Over years of working with journalists, human rights groups, and civil society around the world, we have witnessed a growing imbalance of power between highly capable threat actors and the communities they’re targeting.
Journalists and human rights defenders are up against more adversaries who are becoming better equipped to perpetrate advanced digital attacks against those they want to silence. At the same time, journalists, human rights groups, and civil society often lack the organizational capacity to identify, detect, analyze, and mitigate against such attacks. The more we understand the offensive tactics being deployed against civil society, the better we’re able to design effective defensive strategies to protect ourselves from these advanced threat actors.
The MONITOR Scaled project builds upon the work of Internews’ Monitor & Operationalize New InfoSec Threats for Organizational Resilience (MONITOR) project (2018-2020). MONITOR Scaled will strengthen the resilience of human rights groups and journalists to digital attacks by building local threat analysis and response capacity.
In-region Expertise: There are very few organizations around the globe focused on researching and analyzing attacks specifically targeting civil society. Internews has focused on building the capacity and skills of in-region experts to more efficiently and effectively analyze digital attacks perpetrated by highly capable actors. Evaluation of the initial MONITOR project showed that regional threat analysis hubs called “Threat Labs” presented the most effective approach to helping local communities improve resilience against targeted digital attacks. Threat Labs are local organizations with expertise in cybersecurity who provide swift and trusted incident response and threat analysis services to civil society in their region, resulting in public security bulletins, further identification and support of victims, threat sharing with private sector and CiviCERT communities, and even impactful public advocacy campaigns. MONITOR SCALED builds on this successful approach by supporting Threat Labs in Latin America, MENA, Europe, and Eurasia.
Private Sector Engagement: Recognizing that the expertise, reach, and resources of private sector tend to exceed those of at-risk populations, Internews is working to leverage this in order to better support civil society targeted by advanced threats, through:
- Free and/or discounted access to critical technology tools such as antivirus, which many human rights and media groups are unable to afford
- Joint threat research projects
- Long-term threat tracking, particularly of APT groups
MONITOR Scaled empowers human rights groups to identify and respond to new, advanced digital attacks through the collaborative development of effective countermeasures and improves the resilience of human rights groups against digital attacks through knowledge-sharing.