Targeted Threats

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

Latest Research

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.

Hacking Team’s US Nexus

This report outlines an extensive US nexus for a network of servers forming part of the collection infrastructure of Hacking Team’s Remote Control System. The network, which includes data centers across the US, is used to obscure government clients of Hacking Team. It is used by at least 10 countries ranging from Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan to Korea, Poland and Ethiopia. In addition we highlight an intriguing US-only Hacking Team circuit.

Hacking Team and the Targeting of Ethiopian Journalists

In this report, we identified three instances where Ethiopian journalist group ESAT was targeted with spyware in the space of two hours by a single attacker. In each case the spyware appeared to be RCS (Remote Control System), programmed and sold exclusively to governments by Milan-based Hacking Team.