We’re a huge organization of hackers, makers, and security expert that work together to help survivors of stalking, harassment, and domestic violence escape and stay safe after they do.
To do this, we provide forensics and investigation services to help survivors get legal assistance, security education and rescue ops, seminars and direct assistance for support organizations such as domestic violence shelters and safe houses, educational and awareness resources, and so much more. We help survivors navigate the difficult process of planning and effecting their escape, and make sure they have a safe place to go once they do. We help develop policy and strategic advisories for protective programs across the country and integrate our work to support/protect/rescue survivors at every level.
…and we do it all for free.
OSE has successfully helped in over 2000 cases, without cost to any survivors. We need your help to continue doing it. Last year, we supplied over 2 million dollars in security services free to survivors and support organizations and we rely on volunteers and subject matter experts to keep doing it. Please consider helping in one of these ways:
Shelter and Safe House Security Control Catalog
Today, there’s no comprehensive security guide for domestic violence shelter and safe houses. Operation Safe Escape is working to change that. Structured similarly to NIST 800-53 but accessible to a non-security audience, this guide will help shelters and safe houses stand up and improve their security program, while allowing state coalitions to standardize their locations. See what we’ve done so far here.
Threat Research and Analysis
Domestic Violence Shelters and Safe Houses have a unique threat model that they often don’t fully understand. We talk about advanced persistent threats, but an abuser with a personal motivation is the ultimate embodiment of this type of threat. This is because someone with a personal motivation will, in many cases, focus all of their time and resources on finding their former victim and punishing those that are housing them. A threat researcher and analyst for Operation Safe Escape helps to identify new attacks, trends, and threat actors that shelters, safe houses, and allied groups may not be aware of.
Security Videos and Resources
Currently security and safety videos don’t adequately cover the specific threats that survivors of domestic violence or those assisting them face. For example, when a shelter or safe house wants to teach survivors how to secure their home or apartment, most videos available are developed by police agencies and talk about a non-committed attacker like burglars. A burglar will likely move on if there’s an alarm sticker posted in the window, a stalker or abuser won’t. In fact, there’s only one video on youtube made specifically to teach survivors of DV how to protect their home or apartment from such a threat, and it was made by Operation Safe Escape. We plan to create a whole video series targeted to that specific audience, giving them critical, life-saving skills and information. Potential topics include:
- Detecting and removing stalkerware
- Hacking myths and misconceptions (to help address fears, often exaggerated by the abuser)
- Securing your devices / infosec101
- Protecting your social media accounts
- How to protect your identity online
- Defensive OSINT
- And more
Survivors of domestic violence often report challenges when seeking law enforcement assistance. One of the challenges is that law enforcement may not perform a forensic analysis after a survivor has been hacked without first seeing evidence that they’ve been hacked… and of course, the evidence would be in the forensic support. Operation Safe Escape assists in cases like these, performing an initial assessment and confirming or explaining the symptoms observed by the client. Often, this gives law enforcement the information they need to pursue legal charges and can lead to prosecution of the offender. We’re hoping to expand this capability to increase our ability to support clients. Please note this position requires a background check.
Operation Safe Escape needs to be adaptable and creative, because the adversary is adaptable and creative and we need to stay one step ahead of them. The special projects team takes on those unique challenges that no one else can, or no one else is trying, to solve. How can we detect an attack in progress when the target doesn’t have experience with security tools and techniques? Is it possible to detect a hidden microphone with a deployable HackRF One package? How do you unmask someone who’s sending anonymous threats and harassing messages from throwaway accounts? These are the sorts of challenges that we try to solve, and we need your help to do it.
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