Chrome bug turns PC into spying device

2014-01-23 13:00
(Lionel Bonaventure, AFP)

(Lionel Bonaventure, AFP) (Lionel Bonaventure, AFP)

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Cape Town - Big brother might be listening - at least, that's according to a report indicating that Chrome browser users might be exposed to eavesdropping.

According to a report on Arstechnica, a bug in Google's Chrome browser allows a website that has previously been given access to a computer microphone to listen in for extended periods of time - without the user knowing.

Initially, one has to authorise a website to record audio or video using the computer's hardware, but according to the report, even if you leave the website, a malicious site can continue to record without your knowledge.

Israeli researcher Tal Ater who discovered the bug said that in addition to recording conversations at the PC, the software can be configured to recognise and record specific words and phrases, potentially turning your own PC into a spying device.

Ater said he alerted Google about the bug in September 2013, but as yet, the patch has not been included in an update to the browser.

Chrome is by far the most popular browser and accounts for 55% of market share, with Firefox and 26% and Internet Explorer at 9%.

It is not yet known whether the bug affects mobile devices like smartphones or tablets, but given the speed of software development and the reduction of physical hardware controls, it might only be a matter of time before such a nightmare scenario unfolds.

Read more on:    google  |  internet  |  online privacy
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