This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by zeeaqyej 2 years, 2 months ago.
February 16, 2015 at 5:51 pm #14607
I am privacy-conscious and want to disable the microphone on my Moto G running KitKat. I do not trust the proprietary apps (e.g., Microphone Guard or Mic Block) available on Google Play, which have network permissions. Is there a free (as in freedom) app that can do this for me?March 2, 2015 at 4:03 am #14801
I don’t know if a software based solution is good enough. I mean, as long as the mic is there, the hardware can always extract the audio from there and send it via cell based modem, right?
But that being said, I never heard of such an app. I would like (and maybe prefer) one dummy app that would be listening on the mic all the time and not record anything. That way the OS would consider the mic “busy” and maybe not let another app listen on to it?? Just a thought.March 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm #14805
If you have Cyanogenmod you can configure privacy guard to prompt you every time an app requests use of the microphone. There is at least one app on F-Droid that will show you which apps have access to the microphone. https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=org.androidsoft.app.permission
I would recommend only keeping apps you need and trust.March 2, 2015 at 2:32 pm #14806
Thank you for the tips. Since posting I actually unlocked my bootloader and installed CM11. I installed F-Droid but did not install GApps. I am much happier now that *I* am the administrator of my device, not Google (which was the case with the stock OS).
Privacy Guard is certainly one of the best things about CM. I enabled Privacy Guard for all apps and went through each app’s permissions. All that list the microphone are denied that privilege, except for the Sound Recorder which I set to “always ask.”
Privacy Guard is exactly what I was looking for. Go CyanogenMod!
March 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm #14818
- This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by bdantas.
Those are very good and valuable infos. Thanks!
However, I still think that the cell modem is capable of connecting to the microphone directly (in some phones at least).
Maybe that would be good enough in a tablet without cell modem (no GSM).
By the way, answer me if you know: can two apps access the mic at the same time? Creating a dummy app would solve anythyng?
THANKSMarch 2, 2015 at 6:43 pm #14822
I use the Moto G as a wifi-only device. If anyone has information on how to disable the cell modem completely, please post it here because I would love to do that.
The dummy app idea is very good, but I do not know whether two apps can access the mic at the same time. Hopefully a more knowledgeable user can tell us.March 2, 2015 at 7:02 pm #14823
If you are truly concerned about the baseband, like @gnuser said your best bet is using a device like a tablet that lacks that hardware.
There are two excellent guides i’ve found for paranoid-tier mobile security. The first regards the Nexus 7 tablet and the second the Moto E smartphone. They are quite detailed and provide a good basis on which to build your threat model and decide how many privacy tradeoffs are worth it.
Going down this road you reach a point of diminishing returns until you are left with an almost useless device.
I also use a smartphone as a Wifi only device. I wish there was a market for smartphone sized wifi-only “tablets” but that doesn’t seem like it will happen. I’ve accepted the risk of using that device in airplane mode as acceptable but I have noticed the cell radio is active at boot time.March 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm #14824
– First time I’ve been descrived as “paranoid-tier” lol
– I am comfortable with Privacy Guard denying microphone rights to all apps except Sound Recorder, which is set to “always ask”
– Since I use the device as wifi-only, I set it to airplane mode and then turned on the wifi
I am happy with the above and would mark the thread as SOLVED except that it is not obvious how to change the thread title.March 3, 2015 at 9:13 am #14829
You can disable the baseband in some cases. As far as I remeber this is a non-reversable modification.
Also you can disable the mic on a hardware level.
The ppl with tor already brought up some aspects of how to harden your phone.
As long as you
1) use proprietary files (have a look at replicant.us)
2) have a working baseband modem
you will not get real security.
For more information about that read the tor blog:
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/mission-impossible-hardening-android-security-and-privacy#BasebandRemovalMarch 5, 2015 at 5:45 pm #14881
Tried it and one app can’t prevent other from accessing the mic. Using gsm calls, linphone calls, and the sound recorder was still getting every sound. 🙁
Maybe a more complex hack could be used but:
1. There is no free app to do that (so, no app that I can trust and verify);
2. Hardware backdoors would still allow for mic to operate.
Maybe there is no good option for this problem?? A solution for 1 would be good enough for me I think.March 14, 2015 at 2:32 pm #14996
The only final option would be to physically remove your microphone and only use an external one such as earbuds with an in-line microphone.
The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.