The nature of security and security threats on Android never ceases to amaze. A new discovery from a computer scientist and blogger claims that he has discovered a way that apps can access your devices camera to take pictures and video and use the camera to see the goings on all without any sort of notification to the user of what’s happening. As alarming as that sounds, this is really just a simple case of paying attention to what you download and install on your device. If something seems like it’s amiss or has a general suspicious air about it, your best practice is to let things be and leave those types of apps alone. When in doubt, stay away.
Still, it is advantageous to be on the up and up about any such possibility of a threat just so you can be prepared. Currently it would seem that there may not be apps on the Play Store that can utilize the functions of your devices camera without a few things being in place. As stated by the source, said apps would require the phones display to be powered on, and would need visible activity that the apps were running. This is where the computer scientist Szymon Sidor comes in to find out if there was a way around this. According to him, he was able to create an app that would only utilize a 1×1 pixel area of space on the phone screen, making it virtually impossible to see it even if you were staring right at it. The app basically sits on the screen and feeds video or images from either camera on the device to itself, whether the display is on or not, and then sends those to a server.
You can check out the video below of the application working in action as its creator describes the app in detail. It’s a quick one minute recording but it’s long enough for you to get the picture(pun intended)of what sort of capabilities are possible here. Of course, security risks like these and the actions that they take are nothing new right? Not in the slightest. While this is a cause for some concern, as we always say there are lots of way you can protect yourself from these potential. Issues. Don’t download shady looking apps, check app permissions, and just be generally aware. Do those things and you should be fine and not to have to worry about this.