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Cybersecurity Group Launches to Help Activists

Last week saw the launch of a new cybersecurity collective designed to help activists, journalists and human rights advocates better protect themselves from targeted online attacks.

Security Without Borders is the brainchild of Claudio Guarnieri, a cybersecurity professional who has roles at rights groups Amnesty International and Citizen Lab.

The site’s Twitter feed went live last Friday, shortly after the project was launched at the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg.

Its broad mission is to provide those in need with a group of volunteers ready to assist with security-related issues.

A note on the website's homepage has the following:

“We can assist with web security assessments, conduct breach investigations and analysis, and generally act as an advisor in questions pertaining to cyber security. As security services are often expensive to come by, SWB offers these services free to organizations and people fighting against human rights abuse, racism, and other injustices.”

Clicking on the Request Assistance button will take users to an online form, the details of which will then be forwarded to members of the collective, who include penetration testers, malware analysts, developers, engineers, system administrators, and hackers.

There are currently around 30 such members, according to Motherboard.

“Some of us work in corporate security, some of us in academia, and some others in human rights organizations,” notes the homepage statement. “We want to dedicate some of our time to the betterment of global society.”

There’s certainly plenty for Security Without Borders to help out with.

Activists, journalists and human rights defenders around the world are routinely targeted by oppressive governments and organizations.

In August, renowned campaigner Ahmed Mansoor spotted a suspicious looking text message sent to his iPhone and sent it to Citizen Lab.

The group subsequently discovered a highly sophisticated exploit chain designed exclusively to deliver Pegasus – what Citizen Lab described as “a government-exclusive ‘lawful intercept’ spyware product” designed by Israeli-based research firm, NSO Group.

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