Countering tech abuse together

Wednesday 2 October 16:00 - 17:30, Small talks

Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky (Kaspersky)
Rachel G. (National Network to End Domestic Violence)

Part 1 - presentation: "Countering tech abuse together"

Consumer surveillance technology is not new; audio recording devices and security cameras have existed for decades. However, this technology has evolved with the ubiquity of the Internet and the explosion of mobile devices, with the market for surveillance software proliferating. The sale of this software is legal; however, it is often misused as a tool of abuse. It can allow users to monitor employee emails, track one's children, or capture activity from a partner's device.

It is this last use case that raises significant concern. Sometimes called stalkerware or spouseware, individuals have misused this software to perpetrate harassment, intimate partner surveillance without consent, stalking, and domestic violence. Unfortunately, this tech-enabled abuse is not limited to programs that specifically advertise themselves as tools to spy on your partner; sometimes, legitimate monitoring software can be abused for similar purposes as well. In addition, the regulatory and legal frameworks related to this type of software have yet to act as a sufficient deterrent to this kind of abuse.

Therefore, it is important for the IT security industry to do its part, not only in terms of improving detection of these types of programs on consumer devices, but also in terms of better notifying users of this threat to their privacy. In response, IT security vendors and advocacy organizations are partnering on ways to raise awareness and assist survivors through technical expertise and capacity building. In this presentation, representatives from the U.S. National Network to End Domestic Violence and Kaspersky will discuss the importance of collaboration in addressing tech abuse issues; share initial learnings from said collaboration; review the challenges presented by stalkerware and spouseware; and highlight how survivors can reduce their risk and engage in related safety planning.


Part 2 - workshop: "How can tech help to address the domestic violence issue?"

An interactive workshop with representatives from the IT security industry, advocacy organizations, direct service organizations, and academia will follow the presentation. Some discussion items include:

  • What are the needs of survivors and organizations that advocate for/work with them with regards to tech abuse issues generally and stalkerware/spouseware issues specifically?
  • How does the IT security industry currently address the problem of stalkerware/spouseware (detection criteria, designation of detected programs, etc.)?
  • What areas of improvement can the IT security industry pursue?
  • What are credible next steps that the IT security industry can take?

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Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky

Vyacheslav joined Kaspersky in 2007 as a virus analyst. He later rose to become a senior virus analyst, then a leading virus analyst in the heuristic detection group. Here, his work was related to the detection and removal of polymorphic viruses, as well as the detection of packed and protected objects.

In 2013, Vyacheslav was appointed Head of the vulnerability research group, with his primary focus being on studying exploits and developing better protection against them. In 2014, he became Head of the Kaspersky anti-malware team. He was responsible for all issues relating to detection quality and false-positive rates.

In 2018, Vyacheslav became Head of Anti-Malware Research at Kaspersky. He is now responsible for the quality of protection technologies for all Kaspersky products designed for different platforms, including Windows, Android, Linux, Mac and others. The quality of protection includes detection rate alongside false positive rate, reaction time and remediation. At the same time, Vyacheslav actively contributes to Kaspersky’s technological strategy.

Vyacheslav has a Bachelor’s degree from the Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technology and a Master’s degree from the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. He has also earned an M.B.A. in global finance and banking from the Swiss Business School. Vyacheslav has discovered several in-the-wild zero-day exploits and is the author of number of articles describing malware and exploits.



Rachel G.

Rachel is a Senior Technology Safety Specialist on the Safety Net Team at NNEDV. Rachel works to increase the safety and privacy of survivors and victims of crime. She provides trainings, resources, and technical assistance to build the capacity of victim service providers, private industries and communities at large to provide advocacy to survivors in this digital society.

Rachel formerly worked on the National Resource Center on Reaching Victims through the Vera Institute of Justice, and at the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence as the Technology Safety Program Specialist. She holds a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.

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