Detecting Government Computer Spyware
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
As some of us move through life, fat dumb and happy (well, I do), Governments are increasingly spying on activists, journalists and essentially anyone those governments wish to infiltrate, frighten, inhibit and silence. With access to advanced technology and deep pockets to finance it, some governments have developed unconventional spyware undetectable by normal security antivirus software.
The spyware is formidable, able to remotely seize and control a PC without the user’s knowledge and read everything on the user’s computer, read every letter typed on the keyboard, and secretly obtain audio and video from the user’s webcam. Sounds like something out of “Mission Impossible” or a James Bond film, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, the sophisticated spyware is allegedly successfully used and can put the target user at severe risk.
Enter: the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft and Privacy International, organizations dedicated to protecting internet users from surveillance. These 4 organizations have combined to promote a free software tool named “Detekt” that can find sophisticated government spyware on a PC. Detekt was created by Claudio Guarnieri, a security researcher working with those organizations. The organizations wish to alert targets to the surveillance and to enhance the public’s awareness of governmental surveillance.
Detekt is downloaded free from a provided site and after a scan of up to 30 minutes, will give a report on whether or not a PC is infected with the sophisticated spyware. While Detekt is reportedly effective in detecting the spyware, it cannot remove the spyware. In addition, Detekt is designed only for PCs; not for MACs, as PCs comprise the majority of computers.
Though Detekt is designed for specifically targeted groups, such as journalists and activists, it can also be used by an average user.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO download Detekt free here: https://resistsurveillance.org/
DON’T attempt to use Detekt on a MAC.
DO follow the easy steps listed on that site to download the software and scan your computer
DON’T expect Detekt to remove spyware from your computer
DO immediately disconnect your computer from the internet and seek technical professional help if the scan alerts you to the spyware
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.