Audio Capture

Adversaries may capture audio to collect information by leveraging standard operating system APIs of a mobile device. Examples of audio information adversaries may target include user conversations, surroundings, phone calls, or other sensitive information.

Android and iOS, by default, require that applications request device microphone access from the user.

On Android devices, applications must hold the RECORD_AUDIO permission to access the microphone or the CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT permission to access audio output. Because Android does not allow third-party applications to hold the CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT permission by default, only privileged applications, such as those distributed by Google or the device vendor, can access audio output.[1] However, adversaries may be able to gain this access after successfully elevating their privileges. With the CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT permission, adversaries may pass the MediaRecorder.AudioSource.VOICE_CALL constant to MediaRecorder.setAudioOutput, allowing capture of both voice call uplink and downlink.[2]

On iOS devices, applications must include the NSMicrophoneUsageDescription key in their Info.plist file to access the microphone.[3]

ID: T1429
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Tactic: Collection
Platforms: Android, iOS
Version: 3.1
Created: 25 October 2017
Last Modified: 16 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S1061 AbstractEmu

AbstractEmu can grant itself microphone permissions.[4]

S0292 AndroRAT

AndroRAT gathers audio from the microphone.[5]

S0422 Anubis

Anubis can record phone calls and audio.[6]


BOULDSPY can access a device’s microphone to record audio, as well as cell and VoIP application calls.[7]

S0655 BusyGasper

BusyGasper can record audio.[8]

S0529 CarbonSteal

CarbonSteal can remotely capture device audio.[9]

S0425 Corona Updates

Corona Updates can record MP4 files and monitor calls.[10]

S0301 Dendroid

Dendroid can record audio and outgoing calls.[11]

S0505 Desert Scorpion

Desert Scorpion can record audio from phone calls and the device microphone.[12]

S0550 DoubleAgent

DoubleAgent has captured audio and can record phone calls.[9]

S0320 DroidJack

DroidJack is capable of recording device phone calls.[13]

S1092 Escobar

Escobar can record audio from the device’s microphone.[14]

S0507 eSurv

eSurv can record audio.[15]

S0405 Exodus

Exodus Two can record audio from the compromised device's microphone and can record call audio in 3GP format.[16]

S1080 Fakecalls

Fakecalls can turn on a device’s microphone to capture audio.[17]

S0182 FinFisher

FinFisher uses the device microphone to record phone conversations.[18]

S0408 FlexiSpy

FlexiSpy can record both incoming and outgoing phone calls, as well as microphone audio.[19]

S0577 FrozenCell

FrozenCell has recorded calls.[20]

S0535 Golden Cup

Golden Cup can record audio from the microphone and phone calls.[21]

S0551 GoldenEagle

GoldenEagle has recorded calls and environment audio in .amr format.[9]

S0421 GolfSpy

GolfSpy can record audio and phone calls.[22]

S0544 HenBox

HenBox can access the device’s microphone.[23]

S1077 Hornbill

Hornbill can record environmental and call audio.[24]

S0407 Monokle

Monokle can record audio from the device's microphone and can record phone calls, specifying the output audio quality.[25]

S0399 Pallas

Pallas captures audio from the device microphone.[18]

S0316 Pegasus for Android

Pegasus for Android has the ability to record device audio.[26]

S0289 Pegasus for iOS

Pegasus for iOS has the ability to record audio.[27]

S0295 RCSAndroid

RCSAndroid can record audio using the device microphone.[28]

S0326 RedDrop

RedDrop captures live recordings of the device's surroundings.[29]

S0327 Skygofree

Skygofree can record audio via the microphone when an infected device is in a specified location.[30]

S0324 SpyDealer

SpyDealer can record phone calls and surrounding audio.[31]

S0305 SpyNote RAT

SpyNote RAT can activate the victim's microphone.[32]

S0328 Stealth Mango

Stealth Mango can record audio using the device microphone.[33]

S1082 Sunbird

Sunbird can record environmental and call audio.[24]

S0329 Tangelo

Tangelo contains functionality to record calls as well as the victim device's environment.[33]

S1069 TangleBot

TangleBot can record audio using the device microphone.[34]

S0558 Tiktok Pro

Tiktok Pro can capture audio from the device’s microphone and can record phone calls.[35]

S0418 ViceLeaker

ViceLeaker can record audio from the device’s microphone and can record phone calls together with the caller ID.[36][37]

S0506 ViperRAT

ViperRAT can collect and record audio content.[38]

G0112 Windshift

Windshift has included phone call and audio recording capabilities in the malicious apps deployed as part of Operation BULL and Operation ROCK.[39]

S0489 WolfRAT

WolfRAT can record call audio.[40]

S0318 XLoader for Android

XLoader for Android covertly records phone calls.[41]


ID Mitigation Description
M1006 Use Recent OS Version

Android 9 and above restricts access to microphone, camera, and other sensors from background applications.[42]

M1011 User Guidance

Users should be wary of granting applications dangerous or privacy-intrusive permissions, such as access to microphone or audio output.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0041 Application Vetting Permissions Requests

Android applications using the RECORD_AUDIO permission and iOS applications using RequestRecordPermission should be carefully reviewed and monitored. If the CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT permission is found in a third-party Android application, the application should be heavily scrutinized.

In both Android (6.0 and up) and iOS, the user can review which applications have the permission to access the microphone through the device settings screen and revoke permissions as necessary.

DS0042 User Interface System Settings

In iOS 14 and up, an orange dot (or orange square if the Differentiate Without Color setting is enabled) appears in the status bar when the microphone is being used by an application. However, there have been demonstrations indicating it may still be possible to access the microphone in the background without triggering this visual indicator by abusing features that natively access the microphone or camera but do not trigger the visual indicators.[43]

In Android 12 and up, a green dot appears in the status bar when the microphone is being used by an application.[44]


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