A technologist and activist has released a tool for Mac and Windows computers that can identify and uninstall spyware from FlexiSpy, a piece of spying software that has become popular for domestic snooping.

Claudio Guarnieri, co-founder of activist and technologist group Security Without Borders, built a tool called FlexiKiller to counteract and remove the spying software from a victim’s device.

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FlexiSpy has been gaining popularity as a relatively easy to install tool for spying on an individual. Despite being advertised as a tool to “protect children” or “monitor employees.” It has gained a reputation for being used by spouses and partners — in some cases enabling abusive domestic situations.

The commercial availability of the product — the company behind it outwardly advertises its uses and has joked about introducing further invasive services, like a tool for hijacking internet-connected sex toys — makes it accessible to a less tech-savvy audience.

Unlike most malware, which catches on a user’s computer through phishing scams or other deceptive methods, FlexiSpy requires physical access to a device to infect it. The process takes just a few minutes.

Once installed, the software provides the attacker access to messages, location tracking, control over a device’s microphone to allow for spying on conversations, call recording and more extremely invasive features.

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The software is difficult to detect, primarily because it presents itself as a legitimate tool despite its more nefarious uses. For users who are afraid a device may be infected, FlexiKiller can provide protection.

In the documentation for FlexiKiller, Guarnieri noted using the tools will wipe the device of the spying tool entirely. This is beneficial for the user’s safety and privacy, but will also remove any proof the software was installed in the first place. For those who may want to take legal action over the activity, it is advised not to complete the uninstall process.

Guarnieri also warned a user actively spying on a device may notice an attempt to identify or uninstall the spyware, and “could instigate some unwanted reaction on their part.” He advises any user of the tools to “be careful, be wary of these risks and stay safe.”

How to Use FlexiKiller

Windows

Windows users who want to identify and remove FlexiSpy can download the FlexiKiller program from the Security Without Borders website. Click the .exe file and run the program, and it will present a screen that looks like the command prompt. It will display if FlexiSpy was detected on the device.

If the spyware is spotted, it will ask the user if they would like to continue with the uninstall process by typing “y” for yes or “n” for no. Select one and continue. If yes, the program will remove the software completely from the device.

Mac

For Mac users, downloading and installing FlexiKiller will require opening the terminal window. This can be done by searching for terminal in spotlight search or opening the utilities folder in finder and opening terminal.

With the terminal window open, enter the following command:
bash <(curl -s https://ops.securitywithoutborders.org/flexispy/kill.sh )

The command will download and execute a simple script that will check for any traces of FlexiSPY installed on the device. It will ask users if they want to uninstall it, which they can respond to by typing 1 for yes or 2 for no. The program will carry out either command.