Ukrainian developer MacPaw today released SpyBuster, a new (and completely free!) Mac app that identifies software built by and reporting to “undesirable countries of origin” — such as Russia and Belarus.
SpyBuster also lets you block those connections so that you can prevent additional data being sent to overseas servers, where it may not be protected by the same privacy laws that we’re accustomed to in other countries.
SpyBuster lets you crack down on Russian spies
A number of popular apps and services that are available on Mac — such as Telegram and VK Messenger — are owned by Russian companies. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sending data home, but they could be. (After the invasion of Ukraine last month, a Telegram representative denied that the company has servers or developers in Russia.)
SkyBuster is designed to make that kind of information easily available to the average Mac user. It scans your system to identify the software you have installed, then tells you if any of it could be a concern.
Rid your Mac of unsavory apps
SkyBuster has two methods of scanning your system. Its Static Analysis tool looks at everything that’s installed and establishes whether it has any links to countries like Russia or Belarus. It works even if the app has never been used.
“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 new SpyBuster webpage.
There’s also a Dynamic Analysis tool, which monitors the behavior of your macOS software in real-time. It can keep an eye on the data flow to determine which servers (and which countries) each app connects to.
SkyBuster also offers an “Unwanted Connections” popup. As soon as it detects potentially unwanted activity, it will notify you of it — and give you the option to allow or deny the connection as it surfaces.
Why you should care
Unlike the U.S. and others, which have privacy laws that protect your data, Russia in 2016 passed a law that forces Russian companies to store sensitive user info for six months — and its accompanying metadata for three years.
What’s more, online services — like those offering messaging and email — are required to allow Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to access that data whenever it wants, without a court order.
“Now FSB can simply call a local office of any tech company, and bam — they have access to your photos and text history,” MacPaw explains. SpyBuster was built to help Mac users stop sending that data to Russian servers.
Sadly, SpyBuster cannot wipe any data you may have already sent — but it can stop it building up. You can download the app for free today.