Compliance Management, Network Security, Privacy

UPDATED: Shazam Mac app keeps listening even after switched off


Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle found that the Shazam app for Mac continues to maintain access to a devices microphone even after it has been switched off.

Wardle reverse engineered the app and said that although the app appears to stop processing the recorded data, the app doesn't actually cease recording when a user toggles off access to their computer's microphone, according to a Nov. 11 blog post.

“Just to let you know, the Shazam widget keeps the microphone active even when you specifically switch the toggle to OFF in their app. Scary," Wardle said in the post.

Wardle also noted that the data isn't saved or exfiltrated but did express concern that the if an app gives you the option of turning off its access to your microphone I expect it to do precisely that instead of continuing to pull audio from the built in microphone.

Wardle contacted Shazam, which confirmed he was correct and said they promised to look into the issue.

UPDATE: Shazam told SC Media via emailed comments that contrary to recent rumors the app doesn't record anything and that it accesses the microphone for the exclusive purpose of obtaining a small fingerprint of a subset of the soundwaves. 

"Even though we don't recognize a meaningful risk, the company will be updating its Mac app within the next few days. Shazam has always learned from and listened to our global community,"Shazam Vice President of Global Communications James A. Pearson said via email comments. 

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