Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

6/30/2015
02:40 PM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Products and Releases
50%
50%

RAND: US Internet Freedom Software Tools Developed Do Not Facilitate Cybercrime

Software tools created by the U.S. State Department to encourage the free flow of information online and on mobile phone networks are not likely to be used by criminals to pursue illegal activities, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

 While some technologies supported by the State Department’s efforts have the potential to be used for illicit purposes, there are numerous alternative technologies that are better suited for criminal activity, according to the report.

“There is little reported evidence that the tools created to promote human rights and the free flow of information are also used in any material way to assist illicit activities,” said Sasha Romanosky, the study’s lead author and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “However, we conclude that the tools do provide critical capabilities to human rights activities and other Internet users in nations where communications are restricted.”

RAND researchers conducted a review of technology projects supported by grants from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor after members of the U.S. Congress expressed concern that some of the tools may be used by criminals to further the commission of illicit activities.

Some of the projects examined include proxy technologies, virtual private networks, mesh networks and anti-distributed denial of service. Information about each project supported by the bureau was collected from a combination of publicly available information, interviews with grantees and documents provided by the bureau itself.

The bureau funds the development of many cybersecurity and privacy software programs within its human rights mandate. However, researchers say there are tradeoffs associated with any investment in technology and innovation. 

“Given the wealth and diversity of other privacy, security and social media tools and technologies, there exist numerous alternatives that would likely be more suitable for criminal activity, either because of a relatively reduced level of surveillance and law enforcement capabilities compared to that of the internal security regimes of authoritarian governments, fewer restrictions on their availability, or because they are custom built by criminals to suit their own needs,” said Martin Libicki, a RAND senior management scientist and an author of the report.

Support for the project was provided by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

The report, “Internet Freedom Software and Illicit Activity: Supporting Human Rights Without Enabling Criminals,” can be found at www.rand.org. Other authors of the report are Zev Winkelman and Olesya Tkacheva. 

The research was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division. The division conducts research and analysis on defense and national security topics for the U.S. and allied defense, foreign policy, homeland security and intelligence communities, and foundations and other nongovernmental organizations that support defense and national security analysis.

 

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
US Capitol Attack a Wake-up Call for the Integration of Physical & IT Security
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  1/11/2021
IoT Vendor Ubiquiti Suffers Data Breach
Dark Reading Staff 1/11/2021
The Data-Centric Path to Zero Trust
Altaz Valani, Director of Insights Research, Security Compass,  1/13/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7343
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
Missing Authorization vulnerability in McAfee Agent (MA) for Windows prior to 5.7.1 allows local users to block McAfee product updates by manipulating a directory used by MA for temporary files. The product would continue to function with out-of-date detection files.
CVE-2020-28476
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
All versions of package tornado are vulnerable to Web Cache Poisoning by using a vector called parameter cloaking. When the attacker can separate query parameters using a semicolon (;), they can cause a difference in the interpretation of the request between the proxy (running with default configura...
CVE-2020-28473
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
The package bottle from 0 and before 0.12.19 are vulnerable to Web Cache Poisoning by using a vector called parameter cloaking. When the attacker can separate query parameters using a semicolon (;), they can cause a difference in the interpretation of the request between the proxy (running with defa...
CVE-2021-25173
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
An issue was discovered in Open Design Alliance Drawings SDK before 2021.12. A memory allocation with excessive size vulnerability exists when reading malformed DGN files, which allows attackers to cause a crash, potentially enabling denial of service (crash, exit, or restart).
CVE-2021-25174
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
An issue was discovered in Open Design Alliance Drawings SDK before 2021.12. A memory corruption vulnerability exists when reading malformed DGN files. It can allow attackers to cause a crash, potentially enabling denial of service (Crash, Exit, or Restart).