5

I am on MacBook and see:

"Applications would like to receive keystrokes from any application"

A google search for the exact quote reveals very little.

Is "Applications" referring to everything in the Applications directory? Is this a common request on macOS (i.e. nothing to worry about)? Or is this something suspicious (like some program imitating or posing as something harmless)?

Some concerns

  • I'm not sure if "Applications" means all applications in the Applications directory, or something else?
  • I'm not sure if this permission grants certain application(s) access to keystrokes only while the application is actively being used, or even while not in use?
  • Several applications were open when this prompt appeared, and so I do not know which one caused it. Some that were open at the time were desktop versions of whatsapp, discord and slack, as well as chrome, sublime text, and terminal.

Note: running Catalina 10.15.6

Update 1

After clicking 'Open System Preferences' I see 'Discord' is the only application shown. Does this mean "Applications" == Discord?

Also, the question about what this grants access to is indeed explained: this does(!) grant the application(s) access to all keystrokes whether using that app or other apps! (it's not clear whether the app has to be open for the keystrokes to be collected).

enter image description here

Update 2

I read this it's well known discord asks to access (all) keystrokes for it's 'Push to Talk' feature

5
  • 3
    This is somewhat speculative so I'm not going to post it as an answer. The window should say "Discord" and not "Applications", but obviously that was not programmed properly or is fake -- where did you download it from? Better they're nice about it than to use a security exploit to grant themselves invasive permissions on Mac no matter what you say, as Dropbox has done previously. Even if you're not actively using an app it can run processes in the background. So, yes, it could be monitoring keyboard input at all times.
    – l3l_aze
    Aug 25 '20 at 20:25
  • 3
    This would be meant for running a game and using Discord for voice chat. So, in games without voice chat, or which use spatial audio, or where you're muted when dead, you can always talk to teammates. Cheap move, but yeah.
    – l3l_aze
    Aug 25 '20 at 20:29
  • There are 2 bugs of concern in this warning windows.
    – dan
    Jul 30 at 6:50
  • 1. Who is the MacOS authentified caller of this window ( this is a MacOS killing bug ),
    – dan
    Jul 30 at 6:50
  • 2. Use of an anonymous name "Applications" to hide the real caller.
    – dan
    Jul 30 at 6:51
1

I would not allow it under most circumstances. This permission is potentially allowing a keystroke logger to run on your Mac. A keystroke logger is a form of malware that can monitor your activities through listening to what you press on your keyboard.

This can be a very serious security issue as they can potentially "listen" to you as you put in your passwords and then compromise your accounts, such as a bank account or email password.

The only circumstance I can think of to warrant this is if you are installing accessibility hardware(think like for a blind person) which requires more info.

I once allowed this permission for logitech's app so they could custom remap the butons on my mouse. I found this acceptable, because in order to provide the functionality it offered, it did need to listen to my keystrokes across all my apps. I remapped the keys so pressing the mouse side button opened mission control.

Whenever this or another dialog pops up, think, does this app really need/use the feature it's asking for, or is it spying on me, data mining me so it can sell my data, and/or hacking my accounts?

MacOS protects your security with these dialogs and if you enable access to apps you are bypassing these valuable security features. However, if you are trying to run an internet phone app, it will need access to your microphone to function. Security is about balancing needed app permissions while also only granting the minimum access a specific app needs.

However, in this instance, I would not allow it. A request from "Application" looks like malware to me.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .