• CybersecurityMachine-learning-based solution to help combat phishing

    When it comes to hacking, phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. According to IBM security research, some 30 percent of phishing e-mails are opened by targeted recipients. Additionally, the attacks are becoming more advanced and harder to detect at first glance. A new machine-learning-based security solution could help businesses detect phishing sites up to 250 percent faster than other methods.

  • DronesService Academies Swarm Challenge: Controlling drone swarms

    UAVs and other robots have become increasingly affordable, capable, and available to both the U.S. military and adversaries alike. Enabling UAVs and similar assets to perform useful tasks under human supervision — that is, carrying out swarm tactics in concert with human teammates — holds tremendous promise to extend the advantages U.S. soldiers have in field operations. A persistent challenge in achieving this capability, however, has been scalability: enabling one operator to oversee multiple robotic platforms and have them perform highly autonomous behaviors without direct teleoperation. To help make effective swarm tactics a reality, DARPA created the Service Academies Swarm Challenge, a collaboration between the Agency and the three U.S. military Service academies.

  • AnthraxUrban legend: WWI-era “viable” anthrax strain was, in fact, much younger standard laboratory strain

    A team of international researchers has found that a strain of anthrax-causing bacterium thought to have been viable eighty years after a thwarted First World War espionage attack, was, in reality, a much younger standard laboratory strain. The team speculates that the mix-up was due to commonplace laboratory contamination. In 1917, German spy Baron Otto von Rosen was caught in Norway possessing lumps of sugar embedded with glass capillaries filled with a liquid holding spores of Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax. He was suspected of plotting to feed the sugar lumps, which contained the oldest known isolates of B. anthracis, to the reindeer that pulled transports of munitions and foods across the frozen Arctic tundra for the Allied forces.

  • Infrastructure protection“Spectral fingerprinting” sees through concrete to detect early corrosion

    Doctors use X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to determine whether a patient has suffered any internal injuries. Researchers are using the same principle, but in a more powerful form, to detect corrosion, the primary danger threatening the health of the steel framework within the nation’s bridges, roads, and other aging physical infrastructure. What they have developed is a noninvasive “spectral fingerprint” technique that reveals the corrosion of concrete-encased steel before it can cause any significant degradation of the structure it supports.

  • Extreme weather eventsScientists test links between extreme weather and climate change

    After an unusually intense heat wave, downpour or drought, climate scientists inevitably receive phone calls and emails asking whether human-caused climate change played a role. In the past, scientists typically avoided linking individual weather events to climate change, citing the challenges of teasing apart human influence from the natural variability of the weather. But that is changing. “Over the past decade, there’s been an explosion of research, to the point that we are seeing results released within a few weeks of a major event,” says one expert.

  • SyriaExplosions rock Damascus Airport following cargo flights from Iran

    Explosions rocked the area near Damascus International Airport early Thursday morning following the arrival of four cargo planes from Iran. Israeli leaders have said that Hezbollah receiving game-changing weapons, such as advanced missiles or chemical weapons, represents a “red line” that Israel will not accept.

  • CrimeDHS launches new Office for victims of illegal immigrant crime

    Homeland Security secretary John Kelly the other day announced the official launch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE). The VOICE office will assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens. ICE built the VOICE office in response to the Executive Order entitled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which directed DHS to create an office to support victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.

  • CrimeGermany: Rise in crimes committed by foreigners -- and in crimes by right-wing extremists

    Earlier this week Germany’s Interior Ministry released the 2016 police crime statistics, including statistics of politically motivated crime. Compared to 2015, the number is up by 6.6 percent and has reached a new high. The main factor is the soaring number of politically motivated crimes by foreigners, which has risen by 66.5 percent to a total of 3,372 offenses. The backlash against the large number of migrants allowed into Germany in 2015 and 2016 manifests itself in crime statistics as well: While the number violent offenses motivated by left-wing extremism fell by 24.2 percent, the number of violent offences committed by right-wing extremists rose by 14.3 percent.

  • CyberattacksCyber attacks ten years on: from disruption to disinformation

    By Tom Sear

    Today – 27 April — marks the tenth anniversary of the world’s first major coordinated “cyberattack” on a nation’s internet infrastructure: Russian government hackers attacked the computer systems of the government of Estonia in retaliation for what Russia considered to be an insult to the sacrifices of the Red Army during the Second World War. This little-known event set the scene for the onrush of cyber espionage, fake news, and information wars we know today. A cybersecurity expert recently told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that to understand current Russian active measures and influence campaigns — that is, to understand cyber operations in the twenty-first century – we must first understand intelligence operations in the twentieth century. Understanding the history of cyber operations will be critical for developing strategies to combat them. Narrowly applying models from military history and tactics will offer only specific gains in an emerging ecosystem of “information age strategies.” If nations wish to defend themselves, they will need to understand culture as much as coding.

  • First respondersNew tool for first responders: An ice bag to the face

    A new study suggests a simple bag of ice water applied to the face could help maintain adequate blood pressure in people who have suffered significant blood loss. the researchers’ aim is to help prevent cardiovascular decompensation, a sudden precipitous drop in blood pressure that limits oxygen delivery to the heart, brain, and other vital organs. Decompensation is a significant risk after blood loss, even once the person is no longer actively bleeding.

