This post recaps Citizen Lab’s major research reports for 2016, which span issues surrounding censorship, surveillance, privacy, and cybersecurity as they relate to fitness trackers, political dissidents, social media users, and more.
Reports and Briefings
Citizen Lab reports and research briefs
This report describes an espionage operation using government-exclusive spyware to target Mexican government food scientists and two public health advocates.
This report discusses the targeting of Egyptian NGOs by Nile Phish, a large-scale phishing campaign. Almost all of the targets we identified are also implicated in Case 173, a sprawling legal case brought by the Egyptian government against NGOs, which has been referred to as an “unprecedented crackdown” on Egypt’s civil society. Nile Phish operators demonstrate an intimate knowledge of Egyptian NGOs, and are able to roll out phishing attacks within hours of government actions, such as arrests.
The second post in this series examines a Chinese mobile payment app feature increasingly covered in foreign media: testing of what may one day be a nationwide official social credit system to replace its traditional analog counterpart. Our exploration of potential security, privacy, and other issues of such a system is meant to raise questions that can inform discussions about how it will evolve.
This research series presents an in-depth examination of mobile payment systems, a rapidly evolving form of financial technology. We will provide an overview of how they are used in China–where they are taking off faster than anywhere else in the world–and what implications their security and data protection practices may have for millions of users, by presenting a case study on Alipay.
Citizen Lab Senior Research Fellow Bill Marczak has co-authored a paper titled “Social Engineering Attacks on Government Opponents: Target Perspectives,” along with Vern Paxson of UC Berkeley.
From January 2 to 13 2017, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is holding a popular Tibetan Buddhist teaching called Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya, India. Increased restrictions from the government of China has barred Tibetans in Tibet from attending the teachings. This report documents blocking of Kalachakra-related keywords on WeChat revealing how restrictions on the ritual extend online.
In this report we provide the first systematic study of keyword and website censorship on WeChat, the most popular chat app in China
In this report we track a malware operation targeting members of the Tibetan Parliament that used known and patched exploits to deliver a custom backdoor known as KeyBoy. We analyze multiple versions of KeyBoy revealing a development cycle focused on avoiding basic antivirus detection.