Targeted Threats

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Investigations into the prevalence and impact of digital espionage operations against civil society groups.

Latest Research

Tibetan Uprising Day Malware Attacks

Hundreds of members of the Tibetan community are being targeted by email-based malware attacks that leverage the March 10 Tibetan Uprising anniversary as a theme. This report analyzes two March 10 related attacks. One using a new malware family we call MsAttacker , and another using the ShadowNet malware family and command and control infrastructure related to previous campaigns that targeted the Tibetan community.

Behind the Syrian Conflict’s Digital Frontlines

Citizen Lab Research Fellow John Scott-Railton is one of the authors of a report entitled “Behind the Syrian Conflict’s Digital Frontlines,” released today by FireEye, that documents a hacking operation that successfully breached the Syrian opposition.

Malware Attack Targeting Syrian ISIS Critics

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.

Schrodinger’s Cat Video and the Death of Clear-Text

This report provides a detailed analysis of two products sold for facilitating targeted surveillance known as network injection appliances. These products allow for the easy deployment of targeted surveillance implants and are being sold by commercial vendors to countries around the world. Compromising a target becomes as simple as waiting for the user to view unencrypted content on the Internet.

Police Story: Hacking Team’s Government Surveillance Malware

We analyze a newly discovered Android implant that we attribute to Hacking Team and highlight the political subtext of the bait content and attack context. In addition, we expose the functionality and architecture of Hacking Team’s Remote Control system and operator tradecraft in never-before published detail.