Tibetan Groups Targeted with 1-Click Mobile Exploits
The Tibetan community has been besieged by digital espionage for over a decade. In 2009, the Information Warfare Monitor published the report Tracking GhostNet, detailing a targeted malware operation that spied on Tibetan organisations including the Private Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, as well as government offices in 103 countries. At the time there were very few public reports of targeted malware campaigns and limited documentation of how these threats affected civil society.
Over the past ten years, the tactics used in GhostNet have become familiar to Tibetans: emails laden with older exploits used to deliver custom malware to unpatched computers. Typically, the malware used in these operations target Windows systems, with some rare incidents of malware targeting MacOS and Android. A common thread between these espionage campaigns is a focus on clever social engineering rather than the technical sophistication of exploits or malware.