Aiming to help to counter the threat posed by audio surveillance, Kaspersky Lab announced the launch of its latest patented technology to counteract unauthorised access to microphone data on Windows devices, which is being used in the company's flagship home solutions - Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security.
To control access to user audio data, it is necessary to monitor all requests to the microphone in the operating system, and block those where access is unauthorised or conducted by an unknown program. There is currently no default special protection from unauthorised access to user audio data in the Windows OS.
Kaspersky's technology filters internal commands sent to or received by the Windows Audio service, and indicates the creation of each new audio stream by any application. After this, the technology uses the 'Application Control' feature, which categorises all programs as either 'trusted', 'low/high restricted' or 'untrusted', depending on their reputation, content and manufacturer.
If it recognises that an 'untrusted' or 'low/high restricted' program is trying to access the microphone, the request is immediately blocked.
"User privacy is very important to us, which is why we are developing technologies to keep users' digital lives safe from malicious access. When it comes to audio protection, the main difficulty in the development of this technology was the existence of an audio stream multiplexing system within Windows, so that several applications can record sound simultaneously. However, this problem was resolved easily with help of our kernel driver infrastructure, which includes a mechanism to control commands between Windows services," said Alexander Kalinin, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
Audio protection is a part of the privacy protection set of technologies included in Kaspersky Lab's home security solutions. It also contains webcam protection, which notifies users about access to their integrated or connected webcam, and the 'Private Browsing' feature, which blocks any attempts to collect data on users via a web-browser.
Both the above mentioned features are available for Macs and PCs.