Amnesty International has released software that tells you when governments are spying on you.
Most anti-malware software doesn’t notice some of the software governments use to spy on their (and other countries’) citizens. Apparently, such spying software leaves some tell-tale signs. I’d love to know what those are, Needless to say I’m currently speculating widely.
It's easier to name the countries that are not using these spying tools than those that are.
There’s some skepticism – not entirely surprisingly – from someone who advises the government about security:
Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey, who advises governments on security issues, wondered how easy it would be for Amnesty and its partners to maintain Detekt.
"It's not really their core business," he said. "Are they going to keep updating the software because the spyware variants change daily?"
I think the professor is being disingenuous. If there’s one thing we know about the security and privacy communities, it’s that they will flock to help maintain stuff like this. He further pooh-poohs:
He also questioned how useful it would be against regimes that used specially written software rather than commercial versions that were well known and documented.
What? You mean it can’t magically predict new attacks? This guy isn’t on the level. Anti-malware software is always going to be largely reactive. That doesn’t mean we don’t use anti-virus software.
Government spying software has a rather different threat profile to most snooping software. It’s trying to achieve different things for a different reason, probably with a different urgency.