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    Security Technology

    Governments are turning cyberweapons on their own people


    More and more governments are using cyberweapons like malware and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against internal critics and dissidents, making online attacks the second-most-common form of repression after actual arrests, according to a new report from human rights group Freedom House.

    “Cyberattacks became more common due in part to the increased availability of relevant technology, which is sold in a weakly regulated market, and in part to inadequate security practices among many of the targeted groups,” the group states in its 2017 Freedom on the Net report, adding that falling prices and widening proliferation of cyberweapon technology means that even local officials and police have access.

    “The relatively low cost of cyberattack tools has enabled not only central governments but also local government officials and law enforcement agencies to obtain and employ them against their perceived foes,” like human rights advocates or watchdogs seeking to expose corruption and abuse, the report warns.

    Freedom House says governments in 34 out of the 65 countries assessed in the report used cyberattacks against regime critics — up from 25 last year.

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