Independent Researcher Claudio Guarnieri has partnered with Privacy International, Digitale Gesellschaft, Amnesty International, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to publicly release Detekt, a free tool that allows journalists and human rights defenders to scan their computers for traces of known surveillance spyware, which was developed by Guarnieri in tandem with other Citizen Lab researchers.
Detekt is intended to help individuals to carry out their work without fear of surveillance, harassment, and arrest. Though the software does not guarantee that a computer is not infected, Detekt uncovers spyware commonly used by governments and the security companies that manufacture them. As developers are likely to update their software to avoid detection, Guarnieri and those affiliated with producing Detekt are encouraging other security researchers to contribute in keeping the tool up-to-date and documenting unknown spyware that it does not yet recognize.
Saeed Al-Shehabi, a Bahraini political activist living in the UK who was targeted by commercial surveillance software FinFisher, told the Huffington Post that Detekt allows him to feel safer by scanning his computer for software that may be providing Bahraini authorities with information on him.
Claudio Guarnieri has been involved in a number of Citizen Lab reports, including “The SmartPhone Who Loved Me: FinFisher Goes Mobile,” “You Only Click Twice: FinFisher’s Global Proliferation,” “For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying,” as well as a series of reports concerning Hacking Team’s spyware.