A new report from the storied Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto documents the advanced, persistent threats levied against civil society groups and NGOs -- threats that rival those facing any government or Fortune 100 company, but whose targets are much less well-equipped to defend themselves.
Citizen Lab has a remarkable record when it comes to tracking down and exposing cyber-threats, from China's spying on the Dalai Lama to indispensable work on the Russian surveillance apparatus. In their new report, Communities @ Risk: Targeted Digital Threats Against Civil Society , they present a grim, detailed view of the attacks brought to bear on groups concerned with human rights, fair elections, and other core democratic values.
In the digital realm, CSOs face the same threats as the private sector and government, while equipped with far fewer resources to secure themselves.
Counterintuitively, technical sophistication of malware used in these attacks is low, but the level of social engineering employed is high.
Digital attacks against CSOs are persistent, adapting to targets in order to maintain access over time and across platforms.
Targeted digital threats undermine CSOs’ core communications and missions in a significant way, sometimes as a nuisance or resource drain, more seriously as a major risk to individual safety.
Targeted digital threats extend the “reach” of the state (or other threat actors) beyond borders and into “safe havens.”
Communities @ Risk: Targeted Digital Threats Against Civil Society
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