This report describes a malware attack on a Syrian citizen media group critical of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Though we are unable to conclusively attribute the attack to ISIS or its supporters, a link to ISIS is plausible. The malware used in the attack differs substantially from campaigns linked to the Syrian regime, and the attack is against a group that is an active target of ISIS forces. In the interest of highlighting a developing threat, this post analyzes the attack and provides a list of Indicators of Compromise.
In an article published on openDemocracy.net, Citizen Lab Senior Legal Advisor Sarah McKune writes about the digital threats that civil society organizations (CSOs) face in carrying out their work, which undermine their privacy and compromise sensitive information. “To address this problem we must expand the terms and scope of the debate, exploring the link between the right to privacy and access to digital security more fully,” said McKune.
Jon Penney, a law professor at Dalhousie University and Research Fellow at the Citizen Lab, was interviewed by VICE Motherboard regarding the dynamic between Canada’s security agencies and the courts. He explained the government’s tendency to fight back against the court’s insistence that CSIS and the Communications Security Estabilishment Canada (CSEC) must keep them up to date on their operations.
Citizen Lab Senior Researcher Helmi Noman was interviewed by the International Business Times regarding the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), and its attack of several international news sites. The SEA is a group of hackers in support of Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad’s regime, known to target opposition political group.
Citizen Lab Post-Doctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons spoke to a number of media outlets this month on privacy issues in Canada, ranging from topics such as the expansion of Toronto Police Service’s surveillance technologies, the collection of social media data by the government, and concerns with particular mobile applications.
In an op-ed on OpenCanada.org, Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert argues that law enforcement and intelligence agencies such as the US’s NSA, UK’s GCHQ and Canada’s CSE must be highly accountable, transparent to democratically elected representatives, and unleashed to act only in tightly circumscribed way, in order to protect the liberal democratic society in which we live.