Latest issue of the Citizen Lab Briefing.

Happy Holidays

As the Citizen Lab prepares to break for the holidays, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a restful and happy holiday season. May the New Year bring you health, happiness, and secure devices.

Best wishes,

Ronald J. Deibert

Table of Contents

  1. Latest Publications
  2. News and Announcements
  3. Upcoming Events

1. Latest Publications

  • Champing at the Cyberbit: Ethiopian Dissidents Targeted with New Commercial Spyware

    This report outlines how Ethiopian dissidents-- and other targets from around the world, including a Citizen Lab researcher-- were sent emails containing commercial spyware posing as Adobe Flash updates and PDF plugins. By investigating the unprotected logfiles of Cyberbit, the spyware provider in question, Citizen Lab identified the source of these attacks as originating in Ethiopia. Additionally, researchers tracked apparent demonstrations of the spyware in several other countries where leaders have exhibited authoritarian tendencies, such as Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Uzbekistan, and Zambia.
  • Still Safer Without: Another Look at Korean Child Monitoring and Filtering Apps

    South Korea is the only country in the world to mandate that all phones registered to individuals under the age of 19 be equipped with monitoring and filtering apps that block content deemed “harmful.” However, our latest in a series of audits show these parental monitoring apps have serious security flaws that amount to a dangerous data breach waiting to happen.


2. News and Announcements

  • Citizen Lab Launches Security Planner

    Everyone should feel safe online, which is why Citizen Lab has recently launched Security Planner: an easy-to-use platform with tested, peer reviewed recommendations for securing digital experiences. With just a few clicks, Security Planner tailors straightforward recommendations based on someone’s digital habits and the technology they use. Recommendations are presented with clear language, putting individuals in a position to move from learning to action.
  • Secure Your Chats: Why Encrypted Messaging Matters

    End-to-end encrypted messaging is effective at protecting the content of your messages from being read as they travel across the Internet to your friends and family. So, how does it work? The latest in our Net Alert series breaks it down for you.
  • Ron Deibert Honoured with Global Thinker Award by Foreign Policy Magazine

    Citizen Lab Founder and Director Ron Deibert has been recognized as a Global Thinker by Foreign Policy. The annual awards are given to individuals based on their innovation, impact, and ingenuity. Deibert is recognized for documenting the full extent of digital espionage and lifting the lid off the Internet. As the magazine reports, “By closely studying code and computer infrastructure, Citizen Lab researchers turn the tools of surveillance back on the watchers.”
  • Lex Gill on Power and Politics

    Citizen Lab Research Fellow Lex Gill discusses a recent CBC demonstration on NDP MP Matthew Dubé’s phone, which illustrated how hackers could track his location and record his calls by exploiting international telecommunication networks using SS7.
  • Ron Deibert Pens Op-Ed on the Dangers of Commercial Spyware

    Following the Citizen Lab discovery that Ethiopia has been using spyware provided by Israeli-based Cyberbit to spy on dissidents, Deibert writes about the extent of the large-scale threat unrestricted sale of these technologies creates. "Thanks to companies like these, an autocrat whose country has poor national infrastructure but whose regime has billions of dollars can order up their own NSA."

3. Upcoming Events

  • 18 - 21 December, Geneva, Switzerland - Irene Poetranto, Citizen Lab Senior Researcher, will be attending the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). In addition to hosting a booth to provide information on Citizen Lab’s research, she will also be participating in a panel discussion on how to harness the power of digital media and emerging technology to promote gender equality.
  • 6 February, Toronto, Canada - Citizen Lab Research Fellow Lex Gill is be participating in the Darker Side of Digital: Human Rights Implications of Technology in Canada and Abroad.
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