How to prevent an app from accessing your Android camera

We are experiencing a significant rebound in the use of chat and video conferencing applications, and some hackers are taking advantage of the situation to get a slice, as Techcrunch pointed out a couple of days ago.

There are not a few people who cover the webcam of their computer with a piece of paper or the like to avoid being spied on, but this is a custom that at the same time is not widespread in the use of mobile devices. Who in their right mind would want to cover their phone's camera? Apart from being impractical - imagine putting a glob on the screen or housing of your mobile - for many people the camera is the main tool of their mobile phone.

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How to block the access of apps to the camera of our mobile phone

The solution in this case goes through deny access to the camera or withdraw the permission that any application may have requested in this regard. If we have an Android device we can control this type of access in a really simple and fast way:

  • We open the menu of "Settings"Of Android and click on"Apps and notifications”.
  • Let's go until "Advanced -> Permission manager”.

  • We enter the option "Camera”. Here we will see a list of all the applications that have access to the device's camera.
  • If we understand that any of these apps should not have permission, we just have to click on it and check the box "Deny.

Samsung devices with Android 10

If we have a phone from the South Korean manufacturer with Android 10 operating system, this management is done from "Settings -> Privacy". We enter "Permission management -> Camera" and select the app to which we want to remove access permissions.

To which applications should we withdraw the permission to access the camera?

A priori it is impossible to know which applications can be exploited both by the app developers and by third parties –basically hackers- to spy on us through the phone's camera. However, there are some indicators that can help us prevent these kinds of unpleasant surprises.

  • Check the complete list of applications that have permission to the camera. If you see any application or game that does not use the camera function at all but has access block it immediately. For example, if we see that there is a cooking recipe app, or a music player, that have access to the camera ... bad sign. Take away their permission.
  • In the case of applications that should have access to the camera for proper operation (gallery, multimedia, messaging apps, etc.), avoid downloading them from unofficial repositories or that contain pirated material. There are pages that offer premium applications for free, without any filter or control, where malware roams freely. If you have any app of this type, uninstall it (or at least don't let it access your camera).

In the end, it is all a matter of applying common sense, and if we see any behavior that catches our attention, act accordingly.

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