In a post published on The Huffington Post this week, the COO and chairman of Ziklag Systems, a mobile security company, detailed how Facebook’s new Smartphone microphone feature could be hacked.
The tool, which was introduced last week, is an opt-in-only feature that can identify what users are watching or listening to, and then automatically populate a Facebook post about it that the user can then choose to share. However, as Rebecca Abrahams and Dr. Stephen Bryen argue in their article on HuffPo, the technology could easily be compromised by either cybercriminals or government agencies.
“Facebook does not make any promises about protection against hackers, nor should Facebook make such a promise, because it is one that cannot be kept,” they wrote. “The idea that a smartphone microphone or microphones (most smartphones have two) can be turned on by a third party at will is pretty frightening. Since nearly everyone is walking around with a smartphone these days… the likelihood of Facebook’s microphone feature being hijacked is very high.”
A petition is also rapidly gathering steam (with over 500,000 signatures at the time of this writing) that encourages Facebook to get rid of the new feature before it launches.
“Not only is this move just downright creepy, it’s also a massive threat to our privacy,” the petition’s authors wrote. “The feature is opt-in, but many won’t even read the warnings. If we act now, we can stop Facebook in its tracks before it has a chance to release the feature.”