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View Full Version : "Only the paranoid survive", -Andy Grove, Co-founder Intel Corp.



rexxumus
11-18-2010, 08:05 PM
I was combing through the videos on YouTube.com, when I came across this masked "Preacher" who was yelling about how all of the new TV decoder boxes have recording microphones installed in them so the government can spy on you, and how soon all electronic devices will be "bugged" the same way! Now I still think this sounds crazy, and I tend not to buy into such things...

I just purchased an ASUS G73Jh-A1. I'm a Computer Tech, so fixing the GSOD and cooling issues was a breeze, but while I was searching through all the software and settings, I noticed that if I go to the "Control Panel" and open the "Sound" icon, under the "Recording" tab it shows the microphone, and a little graph next to it that jumps up and down every time a sound is made or a word is spoken! I don't know about you, but I've never seen a notebook computer that has an "always on" microphone, and always monitors your every word spoken!!!

It seems a bit creepy, so I went to Windows device manager to disable the thing. Unfortunately, you can't just disable the mic, you have to disable the whole Realtech sound system! After searching for awhile, I finally found a way to do it in the Realtech software, but I'm still a bit creeped out.

I just thout you should know.

xeromist
11-18-2010, 09:21 PM
Anything that has a microphone is always picking up sound, it's just a matter of whether anything is listening. Some applications have the ability to mute and unmute the microphone in Windows when they are launched and terminated but I think it's on all the time by default. This actually works best because you can enable/disable transmission of audio on a per-application basis. Really the only thing you'd have to worry about is if there was a spyware application designed to record from the microphone but I see a couple of problems with this. First, if you're going to spy on someone it would be far more efficient to capture keystrokes or a screenshot than listening to hours of random audio, hoping for something juicy. Second, if someone wants to spy on your microphone they would just write the application so that it re-enables the microphone on your computer (perhaps not at the device level, but certainly the mute/volume level). And lastly, having spent years using voice chat for various online games I can tell you that people have enough problems configuring a microphone so they can be heard and understood when they are actually trying. Having a spyware application that can do it or trick you into doing it correctly? Unlikely.

Daedalus
11-19-2010, 02:07 PM
I will say that you should not worry about this, and if they wanted to track you the ones who would do this would just capture what you are doing on the web from your data stream. And in less you encrypt all of your data there is not much one can do about it. But one thing you have to remember is that there are millions of people on the web at the same time and the chances of someone doing anything like this to you is slim to none.
To many people worry about things like this and after working in this field , that is computers and networking for as long as I have you see that in less some group targets you as a user there is not much to worry about.
It does not hurt to be safe and not to go to sites where you can be hacked, that is stick you neck out on the web. But in less you do things like that you will be ok.
And even if they did listen in on you , what would they hear or see? You playing games and talking to you buddies about what you are playing.

And yes I do agree that no one has any need to see and hear what we are doing on the web . But that is the world we live in now and it will stay that way in till we as a nation get to the point where we say NO! And change the way things are done. But this is not the place to start a battle over Politics .

Zygomorphic
06-11-2012, 10:06 PM
+1 Rep, @Daedalus, I love your statements, especially considering that we as a country just recently said NO! to SOPA and PIPA. Even more insidious is the threat of giving up the governing of the internet to the UN. While their founding intent was noble, the government of the internet should be in the hands of private people, who have less of a political incentive to cause blackouts. Think about China, North Korea, Iran, and others. Should internet governance be handed over to the UN, countries like those listed will have a say in policies that affect the rest of the world. They would--and do!--stop at nothing to wall their people out from the wide world that challenges their beliefs. That is not protection, it is a mark of tyranny.

dstrakele
06-12-2012, 12:22 AM
Don't worry about it. I can hear you just fine...

steelblueskies
06-13-2012, 06:35 PM
ensure flash never gets installed outside of a virtual machine/ on live hardware where it can see your webcam+/primary audio hardware.

that's your number one most intrusive nasty right there. prohibit that and so long as you don't catch a bit o' spyware or a rootkit you have primary control of such functions.

beyond that. mic signal strength meter in its properties tab is no issue. you can also mute the mic :p

DaemonCantor
06-13-2012, 07:41 PM
ensure flash never gets installed outside of a virtual machine/ on live hardware where it can see your webcam+/primary audio hardware.

that's your number one most intrusive nasty right there. prohibit that and so long as you don't catch a bit o' spyware or a rootkit you have primary control of such functions.

beyond that. mic signal strength meter in its properties tab is no issue. you can also mute the mic :p

Add to this point of Hysteria... Every time I play certain Games like ME3, RAGE, Halflife2 Series, ether Origin or STEAM turn on my WebCam the entire time I'm Playing... Would this stop you from Gaming? Personally I know that this is for In-Game Chat but nothing to get Spooked over. Really who wants to see my Ugly Face other than my Wife????