So what can you do to protect yourself?
Pay attention to what happens when you install a new app.
When you install apps from the Google Play store and iTunes App store, they will ask you if you’d like to grant permission for the app to use your phone’s microphone.
iOS apps will ask you during installation, while Android apps should ask the first time they launch.
CHECK YOUR SETTINGS
You’ll want to make sure you know which apps are using your microphone.
On iOS devices, you’ll open Settings, then open Privacy and then open Microphone.
You’ll see a list of apps that you’ve given permission to use the microphone.
On Android 6 and newer, you’ll open Settings, then Apps.
You’ll see a list of apps, but you’ll have to open each one and look for that app’s Permissions line to see what permissions you’ve given it.
You can also get to each app’s permissions by pressing and holding on the app’s icon and then choosing App Info from the pop-up menu.
I’ll admit I was a bit surprised at the list on my iPhone. I have six apps on my phone that use the microphone. The only app that surprised me was Instagram. I forgot I gave Instagram permission to use the microphone when it added the ability to record video clips with audio.
If you see an app using your microphone, and you are not sure why, touch the slider to turn off the app’s microphone access. If you decide to turn it on again, you can do so by going back to the same spot.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at email@example.com.