Android P, the next version of Google’s mobile OS, will introduce a new cybersecurity measure: from now on, it will no longer be possible for apps to record video footage or snap pictures without you knowing.
The aim of the developers was to prevent apps that have been running in the background for a while to capture potentially sensitive data through the smartphone’s sound and video recording capabilities. These new changes have been implemented in the interest of protecting the users’ privacy.
The new cybersecurity measures even apply in cases when a user has given the app permission to use these features. Of course, once the app goes from idle mode to active mode, these features can be used again without restrictions.
Google decided to introduce these changes to fight against real privacy threats stemming from, for example, marketing firms that could potentially take advantage of these features to detect audio and TV signals to deliver targeted ads.
Various forms of spyware could also abuse the silent recording and picture-taking functionality and have done so in the past. To name an example, during 2017, Google went after several apps in the app store that were taking pictures from infected devices without the knowledge or consent of their victims.
Kaspersky Lab found that certain people were selling commercial Android spyware. This type of malware tries to hide its malicious activities like stealth recording, picture snapping, and stealing of messages and call records by using background services through which its real purpose is concealed.