If you run the Shazam song identification app an Mac, the mic will never switch off, even when the program reports that it has.
The makers of the app confirm that this is deliberate, a design choice to make Shazam more responsive, without any delay as the OS initializes the mic. They also report that this behavior is present with Ios, Apple's mobile operating system. They say that though the mic is taking in sound when in the off position, that input is discarded without further processing.
The behavior was discovered by Patrick Wardle, whose Oversight tool monitors the status of the mic and camera to detect their covert operation. An Oversight user informed Wardle that Oversight was being triggered when Shazam was running, and Wardle published an investigation into the program's ability to override the operating system.
“I saw no indication that this recorded data is ever processed (nor saved, exfiltrated, etc),” Wardle wrote in his blog post, which he shared with Motherboard in advance. “However, I still don't like an app that appears to be constantly pulling audio off my computer’s internal mic.”
For Wardle, that's not good because a piece of malware could inject into the app and piggyback on this feature to surreptitiously record the user, without prompting an alert. And Shazam could change the way the app works and ad “as users we are just going to have to trust they won’t.“
So is Shazam keeping your mic always-on—even when you switch the app off—a feature or bug? That’s up to you to decide. Far what it’s worth, Wardle said he deleted the app.
Forget the NSA, it's Shazam that's always listening!
[Patrick Wardle/Objective See]
Shazam Keeps Your Mac’s Microphone Always On, Even When You Turn It Off
In 2017, Equifax admitted that it had doxed America by leaking the nonconsensual dossiers it builds on the nation, covering up the info while its key employees sold off their stock, and then repeatedly lying about the scope of the breach.
Aestetix writes, "We have good news. There will be a HOPE [ed: Hackers on Planet Earth, a beloved, NYC-based hacker con put on by 2600 Magazine] in 2020. And we expect it to be better than ever. For several months, we have been looking for a venue that would have the needed space and flexibility […]
Nest is a home automation company that Google bought in 2014, turned into an independent unit of Alphabet, then re-merged with Google again in 2018 (demonstrating that the "whole independent companies under Alphabet" thing was just a flag of convenience for tax purposes); the company has always focused on "ease of use" over security and […]
If you’re a coder, there’s a multitude of avenues for you to take your skills. Whether you’re just jumping into the world of programming or looking to rise up the ranks as an established professional, a wide base of knowledge is key. And this Premium 2020 Learn to Code Certification Bundle is a resource that’s […]
Everybody could use a little improvement, especially those of us on the hunt for new careers. Each job requires a different set of skills, and that list can change from year to year or even month to month as new technologies emerge. When you’re in that race and need to learn fast, the old model […]
In recent years, natural language processing technology and language translation technology have advanced greatly. The trouble is, language translation software typically comes in the form of apps. And while your mileage may vary on their usefulness, they share one thing in common: a serious drain on the battery for your smartphone, the very thing you’ll […]