• The Russian connectionRussia may have rigged Brexit vote – and U.K.’s 8 June general election could be next: Experts

    A report handed to the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Select Committee suggests that Russian secret funds and disinformation campaign may have swayed the EU referendum vote in favor of Brexit. Ahead of the 8 June parliamentary election, GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters – the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. NSA] has warned leaders of Britain’s political parties of the threat Russian government hacking was posing to British democracy – while Russian interference with Brexit is also on the radar of the Electoral Commission, which is worried about the transparency of money donated to political parties and campaigns.

  • Iran nukesNuclear experts: Trump keeping nuclear deal but confronting Iranian aggression

    The Trump administration’s emerging strategy for confronting Iranian threats appears to be upholding the nuclear deal while sanctioning Iran’s non-nuclear behavior, two experts on the agreement say. They note that even as President Donald Trump waived United States sanctions against Iranian crude oil exports, his administration slapped new sanctions against the regime. The experts characterize the strategy the “waive-and-slap approach.”

  • DHSOffering Sheriff David Clarke a position at DHS “is not only dangerous but highly shameful”: ADL

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed deep concern over reports that Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is likely being considered for an appointment as an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).“The fact that Sheriff Clarke may be assuming a key role at DHS is not only dangerous but highly shameful,” ADL said. “An individual representing such extremist ideologies should not be given this type of leadership role and we urge the Trump administration not to go forward with this appointment.”

  • Aviation securityWhy banning laptops from airplane cabins doesn’t make sense

    By Cassandra Burke Robertson and Irina D. Manta

    Recent reports suggest that terrorists can now create bombs so thin that they cannot be detected by the current X-ray screening that our carry-on bags undergo. In an effort to protect against such threats, the U.S is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices in the passenger cabins of airplanes flying between Europe and the United States. This would extend a ban already in place on flights from eight Middle Eastern countries. It is tempting to think that any level of cost and inconvenience is sensible if it reduces the risk of an attack even a little. But risks, inherent in flying and even driving, can never be avoided entirely. So when weighing policies that are designed to make us safer, it is important to consider both their costs and potential effectiveness. Unfortunately, whether the benefits justify the costs is too often not the yardstick used by officials determining whether to pursue these types of policies. Instead, it is more likely that political considerations motivate the adoption of restrictive policies, which in the end actually do little to protect citizens’ security.

  • Bomb squads Bomb squads to compete in annual Robot Rodeo

    Robots are life-saving tools for bomb squads and emergency response teams, providing them a buffer from danger. Sandia National Laboratories is hosting the 11th annual Western National Robot Rodeo, a four-day event where civilian and military bomb squad teams get practice using robots to defuse diverse, dangerous situations.

  • CybersecurityNew funding enables work on Internet policy and cybersecurity for key infrastructure

    By Rachel Gordon

    MIT’s cross-disciplinary Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI) announced that it has awarded $1.5 million to a select group of principal investigators for early-stage Internet policy and cybersecurity research projects. “Understanding the nuance of cybersecurity risk in our critical infrastructure will help policymakers assure that the proper incentives are in place to reduce the threat of catastrophic attacks,” says IPRI founding director Daniel Weitzner.

  • Energy sourcesThe Hindenburg: It was not hydrogen's fault!

    Eighty years ago this month, on 6 May 1937, the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed as it was attempting to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey. Current information indicates that it was not the gas but a coating on the dirigible’s skin that was primarily responsible for the disaster.

  • CybersecurityExperts expect a surge in ransomware attacks this week – this time without a “kill switch”

    A second version of the disruptive WannaCry ransomware – a version which does not contain the “kill switch” used by a young security analyst to shut down many of last week’s cyberattacks – is set to be released by the same group of hackers. There are fears that Monday could see a surge in the number of computers taken over by the devastating WannaCry ransomware hack. Rob Wainwright, head of the European Union police agency, Europol, warned anyone who thought the problem was going away was mistaken. “At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat. The numbers are going up, I am worried about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn (on) their machines on Monday morning,” he said.

  • CybersecurityNHS ransomware cyber-attack was preventable

    By Conor Deane-McKenna

    In a matter of hours, the NHS was effectively placed on lockdown with computer systems being held ransom and further machines powered down to prevent the spread of malware. Critical patient information has been inaccessible and several hospitals urged people to avoid accident and emergency departments, except in cases of real emergencies. But it is not just British infrastructure that has been affected by the ransomware. A total of 99 countries have suffered from this attack so far. Modern anti-virus software and up-to-date operating systems can only do so much. It is therefore vital to invest more in cyber-security training for all staff working with sensitive information. This attack proves that the UK’s cybers-security policy needs further work.

  • TerrorismFormer Treasury official: Qatar’s terror ties make it a questionable U.S. ally

    The ongoing terror ties of Qatar, most recently evidenced by its hosting of Hamas’s release of the terror organization’s new political document, make it a problematic ally for the United States. Hamas is not the only terror group that Qatar has aided. Qatar has overseen the rebranding of the Nusra Front and the Taliban, and has provided luxurious homes for leaders of the Taliban who were released from Guantanamo Bay.

