The Gyroscopes in Your Phone Could Let Apps Eavesdrop on Conversations | Threat Level | WIRED

In the age of surveillance paranoia, most smartphone users know better than to give a random app or website permission to use their device’s microphone. But researchers have found there’s another, little-considered sensor in modern phones that can also listen in on their conversations. And it doesn’t even need to ask. In a presentation at…

Source: www.wired.com

New potential privacy concern with your smartphone: Phone gyroscopes might be able to allow apps to eavesdrop.
The gyroscope in phones, which are used to measure a phone’s orientation, are sensitive enough to pick up some sound waves, which turns them into a crude microphone.  Dan Boneh, a computer security professor at Stanford, summed the issue succinctly, "Whenever you grant anyone access to sensors on a device, you’re going to have unintended consequences."  New potential privacy concern with your smartphone: Phone gyroscopes might be able to allow apps to eavesdrop.  Essentially, the gyroscope in iOS and Android phones, which are used to measure a phone’s orientation, are sensitive enough to pick up some sound waves, which turns them into a crude microphone, according to researchers.  Dan Boneh, a computer security professor at Stanford, summed the issue succinctly, "Whenever you grant anyone access to sensors on a device, you’re going to have unintended consequences."  Both iOS and Android devices use gyroscopes that can pick up sound vibrations. However, iOS limits the reading of the gyroscopes to 100 hertz, which makes audio spying much more difficult. Android devices are more vulnerable as they allows apps to read the sensor’s data at twice that speed. Google is likely aware of this issue.  While it is believed that this using gyroscopes to eavesdrop has not been exploited yet, the potential is there. As speech recognition improves, these vulnerabilities become more of a threat.  Google could make Android less vulnerable by limiting the frequency like Apple does. Another possibility, which phones have or are implemented, is limiting the gyroscope frequency and even its use on a system-wide or app-by-app basis.  Article by: Andy Greenberg via Wired

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About Jeffrey Lapin
Caring. Passionate. Dedicated. I represent injured, abused and disabled clients in Lincoln and throughout Nebraska.

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