The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), human rights, and global security. Learn more »

In Focus

China’s Great Cannon

This post describes our analysis of China’s “Great Cannon,” our term for an attack tool that we identify as separate from, but co-located with, the Great Firewall of China. The first known usage of the Great Cannon is in the recent large-scale novel DDoS attack on both GitHub and servers used by GreatFire.org.

Tibetan Uprising Day Malware Attacks

Hundreds of members of the Tibetan community are being targeted by email-based malware attacks that leverage the March 10 Tibetan Uprising anniversary as a theme. This report analyzes two March 10 related attacks. One using a new malware family we call MsAttacker , and another using the ShadowNet malware family and command and control infrastructure related to previous campaigns that targeted the Tibetan community.

Hacking Team Reloaded? US-Based Ethiopian Journalists Again Targeted with Spyware

The research findings documented in this report suggest that Hacking Team may have continued to provide updated versions of its spyware to the same attacker who have targeted ESAT journalists based in the United States in 2014, despite reports of use of the spyware against journalists.

Research News

Sarah McKune on China’s targeting of “foreign hostile forces” in cyberspace

Senior Legal Advisor Sarah McKune has contributed a chapter to a new book from Oxford University Press, China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy and Politics in the Digital Domain (eds. Jon R. Lindsay, Tai Ming Cheung, Derek S. Reveron). Her chapter is entitled “’Foreign Hostile Forces’: The Human Rights Dimension of China’s Cyber Campaigns.”

Jon Penney on Canada’s Bill C-51

In an article published in the Institute for Research on Public Policy’s (IRPP) “Policy Options” blog, Research Fellow Jon Penney observed that the debate on Canada’s Bill C-51 Anti-Terror law has been “contentious and ranging, yet few commentators have drawn on experience or expert voices elsewhere to understand its implications.”

Some impressions on Internet advertiser security

In our blog post, we describe the results of tests we conducted to measure HTTPS support on the advertisers found on a sample of news websites as well as two sample lists of advertisers. We find a large disparity between our results and the the level of security support referred to in a recent post on the Internet Advertising Bureau’s website.

Ron Deibert on OpenCanada.org

Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert authored an article entitled “Who Knows What Evils Lurk in the Shadows?” published on OpenCanada.org.

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Lab News

Jennie Phillips on Digital Humanitarian Activism and Risk

As part of her ongoing research on developing resilience in high-risk digital crisis response networks, Citizen Lab doctoral fellow Jennie Phillips will be speaking at a number of events.

Jason Q. Ng on Apple accommodating Chinese demands

According to state media organization People’s Daily, Apple agreed to Chinese government “security checks.” Citizen Lab Research Fellow Jason Q. Ng expressed concern that this practice may set a trend of compliance to such demands amongst other firms.

Young Global Leaders names Morgan Marquis-Boire in Class of 2015

Citizen Lab Senior Security Researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire was named on the Young Global Leaders list for the Class of 2015, an organization headed by the World Economic Forum. The community is intended to provide the next generation of leaders with a platform to engage global affairs for positive change.

Chris Parsons on CSE targeting Canadians

In an article contributed to the National Post, Citizen Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons explains that the activities of the Communications Security Establishment constitute spying on Canadians. Parsons summarizes several findings regarding the mandate and practices of the organization leaked over the last year and a half, many of which strongly undermine CSE’s claim that Canadians are not “targeted” by domestic security agencies.

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