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Windows 10 Will Notify Users When Apps Use Their Microphone

By December 17, 2018June 2nd, 2022Cybersecurity

In recent months, security researchers have unearthed all sorts of new hardware vulnerabilities.  Several of them allow hackers to quietly assume control of your PC’s built-in camera or microphone, giving them the ability to spy on you and invade your privacy at will.

Normally this is accomplished when a hacker can trick you into downloading what you believe to be a legitimate application, but it secretly contains malicious code allowing the hacker to take control of those functions without your knowledge.

Recently, Microsoft added a new feature to their OS that will give you a visual cue any time your mic is being accessed by an app running on your system.  Unfortunately, the new upgrade isn’t available to the general public yet,  If you’d like a sneak peek, you can get it by enrolling your machine in the Windows Insider program and downloading the 19H1 Fast Ring build, 18290.

It works like this:

Any time an application is using your mic, you’ll see a small colored dot on the microphone icon on the taskbar.

When you hover your mouse over the new microphone icon in the taskbar, you’ll get a list of which, if any apps are currently recording.  Double clicking on the icon will take you to the Microsoft Privacy Settings page.

The company warns that this beta version of the OS is still unstable. If you opt to go down that road, be aware that you might see some unusual and unexpected behavior, but it will give you an opportunity to experiment with new features well before others.

According to a Microsoft spokesman, “If multiple apps are using your microphone, then it will just list how many are actively using your microphone.  We still have a bit more to do, stay tuned!”

There has been no official word from the company on when the new feature will be finalized, or when it will be rolled out to the public, but typically, Windows 10 receives updates twice a year.  It’s a simple, valuable addition we’re looking forward to.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.