Finnish security specialist F-Secure wants to use an antivirus program to search for the German state Trojan and shut it down. The German government will not get a “free ride”.
The Finnish security specialist F-Secure will actively search for the German state Trojan with its anti-malware software and deactivate it. “We are not obliged to cooperate with the state and will therefore not do so,” said F-Secure manager Rüdiger Trost. F-Secure would thus thwart the German government’s plans to enable the secret services to read communications via WhatsApp and other encrypted messenger services in the future.
“State Trojans don’t get a free pass from us,” Trost told the German Press Agency on Saturday. From his company’s point of view, every Trojan is malware that needs to be fought. “That is why we switch them off when we discover them. We are not obliged to cooperate with the state and therefore we will not do so.
The Federal Cabinet decided on Wednesday that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the Federal Intelligence Service and the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD) should in future be allowed to monitor not only ongoing conversations via Messenger, but also messages sent via Messenger. A corresponding change in the law on the so-called source TKÜ still requires the approval of the Bundestag.
Smartphones more than just phones
Trost said that the secret services would first try to exploit security holes in the devices and programs. In addition, the state authorities would probably also approach individual providers of these devices and operating systems and demand the programming of backdoors. The services would focus on mobile platforms.
But Trost emphasized that this does not only affect communication with WhatsApp or any other messenger. “The smartphone is now also a wallet, with services such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, and allows payments to be tracked”. Moreover, for some people, the smartphone is also a car key, thanks to functions such as Carkey, which the Trojan can access in case of doubt.
FDP deputy faction leader Stephan Thomae warned on Saturday that the state Trojan would represent a massive encroachment on civil rights. He said there were considerable constitutional reservations against it. Well organized and financed crime and terror organizations would easily trick him, Thomae said. If the Trojan were to be used by the intelligence services, he said, going to the Federal Constitutional Court was “probably unavoidable”.