[ux] Social Engineering Attacks on Government Opponents: Target Perspectives

David Fifield david at bamsoftware.com
Tue Jul 18 04:38:57 UTC 2017

Bill Marczak and Vern Paxson's paper from PETS 2017 mentions the use of
Tor by activists (Section 3.6).

	We examined two computers (both from [Gulf Cooperation Council;
	GCC]) that had Tor Browser installed. Both copies of Tor Browser
	were out-of-date. Subject S_2 exclusively accessed their email
	account through Tor. This subject (using Ubuntu) said their Tor
	browser was out-of-date because on one previous occasion,
	installing updates had rendered their Tor browser unusable.
	Therefore, S_2 was not updating their Tor browser, or their
	Ubuntu system (they had 600+ updates pending in Ubuntu).

	We helped the subject get their system up to date and ensure
	that Tor browser continued to work. The other Tor subject, S_15,
	said they used Tor only occasionally for “sensitive” things. One
	subject from [GCC] (S_14) and one from [media outlet] (S_26)
	said they used Tor rarely or occasionally; we did not find Tor
	Browser on the computers of theirs that we examined.

	Five subjects claimed to be former Tor users. Subject S_4 from
	[media outlet] stated that they had tried it once, but
	“sometimes it won’t let you go to certain pages.” Subject S_19
	from [media outlet] stated that they “learned about it at the
	training...but don’t use it anymore.” Subject S_11 from [media
	outlet] stated that “somehow, it crashed 2 or 3 times so I
	uninstalled it.” Subject S_21 from [GCC diaspora] stated that
	they “used to, but I mean generally, it slows down everything so
	I stopped using it a few years ago.” Subject S_7 from [GCC] said
	they tried to use Tor, but found it too complex. They said that
	solutions like Tor “aren’t catered to part-time activists, only
	for hardcore activists that do it all the time.”

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