• ImmigrationMedical experts alarmed over impact of family separation on children

    Lat Thursday, thousands of medical experts and mental health professionals and researchers sent a letter to DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for an immediate end to forced family separation at the border, citing concerns from the medical community over the trauma and potentially long-lasting damage it has on children’s health and well-being. “The United States should follow the “best interests of the child” standard and immediately stop the practice of forced separation. It should not be U.S. policy to traumatize children, especially not as a form of indirect punishment of their parents,” the mental health professionals wrote.

  • ImmigrationDetained immigrant children stay in shelters that are already full and aren’t equipped for babies

    By Dyana Mason

    The U.S. is taking immigrant children away from their parents when foreign families are either caught crossing the border without documents, or if they turn themselves in to seek refugee status. Many of these children are under the age of 4, and some are infants, according to media reports and rights advocates. The administration’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, this is a new interpretation of federal immigration law. Family separations like these did occur during the Bush and Obama administrations but were rare. DHS reports that between 19 April and 31 May 2018, 1,995 children were separated from their families. Between October 2016 and February 2018, 1,800 children were separated from their families. As of late May, nearly 11,000 migrant children were in government custody.

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  • PrivacyPotential threat to speech privacy via smartphone motion sensors

    Could smartphone motion sensors be used by cybercriminals to record speech? It is a question that many academic and industry researchers are working to answer in order to ward off this kind of malicious use before it happens. Recent studies suggest security flaws and sensitivities to low-frequency audio signals, such as human speech, in accelerometers and gyroscopes could allow cybercriminals to collect confidential information such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers as users speak into or near a mobile device.

  • GunsBank withheld $1.6 million from top bump stock maker after Las Vegas shooting

    By Ann Givens

    In a lawsuit, Slide Fire Solutions, the inventor and manufacturer of the bump stock, accuses Merrick Bank of holding more than $1.6 million of the company’s money “hostage.” The financial institution says it had to hedge its risk in light of threats to Slide Fire’s business arising from the Las Vegas shooting.

  • ResilienceHow microgrids could boost resilience in New Orleans

    During Hurricane Katrina and other severe storms that have hit New Orleans, power outages, flooding and wind damage combined to cut off people from clean drinking water, food, medical care, shelter, prescriptions and other vital services. Researchers at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories teamed up with the City of New Orleans to analyze ways to increase community resilience and improve the availability of critical lifeline services during and after severe weather.

  • TerrorismPakistan Taliban chief killed in U.S. air strike

    Mullah Fazullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, an Afghanistan military official has said. Fazlullah was Pakistan’s most-wanted militant. He ordered the 2014 attack which killed 132 children, and the 2012 shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • BioterrorismPolice carry out more raids in Cologne, Germany, after biological weapon arrest

    Police in the German city of Cologne on Friday searched several empty apartments in a high-rise, following the Tuesday discovery of the highly toxic substance ricin in one of the apartments. On Thursday, police charged a 29-year-old Tunisian man with producing a biological weapon and for “preparing a serious act of violence against the state.”

  • CybersecurityConnected cars vulnerable to cyberthreats

    Connected cars could be as vulnerable to cyberattack as the smartphone in your hand or the personal computer on your desktop, according to a new study from the U.K.“Connected cars are no different from other nodes on the internet of things and face many of the same generic cybersecurity threats,” the team reports.

  • CyberattacksWhy some claim credit for cyberattacks – and some don’t

    The decision to claim credit for a cyberattack on a government or institution depends on both the goals of the attack and the characteristics of the attacker, according to a new study, which is one of the first to look into the voluntary claiming of cybersecurity operations. The researchers note that whether or not the originator of the cyberattack wished to claim credit for it, advances in cybersecurity improve the ability of government and law enforcement agencies to track hackers.

  • KasperskyKaspersky to halt cooperation with Europe to fight cybercrime

    Russia’s Kaspersky Lab says it will no longer cooperate on several European cybercrime-fighting initiatives after the European Parliament moved to ban its antivirus software. The United States and a number of European countries have accused Kaspersky of having ties to the Kremlin and Russian intelligence services. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last year ordered the country’s agencies using Kaspersky products to remove and replace them with other approved software within 90 days.

  • The Russia connectionFrom Nord Stream to Novichok: Kremlin propaganda on Google’s front page

    On 24 May, an international team of investigators announced that a Russian anti-aircraft missile was directly responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17). Initial analysis of social media reactions to these announcements indicated that Kremlin outlets were struggling to effectively counter the new evidence implicating Moscow in the downing of MG17. However, over the next week, conspiracy theories and disinformation narratives from Russian propaganda outlets found a foothold on an impactful and unlikely medium: Google’s front page.

  • The Russia connectionWas there a connection between Russian Facebook propaganda and a foiled terrorist attack in Kansas City?

    On 18 April, a jury convicted three Kansas men of conspiring to use “weapons of mass destruction” against an apartment complex where many of the residents were Somali refugees. They were arrested before they were able to carry out their bomb plot in 2016. All three were known to be very active on Facebook, where they called themselves “Crusaders.” Experts wonder whether the divisive and polarizing ads which Russian disinformation specialists ran on Facebook during 2016 motivated the three to plan the attack.

