Privacy SOS

Privacy and human rights groups release tool to identify government spyware

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Above: Promotional video from a company that sells spyware to governments.

Ever wondered if government agents have installed malware on your computer? New software, released free to the public today, aims to help you find out. Detekt, compatible with PCs running Microsoft Windows, "is a free tool that scans your Windows computer for traces of known surveillance spyware used to target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world." A joint project of Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Privacy International, the tool is a response to worldwide incidences of authoritarian governments using dissident and journalist computers against them. In some countries, spying conducted via malware leads to arrest, imprisonment, and torture.

As its producers are careful to prominently announce, the Detekt software cannot guarantee that your computer is secure. But it's a (free, open source) weapon in your arsenal of digital security. It might just save some lives. Check it out.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.