Citizen Lab Senior Security Researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire was profiled by CNN on his work, including analyzing the computers of those who believe they have been targeted with spy software and identifying malicious software. This work is multi-faceted, and often the perpetrators are difficult to identify. “It’s one thing to figure out if someone’s being spied on,” he said. “It’s an entirely other thing to realize who’s spying on them.”
For example, during the Syrian conflict, Morgan Marquis-Boire worked on identifying pro-democracy activists who were targeted with malware. Government actors sent out emails prompting users to open attachments, often under the ruse of a list of opposition insurgent names. Opening the document would install spyware on their computers. “Some of the stuff we saw in Syria involved incredible understanding of the psychology of the people they were targeting,” he says. “You receive this list and you want to open it to see if you’re on it… everyone is opening these malicious documents, which caused implantation of spyware on their computers,” he said. The spyware would enable hackers to record Skype conversations, view emails, and log keystrokes.
Morgan Marquis-Boire is also head of security at First Look Media, which includes The Intercept, a security news site. He recently began consulting for Amnesty International, advising on the human rights implications of digital technologies.
Read the full CNN interview. Morgan Marquis-Boire appears at the 2:40 mark in the video interview.