that only one app can access the camera, you are mistaken. It is no problem for multiple apps to access one and the same camera at the same time. Whether the user allows this or not is irrelevant. In fact, the user's consent is not always required at all. Sometimes a signal light is displayed when the camera is used, and other times it is not. This way, these security defaults can be bypassed quite easily. Often, the camera is running anyway, so the respective apps automatically get access.

Ways to act

A double or even multiple camera access is thus not impossible. Both Windows and MacOS are affected by this screen recording situation.

That is why the major operating system manufacturers are being called upon to do more for online security. However, as long as there is an Internet connection, there is never really total security. If you want to protect yourself as a user, make an effort to close programs. On Windows, this works with the Task Manager, for example. On MacOS, the activity display should be taken into account. It is therefore important to only use known sources in order to maintain reliability. If you install random apps, you automatically run the risk of being spied on.

A secure alternative

Teleguard, the secure messenger with which it is possible to video conference up to four participants for free. Soon it will be extended to 10 participants.