Ukrainian developer MacPaw has released SpyBuster, a new Mac app that identifies software built by and reporting to “undesirable countries of origin” — such as Russia. The app is free and is available for download from the MacPaw website.
Static Analysis identifies applications with undesirable countries of origin, such as the Russian Federation and Belarus.
Learn why this can be potentially dangerous for your data.
SpyBuster also allows users to block those connections, which will prevent any additional data from being sent overseas, where the privacy laws in some countries are less than effective.
Russian companies own a large number of popular apps and services, including Telegram and other messaging apps. While that doesn’t guarantee the apps are sharing your personal data and usage with their home base, in today’s world, it is certainly possible. (Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, a Telegram representative denied that the company has servers or developers in Russia.)
SkyBuster scans your system to identify the software you have installed, then tells you if any of it could be a concern. Its Static Analysis tool examines everything you have installed on your Mac, looking for any links to countries like Russia or Belarus.
“Applications are classified as unwanted based on a verified list that we have collected ourselves, as well as by bundle ID and other characteristics,” MacPaw explains on its SpyBuster webpage.
Meanwhile, a Dynamic Analysis tool sits in the background, monitoring the behavior of your macOS software in real-time. It watches your Mac’s data flow, monitoring which servers (and which countries) each app connects to. An “Unwanted Connections” popup will appear as soon as the app detects potentially unwanted activity, notifying you of the activity. It will then offer you the option to allow or deny the connection.
Sharing information with Russian software firms is dangerous for users’ privacy, due to a 2016 Russian law that requires Russian companies to store sensitive user info for six months — and its accompanying metadata for three years. Online services, such as messaging services or email providers, are required to turn over the data to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) whenever it wants, without the need for a court order.
SpyBuster is available as a free download on the SpyBuster webpage.