The Tools and Tactics Used in Intimate Partner Surveillance: An Analysis of Online Infidelity Forums

by   Emily Tseng, et al.

Abusers increasingly use spyware apps, account compromise, and social engineering to surveil their intimate partners, causing substantial harms that can culminate in violence. This form of privacy violation, termed intimate partner surveillance (IPS), is a profoundly challenging problem to address due to the physical access and trust present in the relationship between the target and attacker. While previous research has examined IPS from the perspectives of survivors, we present the first measurement study of online forums in which (potential) attackers discuss IPS strategies and techniques. In domains such as cybercrime, child abuse, and human trafficking, studying the online behaviors of perpetrators has led to better threat intelligence and techniques to combat attacks. We aim to provide similar insights in the context of IPS. We identified five online forums containing discussion of monitoring cellphones and other means of surveilling an intimate partner, including three within the context of investigating relationship infidelity. We perform a mixed-methods analysis of these forums, surfacing the tools and tactics that attackers use to perform surveillance. Via qualitative analysis of forum content, we present a taxonomy of IPS strategies used and recommended by attackers, and synthesize lessons for technologists seeking to curb the spread of IPS.



There are no comments yet.


page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4


Voice Mimicry Attacks Assisted by Automatic Speaker Verification

In this work, we simulate a scenario, where a publicly available ASV sys...

Detecting and Characterizing Lateral Phishing at Scale

We present the first large-scale characterization of lateral phishing at...

A Large-Scale Analysis of Attacker Activity in Compromised Enterprise Accounts

We present a large-scale characterization of attacker activity across 11...

Automated Attacker Synthesis for Distributed Protocols

Distributed protocols should be robust to both benign malfunction (e.g. ...

Can I Take Your Subdomain? Exploring Related-Domain Attacks in the Modern Web

Related-domain attackers control a sibling domain of their target web ap...

Evaluating Attacker Risk Behavior in an Internet of Things Ecosystem

In cybersecurity, attackers range from brash, unsophisticated script kid...

A First Look at Zoombombing

Online meeting tools like Zoom and Google Meet have become central to ou...
This week in AI

Get the week's most popular data science and artificial intelligence research sent straight to your inbox every Saturday.