You probably have Shazam installed on your mobile, it is a basic utility for every smartphone and person who wants to easily identify a song . Simply open the app and let it listen to what’s playing, and you’ll instantly have the song you’re looking for.
A few years ago the guys at Shazam released Shazam for Mac, the app would stay in the menu bar of our Mac and identify any song that was playing. While it’s true that with the computer you won’t find new songs as easily as with the mobile, it’s still an important utility.
The microphone is always listening, even when you don’t want it to
Patrick Wardle, a former NSA engineer who now develops security tools for the Mac, has discovered something interesting in Shazam for Mac. It turns out that the app, even when you stop the microphone and close the program, still leaves the microphone on and records everything that sounds around the computer.
Shazam has offered an explanation for this, through his VP of communications James Pearson:
As indicated by both James Pearson and Patrick Wardle, there is no privacy issue as such here, as Shazam only leaves the microphone on and does not process the data collected by it. In fact, Shazam doesn’t even plan to change this, as they don’t see it as a security problem for the user.
It is a problem, even though Shazam doesn’t want to acknowledge it
That a software leaves a hardware item running without your consent is a problem , Shazam say what he wants to say. Shazam may not identify what he hears until you ask him to, but he is leaving the microphone out in the open so that others can take advantage of it being on.
A malware embedded in a version of Shazam is free to do whatever they want with your microphone and everyone will think it’s normal. Even malware that gets into your Mac can access your microphone because Shazam has left it on. So while Shazam doesn’t infringe on your privacy, he should warn you about what you’re exposing yourself to using his app .
What should you do? Completely uninstall the app on your Mac . If you want to easily recognize an application from your computer, you’ll probably always have your phone handy. To completely remove the app the best thing to do is to use an uninstaller (CleanMyMac 3 or AppCleaner) which removes user preferences and data from the library. As long as Shazam does not decide to change this, there is no reason to continue using it.