Runa Sandvik

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Runa Sandvik
Kawaiicon 2019 Runa Sandvik (2) (cropped).jpg
Runa Sandvik at Kawaiicon in Wellington, New Zealand in 2019
Born1988 (age 34–35)[1]
Other namesRuna Agate Sandvik
Occupationcomputer security expert
SpouseMichael Auger

Runa Sandvik is a computer security expert, known as a proponent of strong encryption.[2] She worked as The New York Times senior director of information security between March 2016 and October 2019.[3] As of 2021, she is a senior advisor for the Norwegian Cyber Defence Force.[4]


33 US Department of Homeland Security photos, acquired through FOIA

Sandvik was an early developer of the Tor anonymity network, a cooperative facility that helps individuals obfuscate the internet protocol they are using to access the internet.[5] Sandvik is a technical advisor to the Freedom of the Press Foundation and serves on the review board of Black Hat Europe.[5] Sandvik interviewed Edward Snowden in May 2014.[1] In February 2015 Sandvik documented her efforts to retrieve information about herself through Freedom of Information Act requests.[6] Sandvik led efforts to make The New York Times a Tor Onion service, allowing Times employees and readers to access the newspaper's site in ways that impede intrusive government monitoring.[7]

Hacking of smart rifles[edit]

Sandvik and Auger demonstrated that the aiming computer of theTrackingPoint XS1 precision guided firearm was vulnerable to third party hacking.

Sandvik, and her husband, Michael Auger, demonstrated how smart rifles with remote access can be remotely hacked.[8] The $13,000 TrackingPoint sniper rifle is equipped with an embedded linux computer.[9] According to Wired magazine, when used according to its specifications, the aiming computer can enable a novice to hit remote targets that would otherwise require a skilled marksman. However the manufacturers designed the aiming computer with WiFi capabilities, so the shooter could upload video of their shots. Sandvik and Auger found they could initiate a Unix shell command line interpreter, and use it to alter parameters the aiming computer relies on, so that it will always miss its targets. They found that a knowledgeable hacker could use the shell to acquire root access. Acquiring root access allowed an interloper to erase all the aiming computer's software—"bricking" the aiming computer.

Personal life[edit]

She acquired her first computer when she was fifteen years old.[2] She studied computer science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.[1] In 2014 Sandvik married Michael Auger, and the pair made their home in Washington, D.C.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Glenn Slydal Johansen (2016-03-08). "Norske Runa Sandvik skal jobbe med sikkerhet i New York Times" [Norwegian Runa Sandvik is going to work for safety in the New York Times]. Journalisten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2018-07-27.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b "This Former Hacker Now Helps The Times Stay Safe Online". The New York Times. 2018-07-24. Retrieved 2018-07-27. Outside The Times, she is well regarded in the information security community, Mr. McKinley said. She frequently attends conferences, speaks at events and hosts CryptoParties, or events that aim to educate people about digital security in an accessible way (two weeks ago, she co-hosted a Times-sponsored CryptoParty). Her friends see her as a tough stalwart of a male-dominated industry.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "@runasand on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2022-06-11. Today the @nytimes chose to eliminate my role, stating that there is no need for a dedicated focus on newsroom and journalistic security. I strongly believe in what I do (and what we did), and to say I'm disappointed would be an understatement. (1/3)
  4. ^ "Read the Pentagon's 20-Page Report on Its Own Meme". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  5. ^ a b "Runa Sandvik". Corporate Learning Hub. Retrieved 2018-07-27. She is a former developer with The Tor Project, a technical advisor to the Freedom of the Press Foundation and a member of the review board for Black Hat Europe.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Runa Sandvik (2015-02-26). "How I requested my photographs from the Department of Homeland Security". Medium magazine. Retrieved 2018-07-27. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request I filed in November 2014, the Department of Homeland Security released a document containing information collected about me under this program over the last four years.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Runa Sandvik (2017-10-27). "The New York Times is Now Available as a Tor Onion Service". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-27.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Joseph Cox (2017-03-27). "Hacker Runa Sandvik Went From Hijacking a Smart Rifle to Securing The NYT". Vice motherboard. Retrieved 2018-07-27. Sandvik has helped the Times launch a new series of tip-lines, where potential sources can leak documents or information securely. The Times now has a public-facing Signal and WhatsApp number, as well as a SecureDrop instance.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Andy Greenberg (2017-07-29). "Hackers Can Disable a Sniper Rifle—Or Change Its Target". Wired magazine. Retrieved 2018-07-27. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Går det virkelig an å hacke en rifle?" [There is war in cyberspace. Hacker Runa Sandvik fits The New York Times]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2018-07-28.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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