The real ‘Gatekeeper’ software?

by subacati

I 1995 we were introduced to Angela Bennett and her run-in with the people behind 'Gatekeeper', a backdoor trojan masquerading as a system security software! :left: .
We thought it was just a movie…. …

In the movie "The Net", a group of criminals manage to convince a lot of people, including many government and public service institutions, to install their 'hacker proof' security software. But this software turns out to be a scam. Instead of preventing hacking, it actually allows these criminals full access to every system that has it installed. Systems that include Police, hospitals and even customs and immigration. :insane: .
Many people dismissed this as been implausible on the grounds that it would be impossible to dupe that many people.

A Canadian company, Absolute Software, has found a way to do exactly that however! They have convinced computer manufacturers to embed a backdoor trojan in the bios used in their laptops! :insane: .
This trojan, once activated, will attempt to contact their server on a regular basis. Once it makes contact, it will essentially ask their server if all is in order and await further instructions. Absolute Software then has the power to instruct this trojan (which they call Computraceยฎ) to erase data or disable the laptop. They can also gather forensic data from wifi, 3G or even ethernet connections to locate the laptop! :left: .

I brief explanation of how this system works is available on their website here. :awww: .

Now, this sounds like a great idea untill to consider that they are breaking the law in many countries! This product is a security device (bios is considered hardware] and their service is a security service! This means that for them to legally sell, install or maintain this product in South Africa, they must be a registered Security company. Registered, that is, with PSIRA. PSIRA is the regulator of all non-governmental security services in South Africa. ( read this)

Now, to be rgistered, they would actually have to have a registered business in South Africa. But, of course, they are only registered as a business in Canada. And, as far as I have been able to ascertain, they are only registered as a software company, and not as a security company! :insane: .

And they are soliciting South African citizens as clients as can be seen in this thread! :irked: .

But the really scary part is that the backdoor component that is embedded in the bios is already there when you buy the laptop, whether you want it or not! and there is no way to remove it short of hacking the bios, which could brick your laptop! :insane: .

This company has no respect for the laws of the countries they operate in. If a client, who is not resident in Canada, has a grievance against them, they have no legal recourse and can take no action against them. This company is operating outside the jurisdiction of the countries where they're flogging their wares and their customers have no protection from them whatsover.

But, of course, you don't need to use their service right? Sure, but you can't stop them from using it against you either! because, just like Gatekeeper, it's on your computer just waiting to be used against you! :insane: .

disclaimer: This article represents my opinion and is in no way a reflection of the integrity of Absolute Software or it's affiliates