Adversaries may capture audio to collect information on a user of a mobile device using standard operating system APIs. Adversaries may target audio information such as user conversations, surroundings, phone calls, or other sensitive information.
Android and iOS, by default, requires that an application request access to microphone devices from the user. In Android, applications must hold the
android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO permission to access the microphone and the
android.permission.CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT permission to access audio output such as speakers. Android does not allow third-party applications to hold
android.permission.CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT, so audio output can only be obtained by privileged applications (distributed by Google or the device vendor) or after a successful privilege escalation attack. In iOS, applications must include the
NSMicrophoneUsageDescription key in their
Applications using the android permission
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Android 9 and above restricts access to microphone, camera, and other sensors from background applications.
On both Android (6.0 and up) and iOS, the user can view which applications have permission to use the microphone through the device settings screen, and the user can choose to revoke the permissions.
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