The SecDev Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The SecDev Group
Privately held company
IndustryData-centric risk consultancy and OSINT research agency
PredecessorAdvanced Network Research Group
SuccessorThe SecDev Group,

Secdev Foundation,

Zeropoint Security
FounderRafal Rohozinski, Deirdre Collings
Key people
CEO, SecDev Group of companies:

Rafal Rohozinski

Managing Director:

John deBoer,


Robert Muggah,

John de Boer,

Rafal Rohozinski,

Lead Analysts:

Raouf Farrah,

Conflict Area Watch

ServicesAdvanced open-source research and consultancy services
ParentSecDev Holdings

The SecDev Group is a Canadian data-centric risk consultancy that focuses on leveraging open data, and open source intelligence. The group previously operated out of Cambridge University under the name of the Advanced Network Research Group.[1] Their work focuses on the intersection of cyberspace with social and political change, and draws on social media and public data sources, field research, and other monitoring tools.

The group's CEO is Rafal Rohozinski,[2][3] who was also instrumental in the development of Psiphon, a software application that allows people living in closed societies to access censored information.[4]

The SecDev Group monitors and produces research reports on the cyber environment in diverse countries and regions, including in Syria, the Sahel region, Eurasia, China and Latin America,[5][6][7] and tracks "the emergence of cyberspace as a strategic domain." It was also one of the founding institutional partners of the OpenNet Initiative and the Information Warfare Monitor.

One of SecDev's seminal reports is "Tracking Ghostnet," which was one of the first to uncover the details of Chinese actors' cyberespionage activities.[8] The report, which was conducted jointly with researchers from the University of Toronto Citizen Lab, led to dozens of newspaper articles and preceded the more thorough exposition of cyberespionage activities by actors in China, including by hackers thought to be associated with the People's Liberation Army.

SecDev contributed to the development of Canada's policy on cyberspace that included preparing a policy paper in 2012 for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs entitled, Canada and Cyberspace: Key issues and challenges, that framed core issues for Canada's foreign policy. It has also carried out experimentation and research in leveraging open source intelligence and social media in tracking risk factors for violent extremism online under the Government of Canada's Kanishka initiative. SecDev currently manages the website that is an output of the research carried out under the Kanishka funding and subsequent rounds of support from Public Safety Canada.

In 2009 SecDev Group created a separate company, SecDev Cyber to focus on cybersecurity solutions and products[9]. In 2017, Secdev Cyber was relaunched as Zeropoint Security.

In 2011, SecDev Group co-founders Rafal Rohozinski and Deirdre Collings established the Secdev Foundation as an independent not-for-profit organization incorporated under Canadian federal laws. The Secdev Foundation supports and directly executes digital safety and security programming focused on "at risk" populations in Eurasia, Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

In 2017, John deBoer was elected as the managing director of SecDev Group. The group is currently managed by three principals: Rafal Rohozinski (Chairman, and CEO of Zeropoint), John DeBoer (Managing Director), and Robert Muggah (Director of research).

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Advanced Network Research Group". Cambridge Security Programme. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Psiphon Helps Iranians Stay Connected". Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  3. ^ Pilieci, Vito (25 April 2009). "The Ghostnet Buster". The Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  4. ^ Ottawa exec's company aims to bring down 'Great Firewall of China'
  5. ^ Farwell, James P. (6 September 2013). "A Better Syria Option: Cyber War". The National Interest. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  6. ^ Zhang, Melody (7 June 2012). "SecDev Group launches Open Empowerment Project in Latin America". The SecDev Group. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  7. ^ Custer, C. (20 September 2011). "SecDev Group Issues Report on US Tech Companies' Ethical Issues in China". Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network," The SecDev Group, March 29, 2009
  9. ^ "secdev - Complete profile - Canadian Company Capabilities - Industries and Business - Industry Canada". Retrieved 2017-06-02.