The Digital Security Alliance

The DSA is a coalition of organisations and individual digital security experts working towards securing the digital assets of the civil society, human rights defenders, journalists and other activists in the face of threats posed by powerful corporations, unscrupulous criminals, state and other nonstate actors. The DSA seeks to pool IT and IT security resources from individuals and organisations to build IT security capacity in the civil society sector.

The Objective

To achieve a safer digital environment for Human Rights Defenders in Uganda by Increasing the capacity of the digital emergency response ecosystem to provide safety for HRD’s under attack by covering their digital privacy and digital security aspects including infrastructure security.
DSA aims to close the gap and increase cooperation between civil society, activists on the one side and organizations or individuals working in information security on the other side.
The members of the initiative are a mix between protection providers’, NGO project officers and citizens sensitized in freedom of speech and information security. DSA’s members donate time and resources to this community in order to globally improve the security awareness of civil society.

DSA will serve as a secure proxy to report incidents they have been made aware of and provide information of best practices while protecting its beneficiaries and sources.
DSA wants to build bridges with other response teams and Digital security communities by learning from the best practitioners in the security response field and helping other teams to understand the very specific environment that DSA beneficiaries work.

Constituency

DSA operates thanks to the contributions of its members. Members of DSA contribute with skills and/or with other assets into this initiative. When necessary, DSA will fund-raise to obtain specific access to tools and technologies not available via its members.

Incident response and Proactive services

DSA will assist NGOs or other forms of civil society organizations in handling the technical and organizational aspects of incidents in connection with Digital Security. In particular, DSA will provide assistance or advice with respect to the following aspects of incidents management:

Incident triage
  • Establish a secure communication channel with the victims.
  • Investigating whether indeed an incident occurred.
  • Determining the extent of the incident.
  • Help to gather any extra forensic information needed.
  • Identifying the best partner or skill set needed to address the incident.
Incident coordination
  • Determining the initial cause of the incident.
  • Facilitating contact with other organizations that may be involved/affected.
  • Providing human-readable information for the victims if needed.
  • Composing announcements to civil society if applicable.
Incident resolution
  • Helping to remove the vulnerability.
  • Helping to secure the system from the effects of the incident.
  • Identify if the attack is targeted.
  • Monitor the persistence of the attackers.
  • Collecting evidence of the incident.
  • In addition, DSA will collect statistics concerning incidents processed and will notify the wider community as necessary to assist it in protecting against known attacks.
Proactive services
  • DSA coordinates and maintains the following services to the extent possible depending on its resources:
  • Secure training for civil society
  • Malware analysis
  • Information sharing

Activities

Monthly partnership Meetings

The DSA will hold regular monthly meetings at predetermined locations, these meetings will help the partners to keep in touch and updated of arising threats, discuss solutions and share experiences. Also during these meetings, the DSA will collaborate on pending emergency incidents and see how to effectively resolve them

Mentorship and Capacity Building campaigns

The DSA will schedule trainings to build digital security capacity and also mentorship of identified beneficiaries to help them mitigate imminent threats and also educate the identified beneficiary so as to impart good digital ethics to protect and safeguard their privacy

Digital Security performance campaigns

During this activity, different beneficiaries will be identified that the DSA will visit and conduct a digital security health check to assess and examine the capacity, awareness, and adoption to proper and safe digital security practices and policies. This will help the DSA to plan and organise relevant digital security training and collaborate relevant solutions within the alliance

Rapid Response

The DSA will offer assistance to any HRD, CSO, NGO and Citizen that is under attack or threat and is in need of emergency or rapid response to help contain or mitigate further damage. In this case, the DSA will utilize a ticketing system that will identify the relevant digital security expert depending on the technicalities of the specific security incident. The Ticketing system can be accessed from http://ticket.defendersprotection.org/

Tools and Application Development

The DSA will innovate, develop and share security tools and technology aimed at preserving privacy and anonymity, circumventing surveillance and equipping the HRD, CSO, NGO or Citizen with skills and best practices.