• TerrorismGerman intelligence foiled 2016 Islamic State terror attack

    Germany’s intelligence services thwarted a 2016 Islamic State attack. A German couple traveled to Syria to try to send teams of militants back to Germany. The woman, a German convert to Islam, tried to recruit women in northern Germany to marry IS members so that they could be granted permission to enter Germany. One of the women she contacted was an informer for the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, and she alerted authorities.

  • The Russia connectionCourt in Finland finds pro-Kremlin trolls guilty of harassing investigative journalist

    In a major ruling that exceeded prosecutors’ requests, a court in Finland sentenced a pro-Russian troll to prison for harassing journalist Jessikka Aro. an award-winning Finnish investigative journalist who was among the first reporters to expose the work of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Kremlin’s troll factory. Russia and its Finland-based internet trolls made her a prime target for harassment since her reports appeared in 2014.

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  • The Russia connectionRosenstein defends Russia probe

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the Wall Street Journal the American public will be able to trust the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation because the inquiry has been conducted appropriately and independently. “[A]t the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources,” he said.

  • CybersecurityUnhackable communication: Single particles of light could bring the “quantum internet”

    Hacker attacks on everything from social media accounts to government files could be largely prevented by the advent of quantum communication, which would use particles of light called “photons” to secure information rather than a crackable code. The problem is that quantum communication is currently limited by how much information single photons can help send securely, called a “secret bit rate.” Researchers created a new technique that would increase the secret bit rate 100-fold, to over 35 million photons per second.

  • Conspiracy theoriesInnuendo and pointing suspicion in news coverage can fuel conspiracy theories

    Innuendo and hinting at fake information in news coverage is enough to fuel belief in conspiracy theories, new research shows. Implication alone can significantly increase belief in false facts, according to a new study. Experts have said the results show news outlets should be quicker to correct inaccurate information published or broadcast, and be more cautious about who they invite to provide analysis.

  • Conspiracy theoriesThe anti-Semitism lurking behind George Soros conspiracy theories

    Hungarian Jewish billionaire, philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros is widely recognized for funding progressive political and social causes, usually through grants made by his Open Society Foundations. As a result, Soros has become a lightning rod for conservative and right-wing groups who object to his funding of liberal causes.

  • SurveillanceThe problem with using ‘super recognizers’ to spot criminals in a crowd

    By Emma Portch

    People often say that they never forget a face, but for some people, this claim might actually be true. So-called super recognizers are said to possess exceptional face recognition abilities, often remembering the faces of those they have only briefly encountered or haven’t seen for many years. Their unique skills have even caught the attention of policing and security organizations, who have begun using super recognizers to match photographs of suspects or missing persons to blurry CCTV footage. But recent research shows that the methods used to identify super recognizers are limited, and that the people recruited for this work might not always be as super as initially thought.

  • SuperbugsRapidly identifying antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”

    When you get sick, you want the right treatment fast. But certain infectious microbes are experts at evading the very anti-bacterial drugs designed to fight them. A simple and inexpensive new test developed by UC Berkeley researchers can diagnose patients with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in a matter of minutes. The technique could help doctors prescribe the right antibiotics for each infection, and could help limit the spread of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” which kill as many as 700,000 people worldwide each year.

  • Climate threatsClimate change could cause global beer shortages

    Severe climate events could cause shortages in the global beer supply, according to new research. The study warns that increasingly widespread and severe drought and heat may cause substantial decreases in barley yields worldwide, affecting the supply used to make beer, and ultimately resulting in “dramatic” falls in beer consumption and rises in beer prices.

  • Climate threatsGeoengineering, other technologies won’t solve climate woes

    The countries of the world still need to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate targets. Relying on tree planting and alternative technological solutions such as geoengineering will not make enough of a difference.

  • Our picksCalif.’s earthquake refugees; stopping weaponized consumer drones; how a nuclear war would kill you, and more

    ·  Trump, at rally, hints at conspiracy theories for migrant caravan

    ·  How to stop weaponized consumer drones

    ·  The torture of forcibly separating children from their parents

    ·  Japanese firm falsified data on earthquake protection equipment

    ·  Khashoggi’s death is highlighting the Ottoman-Saudi Islamic rift

    ·  Fighting cybercrime requires a new kind of leadership

    ·  Catastrophic earthquakes could leave 250,000-400,000 refugees in California

    ·  This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you

  • The Russia watchRussia exploiting U.S. racial divisions; disinformation: Moscow style; Reddit’s “war room,” and more

