• TerrorismU.S. again names Iran as leading terrorism sponsor

    The United States has once again named Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, accusing it of fueling conflicts and undermining governments throughout the Middle East. An annual survey on global terrorism, released by the State Department on 19 September, said Iran and its proxies are responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in the region.

  • BiodefenseWhite Houses unveils new National Biodefense Strategy

    The Trump administration on Tuesday released a new National Biodefense Strategy, along with an order from President Donald Trump that directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take the coordinating lead and establishes a cabinet-level biodefense steering committee. Some experts are praising the broad scope of the strategy, new elements that it covers, and the high-level attention and oversight built into the plan.

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  • Coastal retreatClimate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist

    By Luciana Esteves

    Climate change has forced a paradigm shift in the way coastal flooding and erosion risks are managed. In areas of lower risk, adaptation plans are being devised, often with provisions to make properties and infrastructure more resilient. Adaptation may involve requiring raised foundations in flood-prone areas or the installation of mitigating measures, such as sustainable drainage systems. Building codes may also be established to make structures more disaster-proof and to control the types of constructions within risk zones. But such adaptation options are often of limited use or unsuitable for high-risk areas. In such areas relocation is the only safe climate-proof response.

  • Extremism onlineIdentifying extremists online even before they post dangerous content

    The number and size of online extremist groups using social networks to harass users, recruit new members, and incite violence is rapidly increasing. New research has found a way to identify extremists, such as those associated with the terrorist group ISIS, by monitoring their social media accounts, and can identify them even before they post threatening content.

  • Extremism onlineBroadcasting the reactionary right on YouTube

    A new report presents data from approximately 65 political influencers across 81 channels to identify the “Alternative Influence Network (AIN)”; an alternative media system that adopts the techniques of brand influencers to build audiences and “sell” them political ideology.

  • Truth decayBeyond deep fakes: Automatically transforming video content into another video's style

    Researchers have created a method that automatically transforms the content of one video into the style of another. For instance, Barack Obama’s style can be transformed into Donald Trump. Because the data-driven method does not require human intervention, it can rapidly transform large amounts of video, making it a boon to movie production, as well as to the conversion of black-and-white films to color and to the creation of content for virtual reality experiences.

  • Truth decayFacebook’s war on fake news is gaining ground

    In the two years since fake news on the Internet became a full-blown crisis, Facebook has taken numerous steps to curb the flow of misinformation on its site. Under intense political pressure, it’s had to put up a fight: At the peak in late 2016, Facebook users shared, liked, or commented on an estimated 200 million false stories in a single month. A new study is shedding light on a key question: Are Facebook’s countermeasures making a difference?

  • Climate threatsParis climate targets may be exceeded sooner than expected

    A new study has for the first time comprehensively accounted for permafrost carbon release when estimating emission budgets for climate targets. The results show that the world might be closer to exceeding the budget for the long-term target of the Paris climate agreement than previously thought.

  • Our picksThe algorithms of August; refugee resettlement; cybersecurity risk score for agencies, and more

    ·  The algorithms of August

    ·  Cybersecurity firm: More Iran hacks as US sanctions loomed

    ·  America’s latest about-face: Refugee resettlement

    ·  Deterrence or waste of time? Experts at odds over DOJ’s actions on North Korea

    ·  DHS to roll out new cybersecurity risk score for agencies

    ·  ISIS sees opportunity as Syria’s rebellion falls

    ·  Does it matter that Trump is a liar?

    ·  Barriers to effective insider threat monitoring

  • The Russia watchCollateral damage of Trump's extreme declassifications; squaring up to Russian propaganda; the most devastating cyberattack in history

    ·  The collateral damage of Trump’s extreme declassifications

    ·  ‘Carter Page is a very unlikely GOP hero’

    ·  Russia is gearing up to misinform the U.S. public about Syria. Here’s our cheat sheet to identify Twitter trolls.

    ·  Russian propaganda? Moscow releases audio blaming Ukraine for downing of MH17 flight that killed almost 300

    ·  Russia’s been meddling with a US ally in Europe, and Mattis isn’t happy

    ·  British broadcasters told to square up to Russian propaganda

    ·  Trump-proof aspects of Manafort deal rankle lawyers

    ·  Ruminations on the most devastating cyberattack in history

    ·  How Mnuchin’s blunder led to sanctions against Putin oligarch Oleg Deripaska

  • Hurricane Florence32 dead, 500,000 homes without power, Wilmington virtually cut off

    Emergency crews have been busy Monday and today in many cities across the Carolinas as both residents and the authorities were trying to cope with the aftermath of a record rainfall. The water damaged tens of thousands of homes, and floodwaters may not recede for days. Even as the remnants of Hurricane Florence pulled away, it was clear that the turmoil had only begun.

