In a recent article for the Council on Foreign Relations, the Citizen Lab’s Lennart Maschmeyer discusses how repressive regimes are becoming increasingly effective at targeting opposition groups using digital espionage, both at home and abroad. Specifically, civil society organizations (CSOs) are extremely vulnerable to such attacks, as evidenced by a recent Citizen Lab report showcasing a malware campaign levelled against members of the Tibetan diaspora.
Maschmeyer also outlines six obstacles facing CSOs in mitigating digital attacks. Among these challenges include a lack of standardized data, cross-border targeting, and a misplaced focus on the technical aspects– instead of the social engineering mechanisms– of these attacks. Additionally, he outlines that each community faces specific and tailored threats that make broad approaches to security training challenging.
“Tibetan diaspora organizations targeted by Chinese threat groups may face significantly different types of threats than Syrian opposition members targeted by both the regime and other non-state groups.”