    ·  New method, same strategy: Russia has long exploited U.S. racial divisions

    ·  Russian billionaire set up U.S. company before Trump Tower meeting

    ·  Paul Manafort has begun dishing on Roger Stone

    ·  Reddit has dedicated ‘war room’ to fight Russian misinformation

    ·  Why Russia may have already hacked the 2018 midterms

    ·  Disinformation: Moscow style

    ·  An Army veteran wages war on social-media disinformation

    ·  Ex-CIA chief’s take on election security: Don’t panic, do stay paranoid

    ·  EU to boost defenses to curb Russian cyberattacks

    ·  U.S. libel case over Russian poisoning takes aim at Kremlin propaganda

  • Election securityElections systems under attack

    The Department of Homeland Security is seeing an increase in the number of attacks on election databases in the run up to the midterm elections but has yet to identify who is behind the attempted hacks. DHS continues to insist Russia shows no signs of attacking voting systems the way it did in 21 states in 2016.

  • Election securityEstimated 35 Million voter records for sale on hacking forum

    Data on up to 35 million U.S. voters in as many as 19 states is for sale online, according to a new report from two cybersecurity firms – Anomlai and Intel471. DHS says, however, that much of the data is either public or available for purchase from state and local governments.

  • The Russia connectionTwitter’s massive data release shows the Kremlin’s broad pro-Trump strategy

    Twitter today (Wednesday) released ten million tweets it says represent all of the foreign influence operations on the social media platform, including Russia’s consistent efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and support Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based Kremlin’s troll farm, created 3,400 accounts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign and support Trump. Before helping Trump defeat Clinton, the Kremlin helped Trump secure the GOP nomination by targeting former governor Jeb Bush and Senator Ted Cruz.

  • CybersecurityExposing security vulnerabilities in terahertz data links

    Scientists have assumed that future terahertz data links would have an inherent immunity to eavesdropping, but new research shows that’s not necessarily the case. The study shows that terahertz data links, which may play a role in ultra-high-speed wireless data networks of the future, aren’t as immune to eavesdropping as many researchers have assumed. The research shows that it is possible for a clever eavesdropper to intercept a signal from a terahertz transmitter without the intrusion being detected at the receiver.

  • CybersecurityOpen-source hardware could defend against the next generation of hacking

    By Joshua M. Pearce

    Imagine you had a secret document you had to store away from prying eyes. And you have a choice: You could buy a safe made by a company that kept the workings of its locks secret. Or you could buy a safe whose manufacturer openly published the designs, letting everyone – including thieves – see how they’re made. Which would you choose? It might seem unexpected, but as an engineering professor, I’d pick the second option.

  • SuperbugsSales of vet antibiotics in Europe decline

    A report yesterday from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) shows a significant drop in overall sales of veterinary antibiotics across Europe. The data from the EMA’s eighth European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) report show a 20.1 percent decline in sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals in 25 European Union (EU) countries from 2011 through 2016, with notable decreases in the sales of antibiotics that are critically important in human medicine.

  • Animal diseaseMeasuring global cost of animal diseases

    Across the globe, families depend on livestock animals for milk, meat, eggs, even muscle power. But when a valuable cow or sheep gets sick, farm families face a stark burden affecting not just their herd’s survival, but human health and potential losses for years to come.

  • EarthquakesMaking Oregon safer in quakes and fires

    Research by University of Oregon seismologist is shaping a new set of policy agendas designed to help Oregon prepare for a Cascadia earthquake and other natural disasters. His work on the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system and its companion multihazard monitoring efforts informed Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s just-released document, “Resiliency 2025: Improving Our Readiness for the Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami.”

  • Water securityGlobal hotspots for potential water conflicts

    Scientists at the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission have identified the hotspots where competition over the use of shared water resources could lead to disagreements between countries. The scientists determined that the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates and Colorado rivers are “water hotspots”, where “hydro-political interactions” are most likely to occur. These areas are already under water stress, and future demographic and climatic conditions are expected to exert further pressure on scarce water resources.

  • Our picksParalyzing mystery illness; detecting natural disasters; the Central American caravan, and more

    ·  DHS downplays report that data thieves are selling millions of voters’ data

    ·  Fearing wildfires, California utilities cut power to thousands

    ·  CDC confirms surge in cases of polio-like disease mostly affecting children

    ·  What Trump doesn’t understand about the Central American caravan

    ·  Japanese researchers develop machine-learning technique to detect natural disasters

    ·  A Pulitzer Prize-winning professor and her students challenge U-Md. over news and disinformation

    ·  European counter-terrorism approaches: A slow and insidious erosion of fundamental rights

    ·  Paralyzing mystery illness afflicts kids in 22 states