Thursday, June 4, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Micro Snitch 1.0

Objective Development (App Store):

We just released our brand-new OS X app called Micro Snitch. It’s an unobtrusive little app that sits in your menu bar and notifies you whenever any app uses your Mac’s microphone or camera.

(Get it? It snitches on apps that use your microphone!)

In addition to showing this information in the menu bar, Micro Snitch also has a nice overlay that automatically appears in the center of the screen to get your attention whenever the microphone or camera starts being used. It then moves off to a corner to get out of your way.

It’s from the developers of the excellent Little Snitch, but unlike Little Snitch it’s just a regular app, no kernel extension required.

6 Comments

Is snooping like this a known problem in practice? (Not saying it's a bad idea, but I hadn't heard of anything snooping that'd make this app a [practical] win -- yet.)

"Is snooping like this a known problem in practice?"

Sure. It's a genuine known problem in practice. From family/friend/employer/school planted malware, to software with looser permissions than you've realized, to actual malware in the wild, either socially engineered, or the real life 0-days floating around in our current era.

I'm not saying this is a common worry, but it's damn cheap protection, especially if you think you have any particularized reason for suspicion. (Though if you've been compromised by anything more than loose permissions, microphones and cameras are obviously the least of your worries. But then again, what kind of tin-foil-hat paranoid uses something like the full-fledged Little Snitch in the first place? What, me, worry?)

" But then again, what kind of tin-foil-hat paranoid uses something like the full-fledged Little Snitch in the first place?"

Touche. ;^)

I just wondered if there was a specific app that, I don't know, parents and/or employers were commonly using *now* on OS X that made this an especially timely release.

"Oh, you were using iSeeYouPickingBuggers that whole time I worked here?!! If only I'd had Micro Snitch!" (cue voiceover for two free Ginsu knives...)

"I just wondered if there was a specific app that, I don't know, parents and/or employers were commonly using *now* on OS X that made this an especially timely release."

Well, I don't know all the specifics, but according to my reading, most definitely yes, *now*. Though I'm not aware of any proximate development that made this release especially timely.

- I'm almost 100% sure there is commercial software, generally marketed as some type of 'spouse spy' or 'kid spy' thing is available for sale on OS X, though plenty of other uses could be imagined. I'd assume they focus on keylogging/screencapping, though mic/cam would probably come into play as well.

- I am 100% sure that some school district was using software that put camera spying on all their student's OS X laptops. So I'd strongly assume there is commercial software available.

- I'm not sure what Flash's settings default to, either standalone or with Chrome, but mic/cam is an option. May also apply to native apps.

- And let's not forget that it's not a new situation for companies to putty-up the cameras on employee issued laptops, including OS X ones.

So, again, not aware of any proximate cause, but the issue has been there *now* for a while...

"Is snooping like this a known problem in practice?"

How 'bout this...

[…] Previously: October 2018 Apple Event, Micro Snitch 1.0. […]

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