• Terrorism & healthExposure to terror attacks may increase risk of migraine, other headaches

    Survivors of a terror attack have an increased risk of frequent migraine and tension headaches after the attack, according to a study. “We know a lot about the psychological effects of terror attacks and other extreme violence on survivors, but we don’t know much about the physical effects of these violent incidents,” said the study’s author. “Our study shows that a single highly stressful event may lead to ongoing suffering with frequent migraines and other headaches, which can be disabling when they keep people from their work or school activities.”

  • Infrastructure hacking“Watershed attack:” Hackers deploy new ICS attack framework, disrupting critical infrastructure

    Hackers working for a nation-state recently invaded the safety system of a critical infrastructure facility in what cyber experts call “a watershed attack” that halted plant operations. Cybersecurity firm FireEye disclosed the incident on Thursday, saying it targeted Triconex industrial safety technology from Schneider Electric SE. Schneider confirmed that the incident had occurred and that it had issued a security alert to users of Triconex, which cyber experts said is widely used in the energy industry, including at nuclear facilities, and oil and gas plants. FireEye and Schneider declined to identify the victim, industry or location of the attack.

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  • Border fenceThe border fence looms over these Texans. Should the government pay them?

    By Julián Aguilar, Kiah Collier, and T. Christian Miller

    Long before President Donald Trump promised to build a wall, Homeland Security used its powers of eminent domain to seize hundreds of acres of land in south Texas to construct a border fence. Under the law, if the government takes or damages your property, it’s supposed to pay to make you whole again. In Texas, the agency has paid $18 million to landholders over the last decade. But scores of Texas landowners who have lived in the shadow of the border fence for years were never compensated for any damage to their property values.

  • BiosecurityEncouraging progress at Biological Weapons Convention meeting

    The Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of States Parties (MSP) was held last week, with many participants not knowing what to expect after last year’s failure of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Review Conference. One attendee noted that “the role of the NGOs felt even more important in such a disjointed climate where the future of the BWC was in many ways, up in the air. The importance of support and pushing for future cohesion regarding not only the intersessional process (ISP), but also S&T developments, was a significant point within the NGO statement.”

  • BiosecurityDNA has gone digital – what could possibly go wrong?

    By Jenna E. Gallegos and Jean Peccoud

    Biology is becoming increasingly digitized. Researchers like us use computers to analyze DNA, operate lab equipment and store genetic information. But new capabilities also mean new risks – and biologists remain largely unaware of the potential vulnerabilities that come with digitizing biotechnology. In 2010, a nuclear plant in Iran experienced mysterious equipment failures which paralyzed Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Months later, a security firm was called in to troubleshoot an apparently unrelated problem, and found a malicious computer virus called Stuxnet, which was telling uranium-enrichment centrifuges to vibrate. Stuxnet demonstrated that cybersecurity breaches can cause physical damages. What if those damages had biological consequences? Could bioterrorists target government laboratories studying infectious diseases? What about pharmaceutical companies producing lifesaving drugs? As life scientists become more reliant on digital workflows, the chances are likely rising. The emerging field of cyberbiosecurity explores the whole new category of risks that come with the increased use of computers in the life sciences.

  • Nuclear testsNewly declassified videos of nuclear tests

    Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) released sixty-two newly declassified videos today of atmospheric nuclear tests films that have never before been seen by the public. The videos are the second batch of scientific test films to be published on the LLNL YouTube channel this year, and the team plans to publish the remaining videos of tests conducted by LLNL as they are scanned and approved for public release.

  • MegadroughtsThe odds of a megadrought in western, southwestern U.S.

    In the southwestern United States, water management is a top concern. If a megadrought occurs, large-scale water management decisions affecting millions of Americans must be made to protect agriculture, the ecosystem and potable water systems. Understanding the odds of a widespread megadrought becomes important for planning purposes. To help untangle fact from speculation, climate scientists have developed a “robust null hypothesis” to assess the odds of a megadrought – one that lasts more than thirty years – occurring in the western and southwestern United States.

  • Climate threatsHigh-resolution climate models offer alarming new projections for U.S.

    Approaching the second half of the century, the United States is likely to experience increases in the number of days with extreme heat, the frequency and duration of heat waves, and the length of the growing season. In response, it is anticipated that societal, agricultural and ecological needs will increase the demand on already-strained natural resources like water and energy.

  • The Russia watchHow Russia hacked America; Putin’s return on2016 hacking investment; more cyberattacks coming, and more

    · PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: Trump’s denial of Russian meddling

    · How Russia hacked America—and why it will happen again

    · Putin happy with return on investment for hacking 2016 election, officials say

    · The shadows keep on changing: The persistent Russian threat

    · Russian cyber-activists ‘tried to discredit Scottish independence vote’

    · Fingerprints of Russian disinformation: From AIDS to fake news

    · U.S. officials, lawmakers warn more cyberattacks coming

    · Only half the states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016 have asked for follow-up briefings

    · Ex-intelligence, national security officials file brief in lawsuit against Roger Stone

  • Our picksSecrecy is dead; DoD dire climate warning; containing Iran, and more

    · The Iran conundrum: Serious containment versus stability

    · Russia, N. Korea eye bitcoin for money laundering, putting it on a crash course with regulators

    · Estonia, the digital republic

    · Secrecy is dead. Here’s what happens next.

