Run a script when one or more sensors fail.
C Shell Makefile
Latest commit 7c7fe42 Jan 11, 2017 @defuse committed on GitHub Merge pull request #8 from spuder/patch-1
Changes /usr/bin to /usr/local/bin


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SWATd lets you configure 'sensors' that check your PC's external environment. When enough sensors 'fail', SWATd will run a script for you.

Sensors are commands or scripts that get executed repeatedly. A sensor is said to fail when its exit code makes a transition from zero (working) to non-zero (not working). This makes configuration easy and powerful. For example, you can make a sensor that checks if your website is online, and then make a command to alert you when the sensor fails.

SWATd was originally written as a tool to defend against theft by criminals or to detect when your computer is captured by police. For example, you can set a sensor to detect if your WiFi network is in range, and when it goes out of range, automatically unmount encrypted volumes. So if someone steals your laptop from your house, your files will be safe. Since SWATd only counts the failure when the sensor changes from a "WiFi in range" state to a "WiFi out of range" state, if you use your laptop somewhere else, you don't need to worry about disabling SWATd every time you leave your house.

WARNING: While this may be helpful for some, there are significant risks. For one, in some countries, including the United States, you could go to jail on obstruction of justice charges just for running SWATd, even though you are innocent. Second, SWATd is not perfect: law enforcement or a smart thief can still dump your RAM, thus getting your encryption keys, before doing anything that would make a sensor fail. Use with caution, and consult an attorney first. It's most likely the case that if you find yourself needing to rely on SWATd, then you have already lost.

Building and Installing

To build SWATd, cd into the source code directory and run make. This will create a swatd executable. If you want to install it as a daemon, refer to your operating system's manuals. To run SWATd from a terminal (non-daemon), pass the -s option.

Arch Linux

To install SWATd on Arch Linux, copy swatd into /usr/local/bin:

# make
# install swatd /usr/local/bin/

Create the configuration file (See the Configuration section below):

# mkdir /etc/swatd
# chmod 700 /etc/swatd
# vim /etc/swatd/swatd.conf

If you want SWATd to start when you boot, add the following to /etc/systemd/system/swatd.service.


ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/swatd -p /var/run/


Then run:

# systemctl enable swatd.service
# systemctl start swatd.service

You can check the status of SWATd by running:

# systemctl status swatd.service

Read SWATd's log entries by running:

# journalctl /usr/local/bin/swatd


To install SWATd on Debian, copy swatd into /usr/local/bin:

# make
# install swatd /usr/local/bin/

Create the configuration file (See the Configuration section below):

# mkdir /etc/swatd
# chmod 700 /etc/swatd
# vim /etc/swatd/swatd.conf

Then copy swatd.init to /etc/init.d/ and enable it:

# cp swatd.init /etc/init.d/swatd
# update-rc.d swatd defaults


By default, SWATd looks for a configuration file in /etc/swatd/swatd.conf. Alternatively, you can provide a configuration file path to SWATd with the -c option. In any case, the configuration file must not be world writable, or SWATd will refuse to run.

The configuration file syntax is extremely simple. There are only three options: interval, threshold, and execute. To set a value for one of the options, begin a line with its name, followed by a colon, followed by the value. Everything after a '#' is treated as a comment (ignored). Blank lines are ignored. All other lines define a sensor command.

interval is the number of seconds to wait between sensor checks. threshold is the number of sensors that must fail before assuming you are being raided. execute is the command to execute when you are being raided.

Here is an example configuration file:

# This configuration makes SWATd continually check if /tmp/foobar exists. If
# /tmp/foobar stops existing (goes from existing to not existing), SWATd will
# write some text to the file /tmp/ran.

# =============================================================================
# The number of seconds to wait between sensor checks.
# =============================================================================
interval: 30

# =============================================================================
# The number of sensors that must 'fail' at the same time.
# =============================================================================
threshold: 1

# =============================================================================
# The command to execute when 'threshold' sensors fail.
# =============================================================================
execute: echo "haiii" > /tmp/ran

# =============================================================================
# Sensor commands.
# A sensor has 'failed' when the exit code transisions from zero to non-zero.
# If a sensor's exit code is transitions from zero to 255, the command will be 
# executed immediately regardless of the 'threshold' setting, and the failure
# count will not be incremented.
# WARNING: Sensor commands MUST terminate.
# =============================================================================

test -e /tmp/foobar