  • CybersecurityEducating, strengthening the cybersecurity workforce

    As Americans become more dependent on modern technology, the demand to protect the nation’s digital infrastructure will continue to grow. CSU, designated as Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance by the NSA and DHS, says that in an effort to produce career-ready cybersecurity professionals and to combat cybercrime nationwide, the California State University is creating educational opportunities for students and faculty members.

  • Radiation threatsPocket-size biological solution to radioactive threats

    Yaky Yanay, co-CEO of Pluristem Therapeutics, last week surprised the participants The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York by saying that a small glass vial he pulled out of his pocket offered a solution to Iran’s nuclear threats. “I have the solution in my pocket.” The company has developed an anti-radiation therapy that can be stockpiled for emergencies. The therapy harnesses the power of the human placenta to contain the cascading effect of radiation exposure in the body and allow for the natural healing of cells.

  • DronesService Academies Swarm Challenge: Expanding the capabilities UAV swarms

    More than forty Cadets and Midshipmen from the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy helped expand the capabilities of swarms of highly autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) last month in the Service Academies Swarm Challenge. In the skies over Camp Roberts, an Army National Guard post north of Paso Robles, Calif., each academy demonstrated the innovative offensive and defensive tactics they had developed over the school year. The three-day experiment concluded with an exciting aerial battle in which the Naval Academy took home the win, a trophy, and bragging rights over its rival academies.

  • Public healthResearchers identify security concerns in 1 in 3 FDA-approved drugs

    Nearly one out of every three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have a new safety issue detected in the years after approval, says a new study. While most of the safety concerns are not serious enough to require withdrawal of a drug from the market, the finding highlights the need for ongoing surveillance of new drugs in the post-market period, said the researchers.

  • FloodsNew tool could help predict, prevent surging waters in flood plains

    A group of international scientists studying China’s Yellow River has created a new tool that could help officials better predict and prevent its all-too-frequent floods, which threaten as many as eighty million people. The tool — a formula to calculate sediment transport — may also be applied to studying the sustainability of eroding coastlines worldwide.

  • TerrorismApril 2017 terrorism: The numbers

    The House Homeland Security Committee has released its April 2017 Terror Threat Snapshot, which details terrorism events and trends in April 2017. The snapshot is a monthly committee assessment of the threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists. The document is produced by the Majority Staff of the committee. It is based on information culled from open source materials, including media reports, publicly available government statements, and nongovernmental assessments.

  • GangsICE-led anti-gang campaign nets 1,378 arrests nationwide

    A six-week nationwide gang operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) concluded this weekend with 1,378 arrests across the United States – the largest gang surge conducted by HSI to date. The operation targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.

  • CybersecurityU.K. hospitals, clinics hit by large-scale ransomware cyberattack

    The NHS has confirmed that hospitals across England have been hit by a large-scale cyberattack. The attack has locked staff out of their computers and forced emergency patients to be diverted to hospitals not hit by the attack. The IT systems of NHS facilities across England have been hit simultaneously – and the screens of computers connected to the networks under attack showed a pop-up message demanding a ransom in exchange for allowing staff access to the PCs.

  • CybersecurityDHS S&T’s Transition to Practice program unveils 2017 cohort

    Eight new cybersecurity technologies developed by researchers at federally funded laboratories and academic research centers are ready for the commercial market. DHS S&T’s Transition to Practice (TTP) program will showcase its 2017 cohort 16 May in Washington. D.C.

  • CybersecurityNew executive order on cybersecurity highlights need for deterrence, protection of key industries

    By Frank J. Cilluffo and Sharon L. Cardash

    President Trump’s new executive order on cybersecurity for federal computer networks and key elements of the country’s infrastructure – such as the electricity grid and core communications networks – builds meaningfully on the work of the Obama administration. Cybersecurity is ultimately an exercise in risk management. Given the range of possible threats and the pace at which they may appear, it is impossible to protect everything, everywhere, all the time. But it is possible to make sure that the most valuable resources (such as particular networks and systems, or specific data) are properly protected by, at minimum, good cyber-hygiene – and ideally, more. Overall, the order is a solid document, with guidance that is both measured and clear. Key to its success – and ultimately to the country’s security in cyberspace – will be the relationship the government builds with private industry. Protecting the country won’t be possible without both groups working in tandem.

  • Public healthDoctors should be paid by salary, not fee-for-service: Behavioral economists

    While most conflict of interest research and debate in medicine focuses on physicians interacting with pharmaceutical and device companies, one important source of conflicts is largely ignored in the medical literature on conflicts of interest: how doctors are paid. A new study outlines the problems associated with the fee-for-service arrangements that most doctors currently operate under. Such compensation schemes, the authors argue, create incentives for physicians to order more, and different, services than are best for patients.

  • Energy securityRight research, development investments “good bets” for both climate and economies

    Investing in new ways of utility-scale electricity storage and capturing carbon to store underground should be a priority for governments aiming to meet the greenhouse gas and “green energy” targets set out in the Paris Agreement despite shrinking research and development budgets, experts suggest. Researchers analyzed a range of studies and expert reports on public energy R&D investments to uncover common threads and trends — pulling together the current state of knowledge on cost-effective investments across a range of energy technologies.