Receiving socially engineered emails that try to steal our information or gain access to our devices is an all too familiar experience for those in the Tibetan community and networks of Tibet supporters. Over the years, Tibet Action has explored different ways to mitigate these threats, focusing mostly on training people to have better digital hygiene and online practices. We have had some success, but we’ve also realized a more holistic solution is needed. With this in mind, we launched a new project: The Tibetan Computer Emergency Readiness Team (TibCERT): https://tibcert.org
TibCERT seeks to create a formal, coalition-based structure for reducing and mitigating online threats in the Tibetan community, as well as to expand Tibetans’ technical research capacity on threats in the diaspora and surveillance and censorship inside Tibet. The goal of the project is, ultimately, to ensure greater online freedom and security for Tibetan society as a whole.
TibCERT has two main networks, RESPONSE and RECON:
- RESPONSE is a formalized, multi-organization rapid response network focused on ensuring Tibetan organizations, and their constituents, are better prepared for attacks, intrusions, etc., and have policies and procedures to follow for information, data and solution sharing, as well as for requesting and providing assistance. RESPONSE will provide crisis response capacity, training, and resources, and will support the RECON program (see below) by identifying and handing off incidents in need of further study.
- RECON will facilitate collaboration between a team of digital security experts from within the Tibetan community and cybersecurity research centers and organizations globally who will work together to expand the Tibetan community’s ability to respond, research, analyze, and ultimately defend against malicious adversaries, censorship and surveillance, both inside Tibet and in the Tibetan diaspora. RECON builds on the long collaboration between Tibet Action Institute and other Tibetan CSOs with The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and establishes a formal structure that will facilitate innovative collaborations with research groups.
There are currently 25 TibCERT members. If you’d like to learn more, please visit the Members section of our website, https://tibcert.org, or contact TibCERT at [email protected]. If you need support, please contact [email protected].