Android P To Restrict Background Apps From Hijacking Camera, Mic

Android P To Restrict Background Apps From Hijacking Camera, Mic
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The risk of someone hacking your camera has often been overrated, and it is certainly possible, but now, Google has reportedly taken care of that. Now, the Android P would keep a check on the apps running in the background from hijacking the camera and microphone of the smartphone.

XDA Developers – citing the recently discovered codes – say that Google wants the idle apps to stay away from the camera and microphones. And, if such apps attempt to embark on the camera, the Android P would be powerful enough to shut it off and display an error message to the user.

For microphones, however, things are a bit different. The recording would be allowed, but it would report empty data until the app is active. Meaning, even in an idle state, apps will think that they are recording, but in reality, they will be saving junk data. The idea is to discourage malware from recording in the background, and ensure that legitimate apps do not face any limitations.

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Further, XDA Developers notes that by not cutting the apps completely from the microphones, Google wants to ensure that the apps don’t come up with a new way to bypass the new protection. Also, the apps that use a microphone to keep track of the television shows that the user is watching would now face challenges.

Android assigns a UID (User ID) to every app that a user installs on their device, and this new feature is based on this only. The UID is unique for every app and does not change as long as the app sits in the device. So, Android P would zero in on the UID when it sits idle beyond a point of time, notes Android Authority.

The idea of malicious apps getting hold of the camera and the microphone is discomforting. This is why most laptops have a small light beside the camera which turns on when the camera is in use. Unfortunately, there is no such facility on smartphones. So, users have no idea when their camera is under the control of a hacker or notorious apps.

However now, Google intends to take away this concern of the users. This is not the first time Google has tried to address this concern. The search giant tried to make Android Oreo more informative last year by informing users of the apps running in the background in various situations including when the camera was in use. However, users found the new feature a bit irritating, thus they either totally ignored the notifications or tried to disable the feature, notes Android Police.

This time, however, Google has come up with the idea of blocking the background apps automatically to safeguard the privacy of the users. The Android P will rollout this year as Android 9.0. Although the actual name would not be disclosed until the summer, that doesn’t stop enthusiasts from making wild guesses such as Android Pie, Android Pumpkin Pie or Android Pecan Pie. There is a mention of Android Pi in the Android Open Source Project, notes TechAdvisor.

Additionally, Google developers are also offering hints by directing users to the website, where they have to solve various puzzles to reach the second room to get a pineapple cake. Possibly, the next Android version could be Pineapple, notes TechAdvisor.

Separately, various sources are hinting that ‘P’ could stand for Pistachio Ice Cream, the term that Google is reportedly using internally for it upcoming OS.

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