Hacking Laptop Microphones To Hear Private Conversations

Did you know you know that you can turn on a computer’s microphone remotely? It’s easy. Imagine hearing some juicy audio from a stranger’s computer from anywhere in the world, at anytime. It’s sneaky, isn’t it? Think of all the conversations you could listen to.

Modern devices are always switched on and permanently connected to the Internet. This always-on connection provides an open door to a new kind of hacker — The Listener.

Stalker Hacks Computer Microphones

Listeners tune into any device’s microphone simply by opening a port inside it. Once they’ve done this, a piece of code keeps the channel open so they can access and record it at any time. As the audio begins to flow into a constant feed, they’ll sit and analyse all the sounds that appear inside it. You may wonder why they’d do that. Well, it’s mostly for research. They’re fishing for business. Lifestyle patterns, keywords, conversations, anything that indicates what kind of consumer you are. Your age, sex, likes and dislikes — the information gathered is then used to qualify you as a customer to big business. They’ll sell your information to corporations — but not all Listeners do it for the money.

Immorality and Law issues aside, instead, skip ahead and ask why they go for the microphone and totally ignore the camera.

Camera feeds are resource heavy and, therefore, users could suspect a problem with their increasingly sluggish device. Audio-only feeds use far less data, so the lag time is less noticeable. Cameras also have an indicator light that tell users when the camera is active. Mikes don’t. They are passive, both visually and aurally when activated.

It’s totally unbelievable, right?

Mother has always been suspicious about computers and their in-built cameras. She sticks a post-it note over her computer’s lens because she thinks people see her through it. She was right. Hackers can see her. Unfortunately, she never considered covering the microphone to stop them from hearing her daily activities.

And then there’s those other devices we invite into our houses which are made of only microphones and speakers. They are specifically designed to receive and send audio over the Internet all day long: Google Home and Amazon Echo. We sign them in and then pump them full of the sounds of our lives so they can be sent off to somewhere unknown.

Amazon Echo

Corporations tell us that their smart devices don’t listen when they’re not being used — but that’s not true. Alexa heard a double murder take place (See? Follow the link. It’s real! I’m not making this stuff up!) and her audio provided vital evidence in Court. Of course, Amazon denied they had a recording of the tragic event. Alexa isn’t supposed to record anything, but a tech-autopsy uncovered the real truth. Alexa did hear and record the crime taking place and she is listening to all of us today, recording our private audio and saving it in her servers. We’re only one step away from having machines with complex algorithms analyse the masses of stored audio for God knows what reason. Privacy, laws, and morals, left us the moment we activate any smart e-device in our home and then connect it to the Internet.

In the meantime, there are hundreds of sites that teach wanna-be independent Listeners how to turn on computer microphones from their locations. There are Listeners everywhere, hearing all kinds of information about you through your very own device!

SEETHINGS is about a serial killer who hacks and listens to computer microphones — it allows him to find new victims. When the right one comes along, he moves in for the kill.

The book was written and released recently. It’s genre sits between psychological thriller and neo-noir. The themes are dark, sexy and dangerous. It’s also a brain-bender but definitely worth the ride to experience it all the way to its explosive conclusion.

“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”

– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.
My podcast series.

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