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Hackers can use your camera while your phone is locked, say tech security experts

A report says digital deviants can also record phone conversations and locate your phone with GPS.
Credit: AP Images

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Scrolling social media, messaging family and friends – and even making the occasional call…smartphones are essentially an extra appendage. We grab them off the nightstand before we get dressed, and we bring them into places where we expect supreme privacy.

According to a tech security firm, we could be welcoming hackers into the proverbial throne room – through our cameras.

Checkmarks says its researchers found hundreds of millions of Android users are at risk.

The report warns that digital deviants can weasel into your stored photos and videos – or even commandeer your camera for a viciously invasive photo shoot.

Reality check time…Most people don’t know much about how hackers apply their trade – so Checkmarx says to watch out for "rogue apps." That means staying on the beaten path when you’re strolling through the Play Store and downloading only verified applications.

Malicious apps are a common vehicle hackers use to speed past your phone’s defenses. According to Checkmarx, they often use programs that allow them to bypass user permissions after someone specifically denies access to the phone’s camera. They can also record conversations, locate the phone with GPS – and do all of this while the phone is locked.

Checkmarx says Samsung and Google phones are most at risk. The companies were alerted, and CNN reports they both confirmed the vulnerability.

The companies told Forbes that updates to the phones’ operating systems are addressing the problem.

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