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iPhone apps can secretly turn on your camera and record video, warns Google engineer

Mirror logo Mirror 26/10/2017 Jeff Parsons

A security researcher working for Google has pointed out a worrying loophole in the way iPhone apps can use the phone's camera.

As with Android, when you install an app you are often required to grant it permission to use various functions. This can, and often does, include the camera.

However, once an app has been given permission, it can then access the camera at any point while it's open - even without notifying the user.

Felix Krause, an Austrian developer, proved this could be dangerous after creating an app that takes pictures every second and uploads them without ever notifying the user.

a man wearing a suit case © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

He explained the loophole in and urged Apple to change the way it grants access to the camera.

"Once you take and post one picture or video via a social network app, you grant full access to the camera, and any time the app is running, the app can use the camera," he wrote.

Krause says he didn't upload his test app to the app store but has made Apple aware of what he developed.

For its part, Google has recently clamped down on spyware infecting its own app store.

a close up of a device: Credits: VHX © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: VHX

VHX

"Android Security is always developing new ways of using data to find and block potentially harmful apps (PHAs) from getting onto your devices," the company wrote on its .

"Earlier this year, we announced we had blocked Chrysaor targeted spyware, believed to be written by NSO Group, a cyber arms company.

"In the course of our Chrysaor investigation, we used similar techniques to discover a new and unrelated family of spyware called Lipizzan. Lipizzan’s code contains references to a cyber arms company, Equus Technologies.

"We’ve enhanced Google Play Protect’s capabilities to detect the targeted spyware used here and will continue to use this framework to block more targeted spyware."

a woman talking on a cell phone: Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty Images Europe

Getty Images Europe

For users, the best way to protect yourself is to be very careful when installing random apps and taking note of what permissions they require.

Interestingly, .

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