  • The Russia connectionSwiss confirm Russians tried to hack lab analyzing Skripal samples

    The Swiss government has confirmed reports that Dutch authorities had arrested and expelled two suspected Russian spies earlier this year after the two allegedly tried to hack a Swiss laboratory that conducts chemical weapons tests. The alleged target was the Spiez Laboratory, which analyzed samples from the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

  • The Russia connectionBerlin hospital says “highly plausible” Russian activist was poisoned

    German doctors treating Pyotr Verzilov have said that the anti-Kremlin activist was probably poisoned, and a Moscow newspaper reports a possible connection with the killing of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) in July. The developments on September 18 deepened the mystery surrounding the sudden illness of Verzilov, a member of the punk protest band Pussy Riot and the dissident art troupe Voina who was flown to Berlin for treatment three days earlier.

  • African securityU.S.-provided security sector assistance in Africa largely failed

    The United States has sought to combat security threats in Africa – whether terrorism or, in a previous era, communism – principally by providing security sector assistance (SSA) to partner governments on the continent. Two new studies suggest that U.S.-provided SSA in Africa has largely failed to achieve its goals.

  • CybersecurityS&T awards $11.6 million to defend against network, internet disruptions

    Five research organizations were awarded separate contracts totaling $11,511,565 to develop new methods to identify and attribute Network/Internet-scale Disruptive Events (NIDEs), the DHS S&T announced last week.

  • CyberinsureanceCyber insurance market to double by 2020: Munich Re

    Cyber risks are one of the biggest threats to the digital and networked economy. The most important thing for companies is to ensure they have the best possible technical prevention. Munich Re says it is developing insurance products and services that offer policyholders the greatest possible protection.

  • Building evacuationAn elevator tech that could save lives in a high-rise fire

    By Brian Blum

    When there’s a fire in a high-rise building, safety rules dictate that you don’t take the elevator. You head for the stairs instead. But what if using the elevator could actually be the fastest – and safest – way to evacuate a building on fire? Seventeen years after 9/11, an Israeli startup is testing its solution to turn the elevator into a traveling ‘safe room’ that can facilitate rescue operations.

  • SuperbugsNew FDA plan focuses on antibiotic development, stewardship

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week announced a multipronged strategy to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) that emphasizes new measures to spur development of antibiotics and alternative therapies, promote antibiotic stewardship in animal health, advance antibiotic resistance surveillance, and enhance regulatory science.

  • Mitigating climate threatsEither cover 89 percent of the U.S. with trees, or go solar

    How many fields of switchgrass and forests of trees would be needed to offset the energy produced by burning coal? A lot, it turns out. While demand for energy isn’t dropping, alarms raised by burning fossil fuels in order to get that energy are getting louder.

  • Our picksFEMA cuts fund detention centers; protecting campaign websites; coping with hurricanes, and more

    ·  Symantec becomes latest firm offering free security testing for campaign websites

    ·  Trump transferred $9.75 million from FEMA to ICE to cover the cost of immigrant detention centers

    ·  FEMA’s testing a new “presidential alerts” system that sends messages to your phone

    ·  Families are getting better at preparing for hurricanes

    ·  Facial-recognition scanners at airports raise privacy concerns

    ·  Congress subpoenas ‘uncooperative’ DHS official amid accusations of punishing whistleblowers

    ·  The next harmful move against H-1B visas

    ·  Retired Marine four-star patents jet-killing drone boat

    ·  What feds can do to guard against DDoS attacks and the botnet threat

    ·  General’s secret weapon to keep Trump in Afghanistan: Fox News

  • The Russia watchTrump’s Soviet approach to intelligence; Russian bots & U.S. public health; rewriting Soviet past, and more

    ·  The Watergate “Road Map” and the coming Mueller report

    ·  Trump’s Soviet approach to intelligence

    ·  ‘Bada bing bada boom’: Paul Manafort’s attempt to smear a jailed Ukrainian politician

    ·  Paul Manafort is the first Trump Tower meeting attendee to flip

    ·  “The government believes that Manafort has evidence”: Is Paulie about to nuke Don Jr.?

    ·  Manafort’s surrender shows Mueller probe’s overwhelming force

    ·  Skripal poisoning suspect’s passport data shows link to security services

    ·  The Russian hacking of 2016 was just a taste. Here’s what we could be in for.

    ·  Russian bots are taking aim at U.S. public health

    ·  AP news agency bows to Russian pressure over Moscow’s WWII pact with Nazi Germany

    ·  U.S. spies rush to protect Russian defectors after Sergei Skripal poisoning

  • Election securitySecuring Americans’ votes

    To protect the integrity and security of U.S. elections, all local, state, and federal elections should be conducted using human-readable paper ballots by the 2020 presidential election, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences. In addition, every effort should be made to use paper ballots in the 2018 federal election. Ballots that have been marked by voters should not be returned over the Internet or any network connected to it, because no current technology can guarantee their secrecy, security, and verifiability, the report says.