June 22, 2017

Kaspersky Lab to Protect People from Audio Spying – with New Patented Technology

Everyone wants to be safe from spying on their own computers. To help people protect themselves from the threat of audio surveillance, Kaspersky Lab has patented a method to counteract unauthorized access to microphone data on Windows devices.

Everyone wants to be safe from spying on their own computers. To help people protect themselves from the threat of audio surveillance, Kaspersky Lab has patented a method to counteract unauthorized access to microphone data on Windows devices. The method is used in the company’s flagship home solutions – Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security – and, at that moment, no other security solutions on the market have integrated technologies to protect microphones from malicious access.

To control access to user audio data, it is necessary to monitor all requests to the microphone in the operating system, and block those where access is unauthorized or conducted by an untrusted program. If users simply switch the microphone off, or cover it with tape, they are not solving the problem, because it may still be possible for intruders to record sounds from around the device via loudspeakers or other methods. There is currently no default special protection from unauthorized access to user audio data in the Windows OS. This is why Kaspersky Lab experts developed a new approach – and patented it.

Kaspersky Lab’s technology filters internal commands sent to, or received by, the Windows Audio service, and indicates the creation of each new audio stream by any application. After this, the technology uses Kaspersky Lab’s Application Control feature, which categorizes all programs as “trusted”, “low/high restricted” or “untrusted” depending on their reputation, content and manufacturer. If it recognizes that an ‘untrusted’ or ‘low/high restricted’ program is trying to access the microphone, the request is immediately blocked.

Alexander Kalinin, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, one of the authors of the technology, says: “User privacy is very important to us, which is why we are developing technologies to keep users’ digital lives safe from malicious access. When it comes to audio protection, the main difficulty in the development of this technology was the existence of an audio stream multiplexing system within Windows, so that several applications can record sound simultaneously. However, this problem was resolved easily with help of our rich kernel driver infrastructure, which includes a mechanism to control commands between Windows services”.

Audio protection is part of the Privacy Protection set of technologies included in Kaspersky Lab’s home security solutions. It also contains Webcam Protection – which notifies users about access to their integrated or connected webcam - and the Private Browsing feature, which blocks any attempts to collect data on users via a web-browser. Both features are available for Macs and PCs.

To read more about the patent US9652625 follow the link. Kaspersky Lab currently has over 580 patents registered in US, Russia, EU, and China.

Articles related to Product news

  • Android Ransomware: Four-fold Increase in Number of Users Attacked in One Year

    The number of users attacked by ransomware targeting Android-based devices has increased four-fold in just one year, hitting at least 136,000 users globally. A report on the ransomware threat landscape, conducted by Kaspersky Lab, also found that the majority of attacks are based on only four groups of malware. The report covers a full two-year period which, for reasons of comparison, has been divided into two parts of 12 months each: from April 2014 to March 2015, and April 2015 to March 2016. These particular timescales were chosen because they witnessed several significant changes in the mobile ransomware threat landscape.

    >
  • Damage to Customer Trust and Corporate Reputation are Among the Most Harmful Consequences of DDoS Attacks

    The consequences of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack extend far beyond financial considerations. These attacks damage a company’s relationship with its customers, according to the research from Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.

    >
  • Kaspersky Lab Exposes Facebook Phishing Attacks: 10,000 Victims in Two Days

    A Kaspersky Lab security expert has uncovered a malware attack that tricked around 10,000 Facebook users around the world into infecting their devices after receiving a message from a friend claiming to have mentioned them on Facebook

    >