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The “Kneber” Botnet, Spear Phishing Attacks and Crimeware

Targeted attacks, known as “spear phishing,” are increasingly exploiting government and military themes in order to compromise defense contractors in the Unites States. [1] In 2009, the Washington Post reported that unknown attackers were able to break into a defense contractor and steal documents pertaining to the Joint Strike Fighter being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. [2] Google was compromised in January 2010 along with other hi-tech companies and defense contractors. [3] The problem is becoming increasingly severe. [4] In fact, the Department of Defense recently released a memo with plans to protect unclassified information passing through the networks of various contractors. [5] The memo recognizes the severity of the ongoing threat and seeks to:

Establish a comprehensive approach for protecting unclassified DoD information transiting or residing on unclassified DIB information systems and networks by incorporating the use of intelligence, operations, policies, standards, information sharing, expert advice and assistance, incident response, reporting procedures, and cyber intrusion damage assessment solutions to address a cyber advanced persistent threat. [5]

From Nart Villeneuve

Kneber botnet catches 2,500 companies worldwide

About 75,000 personal computers in almost 2,500 companies and government agencies across the globe have been caught in a botnet uncovered by a researcher at the US-based NetWitness network forensics firm. Hackers were able to collect logins and passwords for Facebook, Yahoo, Hotmail and other accounts, including online banking sites. They were also able to access some corporate servers used to store confidential data, including one used for processing credit-card payments.

From The Guardian

Threat to online free expression from imminent international accord

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the threat to online free expression from measures to combat digital piracy and copyright violations in an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that is currently being negotiated. The next three-day round of talks about the proposed agreement are due to begin tomorrow in Mexico. From Reporters Without Borders Published… Read more »

Cuba detains U.S. government contractor

The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen working on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development who was distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban activists, State Department officials and congressional sources said Saturday. From The Washington Post By William Booth and Mary Beth Sheridan Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, December 13, 2009… Read more »

The Citizen Lab proudly signs the Madrid Declaration

Affirming that privacy is a fundamental human right set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other human rights instruments and national constitutions; […] From The Public Voice Global Privacy Standards for a Global World The Madrid Privacy Declaration 3 November 2009 Affirming that privacy… Read more »


Research Reports Director Ron Deibert’s blog posts provide summaries and analysis of Citizen Lab research reports and can be found here. John Scott-Railton, Bill Marczak, Siena Anstis, Bahr Abdul Razzak, Masashi Crete-Nishihata, and Ron Deibert. “Reckless VII: Wife of Journalist Slain in Cartel-Linked Killing Targeted with NSO Group’s Spyware,” Citizen Lab Research Report No. 117,… Read more »

China's Eye on the Internet

A press release has been issued by researchers at UC Davis about an upcoming paper on an automated tool that they have been developing, called ConceptDoppler. ConceptDoppler acts as a sort of weather report on changes in Internet censorship in China, using mathematical techniques to cluster words by meaning and identify keywords that are likely… Read more »