    · Zinke reprimanded park head after climate tweets

    · Trump just signed a dire warning about climate change

    · California regulators back fire safety rules following lethal infernos

    · Taking to the air: Drones and law enforcement

  • The Russia connectionRussia-related intelligence information left out of Trump's daily briefings for fear it would upset him

    White House and national security officials have said that they purposefully leave intelligence information on Russian ongoing hacking and disinformation activities against the United States out of President Donald Trump’s daily briefings for fear such intelligence information will upset him. If the information cannot be left out, it is usually placed toward the end of the briefing in order to prevent a situation in which the president would refuse to listen to or discuss the rest of the PDB (Presidential Daily Brief).

  • Hemispheric securityExperts: Treason charge against Argentinian ex-president vindicates murdered prosecutor

    Last Thursday, Argentinians woke up to a political earthquake as the federal judge Claudio Bonadio, who investigated the role of the government of ex-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in covering up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center, indicted Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, as well as other government officials. Experts argued that the treason charge brought against Kirchner and a number of her top aides vindicates the late Alberto Nisman’s investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing.

  • CybersecurityUsing smartphones — instead of body parts — for identification to deter cybercrime

    Not comfortable with Face ID and other biometrics? This cybersecurity advancement may be for you. Researchers have discovered how to identify smartphones by examining just one photo taken by the device. The advancement opens the possibility of using smartphones — instead of body parts — as a form of identification to deter cybercrime.

  • ForensicsS&T enhancing the Autopsy digital forensics tool

    Autopsy—an open-source, digital forensics platform used by law enforcement agencies worldwide to determine how a digital device was used in a crime and recover evidence—is being enhanced with the addition of several new capabilities requested by law enforcement.

  • Oil spillsReusable sponge soaks up oil, revolutionizing oil spill and diesel cleanup

    When the Deepwater Horizon drilling pipe blew out seven years ago, beginning the worst oil spill in U.S. history, those in charge of the recovery discovered a new wrinkle: the millions of gallons of oil bubbling from the sea floor weren’t all collecting on the surface where it could be skimmed or burned. Some of it was forming a plume and drifting through the ocean under the surface. Scientists have invented a new foam, called Oleo Sponge, that addresses this problem.

  • WildfiresCalifornia needs to rethink urban fire risk, starting with where it builds houses

    By Max Moritz

    With widespread damage to structures, the wildfires raging across southern California highlight the importance of where and how we build our communities and, in particular, how land use planning and better building codes can reduce our exposure to such events. Despite an aversion by some to land use planning, this strategy is simply common sense. It will also save lives and massive amounts of public resources over the long term. Where we do choose to develop and inhabit hazard-prone environments, it may be necessary to design communities with “passive survivability” in mind, or the ability to withstand the event and have water and power for a few days. This provides both the built environment and the people within some basic protection for a limited time. Strategies exist to lower the risk of fire in the current housing stock and to more carefully design and site future development where wildfires are possible. With increasing extremes expected as climate continues to change, officially recognizing this link and creating a safer built environment will only become more urgent.

  • ResilienceGulf Coast universities team up to address hurricane resilience

    A new multi-institution research center will focus on helping the Gulf coast do better at preparing for and mitigating the damage and loss of lives from hurricanes and other severe storms. The Hurricane Resilience Research Institute (HuRRI) draws upon the strengths of its seven participating universities, from flood mitigation and hurricane modeling to public policy.

  • Considered opinionWhat is Vladimir Putin really up to? Carnegie scholars aim to find out

    By Carol Morello

    The Trump administration’s national security team – of not the president himself – is increasingly concerned that Russia is expanding its influence around the world at a time when the United States and leading Western powers in Europe are focused on their own domestic problems. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is about to launch a two-year project, called “The Return of Global Russia: A Reassessment of the Kremlin’s International Agenda,” aiming to examine and analyze Russia’s activist foreign and military policies. According to Carnegie researchers, Moscow is trying to systematically undermine democracies such as the United States and alliances like the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

  • Our picksSlashing counterterrorism funding; security clearance backlog; Netherlands’ coast protection, and more

    · Trump administration seeks to slash counterterrorism funding

    · Why we should be worried about a war in space

    · Here’s what the newly signed NDAA means for cybersecurity

    · Yes, the security clearance backlog is getting worse

    · The Netherlands is protecting its coast with an $81 million ‘sand motor’

    · Closing Homeland Security laboratories to build a wall puts lives in danger

    · Sea level rise may swamp many coastal U.S. sewage plants

    · How will emerging cyber threats change the way we think about conflict?

  • The Russia connectionSen. Marco Rubio: “Vladimir Putin chose to interfere in U.S. elections”

    “[W]hat is abundantly clear is that Vladimir Putin chose to interfere in the U.S. elections — in my opinion, not so much to favor one candidate over another, but to sow instability”; “[H]is ultimate goal was to ensure that whoever was elected the next U.S. president, they did so with their credibility damaged. I also think that he wanted to exploit the already existing divisions in American society for the purpose of forcing us to go through what we’re going through right now — investigations, divisive debates, talk about impeachment, and the like.”

  • CybersecurityBolstering cybersecurity in harsh environments

    According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the financial loss from cybercrime in the U.S. was over $1.3 billion in 2016. As this number is only expected to rise in the upcoming years, the military, businesses and individuals are seeking new ways to guard their information. Physical unclonable function (PUF) devices hold promise.

  • Cybersecurity“Hacking for Defense” class an example of Stanford’s relationship with the U.S. military

    Alongside all the tech companies and consulting firms present at career fairs, Stanford students looking for employment are likely to encounter another major industry when talking to recruiters: the defense sector. Although anti-war activism in the Vietnam era severed many of the university’s ties with the U.S. military, the relationship between the two has seen a revival over the years, and national security and defense institutions are more visible on campus now than they were just a decade ago. A relatively new class, MS&E 297, adds yet another wrinkle to that ongoing narrative – and one that not everyone is happy about.