Investigations into the prevalence and impact of digital espionage operations against civil society groups.
Featured in Targeted Threats
CBC: WhatsApp Attributes Hack of 1,400 Users to NSO Group Technology
Citizen Lab senior researcher John Scott-Railton discusses why WhatsApp is suing NSO Group after discovering their spyware was used to target 1,400 users—100 of whom were members of civil society—and why this is a significant bellwether.
Ethiopian’s penchant for commercial spyware is notorious, as is its pattern of digital espionage against journalists, activists, and other entities—many of which are based overseas—that seek to promote government accountability and are therefore viewed as political threats. Yet the Ethiopian government and others like it have faced little pressure to cease this particular strain of digital targeting.
This report describes how Ethiopian dissidents in the US, UK, and other countries were targeted with emails containing sophisticated commercial spyware posing as Adobe Flash updates and PDF plugins. Targets include a US-based Ethiopian diaspora media outlet, a PhD student, a lawyer, and even a Citizen Lab researcher.
Claudio X. González, the director of Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad (MCCI: Mexicans Against Impunity and Corruption), becomes the 22nd known individual abusively targeted with NSO’s spyware technology in Mexico.
Citizen Lab, along with partners Open Effect, the University of New Mexico, and comic book artist Jason Li, have launched Secure Accounts as a free resource to help users better understand potential threats to their online identities and the steps they can take to protect themselves.
The purchase of a $400 million stake in spyware company NSO Group by Blackstone Group LP has reportedly fallen through. Reports of the deal attracted critical attention from a range of organizations, including Mexican NGOs involved in investigating NSO, Access Now, and Business and Human Rights.