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[liberationtech] Defending Dissidents from Targeted Digital Surveillance

Yosem Companys companys at
Wed Dec 7 19:40:33 PST 2016

The seminar below shouldbe available on live stream:

> 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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