Spyware

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Concept.png Spyware
(malware)Rdf-icon.png
Exodus 1.png
One of many apps from the Google Play Store which secretly installed the Exodus spyware on its victims' phone.
Interest ofSecurity Without Borders

Spyware is malware intended to report on users' activities and/or exfiltrate their personal data. It is typically hidden inside a legitimate piece of software.

Functionality

Typical functionality of spyware includes exfiltration of personal data, summaries of device usage such as a list of installed apps, and surreptitious use of hardware devices such as GPS, cameras or microphones.

Origins

Spyware is created and sold on a black market, amongst other actors, by intelligence agencies.[1]

Purposes

Spyware may meet commercial objectives by providing a source of free data about users' behaviour, hardware and software. Of more relevance in the Wikispooks context is spyware which is created to target particular individuals.

Distribution

Distribution of spyware is sometimes targetted, for example to satisfy legal restrictions and/or to try to prevent its discovery. The Exodus spyware was available for download from the Google Playstore from 2016-2019.[1]

Legality

The legal status of spyware is in some countries derived from outdated historical precedents such as manually installed wiretaps. "Using spyware with warrants or a judge's authorization is, generally speaking, legal in most countries in Europe, as well as the United States."[1] However, its non-invasive nature (beyond plausible deniability almost to the point of undetectability) means that -- like the nominal oversight of intelligence agencies -- these restrictions can mean little in practice. After a high profile expose in Vice magazine, the Italian police raided eSurv, producer of the Exodus spyware alleged by legal and technical experts to breaks multiple laws.[2]

 

An example

Page nameDescription
Exodus


References