Apps that spy: Protect your web privacy

By: |
April 08, 2021 3:00 AM

Almost a quarter of online users allow apps & services access to microphones or webcams: Kaspersky

This is less common among older age demographics, however, with 38% respondents aged 55 years and older revealing they never give apps and services such access.This is less common among older age demographics, however, with 38% respondents aged 55 years and older revealing they never give apps and services such access.

Almost a quarter (23%) of online users always give apps and services permission to access their microphone or webcam, according to a global study of 15,000 people conducted by the IT security firm Kaspersky. However, overall awareness of webcam security is promisingly high, with nearly six-in-ten (59%) worried that someone could be watching them through their webcam without them knowing, and 60% concerned that this could be done via malicious software. This points to the likelihood of more people proactively protecting their technology in the future as they adapt to remote working and the role of collaborative applications.

Over the past year, the reliance on videoconferencing has led to a colossal growth in apps such as Microsoft Teams. Understandably, people have expressed a willingness to allow app access to their microphone and camera. These tools have served as an enricher and facilitator of everyone’s sudden digital transitions, leading to 27% of people aged 25-34 always permitting access, according to Kaspersky research. This is less common among older age demographics, however, with 38% respondents aged 55 years and older revealing they never give apps and services such access.

“For sure, many people aren’t instantly familiar with security protocols related to webcam usage and cybersecurity processes. However, what we are observing now is a strong positive trend of increased awareness around online safety and potential threats. We also expect that the rise in cybersecurity consciousness will be supported by security awareness training arranged by businesses for their employees— especially as audio and video devices are now widely used for remote work,” says Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky.

To feel safer while using webcams, Kaspersky offers the following advice:

  • Invest in a simple, dedicated webcam cover to provide peace of mind when the tool isn’t being used
  • Use an effective security solution that offers advanced protection and covers multiple devices including PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Apps like Kaspersky Security Cloud can protect you against unauthorised access to the mic
  • Analyse which of your current apps are currently permitted to access your webcam or microphone, and remove permissions where this is not necessary.

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