Free tool to detect surveillance spyware has been launched by global union of human rights organizations, including Electronic Frontier Foundation and Amnesty International.
Detekt as stated is the very first openly available tool that can trace surveillance spyware used by the governments for reading private emails and can remotely turn on the computer’s microphone or camera and record the activities secretly.
The goal of Detekt surveillance spyware is to make human rights activists and journalist equipped with this free spyware tool to notice they have been hacked.
Amnesty International wrote on Thursday with a statement that “Our ultimate aim is for human rights defenders, journalists and civil society groups to be able to carry out their legitimate work without fear f surveillance, harassment, intimidation, arrest or torture.”
Detekt tool was developed by the German security researcher Mr. Claudio Guarnieri, who investigates government abuse of spying software for years. He usually teams up with other researchers from University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.
At the time of their investigation, Guarnieri together with his colleagues have discovered that Bahraini government is using spying software created by the German Company called FinFisher for spying human rights activities. They have also discovered that Ethiopian government is spying journalists from Europe and USA using other software created and developed by Hacking Team, other company that is selling off-the-shelf spying tools.
Guarnieri has developed Detekt from software they have used during the time of investigation. According to Claudio Guarnieri, the objective of Detekt is not for creating generic malware detector, instead, this is a “free and open source utility for human rights workers and concerened citizens to try to detect potential presence of spyware we’ve observes being used against the civil society”.
Guarnieri told Mashable: “I decided to release it to the public because keeping it private made no sense. It’s better to give more people as possible the chance to test and identify the problem as quickly as possible, rather than keeping this unknown and private and let it rot.”
Detekt is only working with windows. The tool is designed for discovering malware developed by commercial firms and cybercriminals using spyware such a Gh0st RAT and Blackshades RAT.
This tool has its own limitations, although it can scan but it will not remove the malware infection that is why it is stated in Detekt’s official site that once there is a trace of malware from your computer, stop using it right away and the search for help. This might not also detect some new versions of spyware developed by Hacking Team, FinFisher and other similar companies.
Detekt software warns from “readme” file thet “If Detekt does not find anything; this unfortunately cannot be considered a clean bill of health.”
A researcher Joana Rutkowska, who developed security-minded OS Qubes said computers having traditional Operating System (OS) are naturally insecure and tools like Detekt won’t help. Sha told Mashable that “Releasing yet another malware scanner does nothing to address the primary problem.” “Yet, it might create a false sense of security for users.
However, Guarnieri opposed, stating that Detekt is not just a silver-bullet solution to be used intentionally instead of commercial anti-virus software and any other security tools.
He said “telling activists and journalists to spend 50 Euros a year for some antivirus license in emergency situations isn’t very helpful,” adding that Detekt is “not just a tool.” But this is also an idea to spark discussion within the government using intrusive spyware that is unregulated.
According to Mikko Hypponen, the famous security expert, Detekt is good project since the targeted audiences are journalists and activists. They don’t usually have access to costly commercial tools.
“Since Detekt only focuses on detecting a handful of spy tools — but detecting them very well— it might actually outperform traditional antivirus products in this particular area,” he notified Mashable.
Guarnieri dismissed the comparisons between Detekt and commercial spyware. He quoted “Antivirus software is rigorously evaded every time this kind of spyware is released and used. We are using detection techniques that have proved to be successful up to this point, and the goal is to provide it to the public and have the quickest and largest adoption possible.”
Detekt distinguish itself:
After a successful detection of a Spyware, it also tells you about what to do Next: