Computer Microphones & Privacy: What You Should Know

Everyone should be entitled to their privacy, but there are companies and third parties that will do anything to get their hands on your personal data. One of the scariest ways they can do this is through malicious software that allows them to access functions like your laptop’s built-in microphone. Here’s what you should know about computer microphones and privacy.

Microphone Safety

When people think of hackers recording them, they’re most often worried about the webcam built into their laptop or phone. While this concern is valid, webcams have an indicator, typically a light, that tells you when the webcam is on and recording. The microphone, however, does not, so you cannot tell if your device is recording audio or not. You may not think it’s a big deal, but companies can use your audio data to target ads and even answer security questions to access your accounts. Even if you think you have nothing to hide, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to your privacy on your own devices.

Remote Access Trojans

Remote access trojans (RATs) are the main culprit you should know about in computer microphone and privacy breaches. RATs are malicious software programs that allow hackers and third parties access to your computer and its inner workings, potentially allowing them to turn on your computer’s microphone without you knowing. Such malware can be subtly downloaded onto your computer on the websites you visit, similar to how cookies can unwittingly infect your device with tracking software to snoop on what other sites you visit.

Protecting Yourself

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your devices is using a USB-C mic block. While Apple iPhones have their own unique USB design, USB-C blockers are perfect for Android phones and any laptop. Almost every new computer made in the past three years has a USB C port, so you’ll be able to use your mic blocker on all of your devices except iPhones. You can reuse it for any future computers to ensure your investment is long term. If you ever find yourself connecting to public networks, a mic-blocker is a must-have to shield yourself from any would-be hackers lurking within that same network.

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