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[liberationtech] Defending Dissidents from Targeted Digital Surveillance

Jodi Schneider jschneider at
Fri Dec 2 11:52:07 PST 2016

Any chance this will be streamed or recorded?

On Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at>

> From: Bill Marczak <wrm at>
> *Title:* Defending Dissidents from Targeted Digital Surveillance
> *Speaker:* William R. Marczak
> *Advisor:* Prof. Vern Paxson
> *Date:* Friday, Dec 09, 2016
> *Time:* 12PM - 1PM
> *Location:* 205 South Hall, UC Berkeley
> *Food:* Light lunch
> *RSVP requested:*
> d/e/1FAIpQLSfSeROEo6bOTvNzZw6KTf--Lgr5-yP5TFcpT0qY66x9foyHtg/viewform
> *Abstract:*
> Computer security research devotes extensive efforts to protecting
> individuals against indiscriminate, large-scale attacks such as those used
> by cybercriminals, and protecting institutions against targeted cyber
> attacks conducted by nation-states (so-called “Advanced Persistent
> Threats'').  Where these two problem domains intersect, however---targeted
> cyber attacks by nation-states against individuals---has received
> considerably less study.
> In this talk, I will first detail my efforts to characterize this space,
> based on analysis of an extensive collection of suspicious files and links
> targeting activists, opposition members, and nongovernmental organizations
> in the Middle East over a period of several years.  I will present attack
> campaigns involving a variety of commercial “lawful intercept” and
> off-the-shelf tools, and explain Internet scanning techniques I used to map
> out the potential broader scope of such activity.  Based on these first
> efforts, I will present the results of my IRB-approved research study
> involving in-depth interviews with 30 potential targets of abusive
> surveillance in four countries.  The results give insight into potential
> targets’ perceptions of the risks associated with their online activity,
> and their security posture.  Based on my study results, I will propose
> Himaya, a defensive approach I developed that readily integrates with
> targets’ workflow to provide near real-time scanning of a subject’s email
> messages to check for threats.  I will explain Himaya’s architecture and
> provide preliminary data from its beta deployment.
> --
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