Alphonso Software Embedded in Mobile Game Apps Accesses Device Microphones

A recent article in the New York Times highlights the importance of scrutinizing the permissions that mobile applications request as a condition of installation onto a device. It was discovered that a number of game apps available for download in the Google Play store and Apple’s App Store contain spyware that accesses the device’s microphone to identify television shows and advertisements that the device owner sees or hears. It can reportedly identify sounds even if the device is in a pocket or the app is running in the background. According to Alphonso, the developer of the spyware, users can revoke consent for the application to access the microphone and opt out of targeted advertising based on the audio data collected. The NJCCIC recommends mobile device users review the New York Times article and remove the affected apps or follow the instructions on the Alphonso Mobile Opt Out Guide to revoke the associated permissions.