ComputerCOP: The Dubious ‘Internet Safety Software’ That Hundreds of Police Agencies Have Distributed to Families

Borderline good intention, horribly poor implemention and oversight, possibly sprinkled with some bribery and vote-buying. This is a prime example of why you don’t blindly trust any organisation or body, without at least some basic modicum of duty of care or technical competence. A straightforward security audit would have red-flagged this software immediately, but instead it was blindly distributed to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of unsuspecting families, with an official government seal, and now at best they’re drastically inconvenienced, at worst they’re already well compromised.

“The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. It isn’t particularly effective either, except for generating positive PR for the law enforcement agencies distributing it. As security software goes, we observed a product with a keystroke-capturing function, also called a “keylogger,” that could place a family’s personal information at extreme risk by transmitting what a user types over the Internet to third-party servers without encryption. That means many versions of ComputerCOP leave children (and their parents, guests, friends, and anyone using the affected computer) exposed to the same predators, identity thieves, and bullies that police claim the software protects against.”

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