  • EarthquakesPredicting major earthquakes

    A Nagoya University-led team reveals the mechanisms behind different earthquakes at a plate boundary on the west coast of South America, shedding light on historical seismic events and providing a foundation for risk prediction tools to assess the likelihood of earthquakes and tsunamis striking this region and their potential periodicity and intensity.

  • Coastal perilSea levels could rise by more than three meters: New study

    Global sea levels could rise by more than three meters – over half a meter more than previously thought – this century alone, according to a new study. The projections explicitly accounted for three scientific uncertainties – the speed at which the Antarctic ice sheet is going to melt, the speed at which the ocean is warming up, and the amount of emitted greenhouse gases over the twenty-first century.

  • Flying carsUber picks Dallas, Fort Worth as test cities for flying vehicle network

    By Brandon Formby

    Uber is looking to North Texas as a testing ground for its initiative to make intra-urban flying vehicle rides a reality. The company announced Tuesday that Dallas and Fort Worth are its first U.S. partner cities for what its dubbing the “Uber Elevate Network.” The company hopes to have the first demonstration of how such a network of flying, hailed vehicles would work in three years. The company also tapped a Dallas real estate development firm and Fort Worth’s Bell Helicopter to develop pick-up and drop-off sites for electric vehicles that would take-off and land vertically.

  • AviationU.S. considering extending electronic-device flight ban to European travelers

    Passengers flying from the United Kingdom to the United States may soon be barred from carrying their laptops with them, U.K. government officials said Monday. U.K. government sources said they were advised by American security officials that the Trump administration is planning on enforce the electronic device ban on flights from several European countries. The ban, if implemented, will go into effect before the busy summer travel season begins.

  • Terrorism & social mediaEmpowering ISIS opponents on Twitter

    A new RAND report draws on earlier RAND research on how to leverage social-media influencers and tailor messages to design a data-driven, actionable strategy to counter ISIS on Twitter. While social media is still relatively new, many of the best practices for using it are based on well-understood marketing approaches – and countering ISIS on social media should be informed by these best practices.

  • GangsLocal, federal focus on deadly gang violence on Long Island

    There has been a surge since 2014 in the number of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States, mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Most of the minors are entitled to federal anti-trafficking protections, and subsequent resettlement. Suffolk Country is ranked fourth in the U.S. in the number of unaccompanied minors resettled in the county, and neighboring Nassau County ranks tenth. Violent gangs such as MS-13 actively recruit these unaccompanied minors. Local and federal leaders say there is a need to do more – from better vetting to gang prevention programs to better law enforcement – to address the growing gang violence.

  • ImmigrationDoes cooperating with ICE harm local police? What the research says

    By Patria de Lancer Julnes and Jennifer C. Gibbs

    Police need public cooperation. The police rely on the public to report and help solve crimes. This is especially true now that police departments face budget cuts and increasing demands on their time – an environment that pressures police to get things done through innovative partnerships with citizens. But cooperation and partnerships rely on trust, something that’s in short supply between citizens and police. A tough stance toward enforcing immigration laws can make immigrants, as well as the general public, cynical toward police, weakening their trust and legitimacy. Police are right when they say forcing them to work with ICE will make their job harder.

  • InfectionsDifferentiating viral and bacterial infections

    MeMed, an Israeli company specializing in molecular immunology, informatics, clinical infectious diseases and in vitro diagnostics, last week announced it has been awarded a $9.2 million contract by DoD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to fund the completion of MeMed’s point-of-care platform for distinguishing bacterial from viral infections.

  • AnthraxInternational anthrax conference will explore latest scientific research findings

    Scientists and researchers from all over the world who work on Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, and B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, two closely related bacillus species, will be heading to Victoria, British Columbia, in October for the international conference known as “Bacillus ACT.” The bi-annual conference, set for 1-5 October, will allow members of the scientific community to present their work and meet more than 200 global peers.

  • Wood structuresTesting seismic resilience of laminated wood structures in earthquake-prone areas

    Researchers are developing guidelines that will help builders use more sustainable timber in high-rise buildings in earthquake-prone areas. As part of the $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant, the researchers will eventually test their designs for a 10-story tall, wooden building by simulating a real earthquake in a laboratory.

  • Wood structuresTimber skyscrapers may soon transform London’s skyline

    The use of timber as a structural material in tall buildings is an area of emerging interest for its variety of potential benefits; the most obvious being that it is a renewable resource, unlike prevailing construction methods which use concrete and steel. The research is also investigating other potential benefits, such as reduced costs and improved construction timescales, increased fire resistance, and significant reduction in the overall weight of buildings. London’s first timber skyscraper could be a step closer to reality as city engineers are finalizing their evaluation of a conceptual plans for an 80-storey, 300-meter high wooden building integrated within the Barbican.

  • Water securityWestern U.S.: Loss in water from melting snowpack due to human influence

    Peak runoff in streams and rivers of the western United States is strongly influenced by melting of accumulated mountain snowpack. A significant decline in this resource has a direct connection to streamflow, with substantial economic and societal impacts. An international team of scientists has found that up to 20 percent loss in the annual maximum amount of water contained in the western United States’ mountain snowpack in the last three decades is due to human influence.