23 per cent of users always permit apps, services to access mic, webcam: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 11, 2021

Representative image   -  REUTERS

60 per cent of users says they are concerned that this could be done via malicious software

With the rise in video conferencing and collaboration apps, people are looking to strike a balance between using these tools for work and safety in the digital world.

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of online users always give apps and services permission to access their microphone or webcam, according to a global study of 15,000 people conducted by Kaspersky.

However, overall awareness of webcam security is also significantly high with 59 per cent of users stating that they were worried that someone could be watching them through their webcam without them knowing. Furthermore, 60 per cent of users were concerned that this could be done via malicious software.

“This points to the likelihood of more people proactively protecting their technology in the future as they adapt to remote working and the role of collaborative applications,” the report said.

Video conferencing and collaboration apps have witnessed massive growth over the past year as people were mandated to work remotely amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Understandably, with these technologies and apps helping people to navigate the events of the past year across work, social and entertainment needs, people have expressed a willingness to allow the app access to their microphone and camera,” the report said.

As per the report, 27 per cent of people aged 25-34 always permitting access, according to Kaspersky research. This is less common among older age demographics, however, with 38 per cent of respondents aged 55 years and older revealing they never give apps and services such access.

“The best way to balance sufficient caution, while continuing to benefit from modern means of communication, would be to exercise mindful consideration around the apps and services people are using and what permissions they request. For example, if a video calling app has camera permissions that would make sense. But if there is an app without any relevant functionality requesting access to a person’s mic for no justifiable reason, it might be better to investigate and explore permissions,” explained Kaspersky.

“For sure, many people aren’t instantly familiar with security protocols related to webcam usage and cybersecurity processes. However, what we are observing now is a strong positive trend of increased awareness around online safety and potential threats. This leads to more proactive consumer behaviour like taking preventive actions and checking permissions before allowing video and microphone access. We also expect that the rise in cybersecurity consciousness will be supported by security awareness training arranged by businesses for their employees – especially as audio and video devices are now widely used for remote work," said Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky.

Published on April 11, 2021

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