PilferShush Jammer

297 reviews
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About this app

PilferShush Jammer blocks other apps attempting to utilise the microphone without your knowledge. Some apps use hidden processes to record tracking audio in the background that is either generated by nearby beacons, television commercials, streamed music services or websites. This tracking audio is transmitted between 18 kHz and 22 kHz (near ultra high frequency) which is beyond the range of typical human hearing but within the recording range of a typical Android phone.

To block unwanted use of the microphone by hidden app processes, PilferShush Jammer requests use of the hardware microphone from the Android system and holds it. This technique locks up the microphone from any other apps attempting to gain access to it. This technique has been tested only on user apps, not system apps. The Android system should halt PilferShush Jammer from blocking the microphone whenever a phone call is received or made.

When the jamming technique is running and the microphone is locked up, PilferShush Jammer posts a notification to keep the user informed that it is running. Tests have shown that it uses 0% CPU, 0% network and 43.6mb RAM when running for over an hour.

This is an experimental app made as part of research into audio counter-surveillance methods within the Android and IoT world.

It requires RECORD_AUDIO permission so that it may access and lock up the microphone.

It does NOT record or listen to any audio.
It does NOT connect to the internet.

Version 2.0 Active Jammer addition:

Tones can be emitted with a carrier frequency and a drift limit with rate all constrained to NUHF of 18 kHz to 24 kHz depending on the device capabilities. For instance 20000 Hz carrier, drift limit 1000 Hz and rate slow - will output random frequency between 19 kHz and 21 kHz approximately every second.

Version 3.0 Jammers run as a service:

Both the active and passive jammers now run as a (foreground) service that should accurately indicate whether they are running or not. This is dependent on both the Android OS (power management) and any App Managers that may destroy running services.

As this app seeks to block microphone use it is important to NOT dismiss or hide the notification otherwise you may forget it is running.

Also includes a scanner to check user installed apps for NUHF and Audio Content Recognition (ACR) SDKs as well as any services or receivers.

Version 4.0 Redesign
Major overhaul of the design to make information clearer and to simplify typical uses of the app

Android 10 (Q) concurrent audio update: audio capture policy that means other recording apps can bump a prior recording audio app from the microphone.
(see https://source.android.com/compatibility/android-cdd#5_4_5_concurrent_capture )
If another user app tries to take over the microphone from PilferShush Jammer, the latest build (4.4.1) will try to restart a running passive jammer service automatically so that it complies with "the one that started capture the most recently receives audio" (quote from Android API docs). Apps that try to record audio but do not have access to the microphone will be given zeroed audio data (silence) by the system even though they may still appear to be recording audio.

White noise output may not be very effective at blocking and is a somewhat annoying sound.

The speaker output may not have enough amplitude to block unwanted NUHF signals - testing will determine.

Active Jammer code rewrite for version 4.5.0

Source code is available here: https://github.com/kaputnikGo/PilferShushJammer
Research and Project webpage : https://www.cityfreqs.com.au/pilfer.php
Updated on
Jun 21, 2022

Data safety

Safety starts with understanding how developers collect and share your data. Data privacy and security practices may vary based on your use, region, and age. The developer provided this information and may update it over time.
No data shared with third parties
Learn more about how developers declare sharing
No data collected
Learn more about how developers declare collection
297 reviews
A Google user
October 20, 2019
Does what it says on the tin and more. You can choose white noise or tone generation; passively engage the mic, preventing other apps or processes from accessing it; and look for malicious apps trying to surveil you. The only permission it asks for is to access the microphone. So far, so excellent.
28 people found this review helpful
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A Google user
November 22, 2019
This app is great for privacy but can effect your pets. It states it's a research app and it's very important research that's being done. I'm waiting to find out a little more about the project as a whole because I believe this could be extremely important research. It appears to work really well so far, if nothing else it will give you a list of bad apps that use NUHF to listen in on group conversations. My only concern is the effect it could potentially pose to animals but they'll tell you.
61 people found this review helpful
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December 7, 2019
Audio output generated by this app is via the device speaker ~60dBA. An audio signal frequency between 20Hz and 24kHz itself will not harm any living thing with ears. However, the amplitude of a given audio signal can do harm. But in the case of this app it would require more amplitude than any mobile device can generate, ie + 100dBA.
June 6, 2022
Was working great and now it crashes, no there isn't any other app in control of the mic, but until it's updated skip this one
6 people found this review helpful
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What's new

* dupe/move fdroid metadata en-AU to en-US
* fixes for TR translation
* bugfix for Android 12 notification changes causing crashes
* versionCode 43