Tibetans are, of course, not the only targets of Chinese government hackers. While their unique situation puts them in line for scrutiny, more recent targets have included the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong and US corporations. China's digital state could even, soon, include Facebook, which has been making overtures to enter the country and is creating censorship software that could make it more amenable to Chinese authorities.
While, at first, for small exile community to face off against a massive digital-security apparatus may seem insurmountable, size actually plays to Tibetans' advantage. The exile community is closely knit, and the near-constant threat of hacking since the 2008 uprising has helped create a culture of security throughout the movement.
"We have become more aware, more informed, and more literate ... about digital security and online security," said Jigdal. "We may be smaller, but if we were able to develop this practice on a day-to-day basis, it spreads faster, and therefore it's more doable."
For VOT, this meant hiring an IT consultant after the initial DDoS attack, conducting in-house training, and working with TAI to improve its own security culture. While its shortwave broadcasts still face jamming, its website has remained online, and information is, against all odds, getting through.
"No matter how much the Chinese repress Tibetans, they can't stop the flow of information."
"No matter how much the Chinese repress Tibetans, they can't stop [the flow] of information," said Peldon. "So even though the Chinese government constantly jam our programs and send attacks to our website, I'm surprised how Tibetans inside Tibet find different ways to bypass the censorship wall and hear us."
Tibetans in exile are more prepared digitally than ever before.
"Tibet Action Institute's awareness-raising work with Tibetans played a big role in making sure that it wasn't worth China's while to continue to spread malware the 'old way,'" said an expert at Free Tibet, who preferred to remain anonymous.
But the big picture still looks dire. Today, the situation in Tibet is deteriorating even more, with Freedom House ranking it the least-free country in the world. Tibetans are facing increased travel restrictions, fewer cultural rights and more arrests for even simple online transgressions.
"A risk from a ... different angle is Chinese online propaganda campaigns that attempt to normalize the current situation in Tibet or drown out social media posts about Tibet that criticize the occupation or attempt to publicize human-rights abuses," said John Jones, campaigns and communications manager at Free Tibet.
The 60th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising is approaching. China is expected to ramp up measures, online and offline, and do all it can to ensure that no protests, either like the ones in 1959 or 2008, or the recent spate of self-immolations, take place in Tibet -- and if they do happen, that the rest of the world won't hear about it. After years of digital fortification, this may be the greatest test of the exile community's ability to go toe-to-toe with a Goliath in cybersecurity.