Privacy SOS

Android glitch allows hackers to listen to your phone conversations

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Last week we heard over and over that a company called Carrier IQ was caught surreptitiously sending data from smartphones back to Apple and other smartphone makers, enabling the companies to spy on text messages, emails, web browsing and more. The firm is now facing multiple lawsuits.

This week, researchers at North Carolina State University say that a seemingly inadvertent glitch on the Android platform has enabled hackers and malevolent app makers to go further, even listening in on your live phone conversations. The Register reports:

Computer scientists have discovered a weakness in smartphones running Google's Android operating system that allows attackers to secretly record phone conversations, monitor geographic location data, and access other sensitive resources without permission.

Apparently handsets made by HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and Google are affected by the problem. Unlike Apple, the Android app market is open, and doesn't require any testing or approval before apps can be sold there. While this is a boon to free speech in some cases, it appears to be a security risk in others. 

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.