Is Google's Chrome secretly listening in on your through your mic?

23 January 2014

Chrome It has been reported by other people (take note, lawyers) that a weakness in Google's Chrome browser is allowing people to use our computer's microphone to spy on us. Google denies this outright, but they would. Developers on the other hand aren't having it.

"Even while not using your computer – conversations, meetings and phone calls next to your computer may be recorded and compromised," says Israeli developer Tal Ater.

Basically, if a site isn't being honest about using your mic (as in, it switches it on, even though you haven't given permission to), that's when the trouble starts.

"When you click the button to start or stop the speech recognition on the site, what you won't notice is that the site may have also opened another hidden pop-under window," Ater wrote. "This window can wait until the main site is closed, and then start listening in without asking for permission. This can be done in a window that you never saw, never interacted with, and probably didn't even know was there."

Chrome remembers your settings for secure sites, so these pop-under windows won't need continual permission from users.

Ater says he's contacted Google, but they've yet to fix the situation. The Reg asked Google for a comment and they said: "The security of our users is a top priority, and this feature [the blinking red dot on tabs] was designed with security and privacy in mind."

If you're at all worried about this, there's an easy fix until Google get it sorted - go to your settings, hit click 'show advanced settings' then 'content settings', then click "Do not allow sites to access my camera and microphone" and that should do it.

TOPICS:   Technology   Privacy

2 comments

  • Jeremy
    Get a desktop PC. Do not plug a microphone in. Sorted.
  • someonehadtosayit
    Do you mean "in on you through your mic"?

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