  • DronesLos Alamos lab designated “No Drone Zone,” deploys counter-drone systems

    Loa Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has deployed a system to counter all unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over its restricted airspace and an additional FAA designated “No Drone Zone.” The Counter-UAS program at Los Alamos will be the blueprint for future programs at three other NNSA sites. Systems are planned for the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, and the National Nuclear Security Site in Nevada.

  • Rising seasGlobal warming accelerating rise in sea levels

    A new study discovered that rising sea levels could be accelerated by vulnerable ice shelves in the Antarctic. The study discovered that the process of warmer ocean water destabilizing ice shelves from below is also cracking them apart from above, increasing the chance they’ll break off. “This study is more evidence that the warming effects of climate change are impacting our planet in ways that are often more dangerous than we perhaps had thought,” said one researcher.

  • Our picksThe next plague is coming; cyber warfare & nuclear attack; fooling DNA testing, and more

    •  The next plague is coming. Is America ready?

    •  Deadly Chinese poultry flu could be ‘disease X’ that sparks worldwide pandemic 

    •  The ethics of separating families at the border

    •  Bolt out of the blue: Nuclear attack warning in the era of information and cyber warfare

    •  Another DNA testing company reportedly gets fooled by dog DNA

    •  2014 Napa earthquake may be linked to groundwater changes, study says

    •  Underwater fiber-optic cables could moonlight as earthquake sensors

    •  Neo-Nazis can be deradicalized and make amends

    •  Antarctica has lost nearly 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992

  • The Russia watchRussia’s “raiding” strategy; World Cup Russian hacking threat is real; EU bans Kaspersky, and more

      Raiding and international brigandry: Russia’s strategy for great power competition

      What could Michael Cohen tell Mueller about Russia collusion?

      Did a U.S. military vehicle kill a boy in Lithuania? It’s “fake news,” defense minister says

      World Cup Russian hacking threat is real, security experts warn

      How a journalist kept Russia’s secret links to Brexit under wraps

      EU parliament overwhelmingly backs recommending a ban on Kaspersky products

      How Trump helps Putin

      Trump’s leadership isn’t just about tantrums

  • Food securityTensions among fishing countries rise as climate change drives fish to new habitats

    Out-of-date fisheries regulatory system has not kept up with the realities of global warming and shifting fish populations. New fisheries are likely to appear in more than seventy countries all over the world as a result of climate change. History has shown that newly shared fisheries often spark conflict among nations. Conflict leads to overfishing, which reduces the food, profit and employment fisheries can provide, and can also fracture international relations in other areas beyond fisheries.

  • TerrorismGerman police arrest man for building a biological weapon

    The police in Cologne, Germany, on Tuesday arrested 29-year old Sief Allah H. for trying to build biological weapons in his apartment. He came to Germany in 2016 and had been under police surveillance for terrorist sympathies. In mid-May he ordered 1,000 castor seeds — the main ingredient for used in ricin toxin — and a coffee grinder from an online store. In June he managed to produce the toxin June.

  • TerrorismU.K.: Number of terrorism-related arrests hits record high

    Official figures show that the number of terrorism-related arrests in Britain reached a record high after a series of attacks were conducted around the country last year. In the year ending 31 March, 441 people were held on suspicion of terrorism-related activity, the highest number of arrests in one year since data collection started in 2001, and an increase of 17 percent on 378 in the previous year.

  • The Russia connectionRussia’s “malign activity” aims to “degrade our democratic values and weaken our alliances”: Dan Coats

    Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, on 8 June 2018, spoke at the Atlantic Council’s Tocqueville Conversation. He emphasized the magnitude of the threats posed by Russia’s broad, sustained, and sophisticated campaign to undermine Western democracies, discredit open societies and liberal norms, weaken the rule of law, and destroy the rule-based international order. Coats noted that it should not be a surprise that Vladimir Putin has launched this attack on Western values ad norms. “President Putin openly acknowledges that his experience in the KGB has established his approach to politics. Perhaps that is why he thrives in an environment of cynicism, lies, and misdirection.”

  • Truth decayThe partisan brain: Why people are attracted to fake news and what to do about it

    By Andrea Pereira and . Jay J. Van Bavel

    Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, describes a totalitarian state in which the government demands that citizens abandon their own perceptions, memories, and beliefs in favor of party propaganda. In this dystopian nightmare, people are forced against their will to adopt the beliefs of the ruling party. However, modern research in political science, psychology, and neuroscience suggests that people are often quite willing to adopt the (mis)beliefs of political parties and spread misinformation when it aligns with their political affiliations.

  • CybersecurityWhy 50,000 ships are so vulnerable to cyberattacks

    By Keith Martin and Rory Hopcraft

    The 50,000 ships sailing the sea at any one time have joined an ever-expanding list of objects that can be hacked. Cybersecurity experts recently displayed how easy it was to break into a ship’s navigational equipment. This comes only a few years after researchers showed that they could fool the GPS of a superyacht into altering course. Once upon a time objects such as cars, toasters and tugboats only did what they were originally designed to do. Today the problem is that they all also talk to the internet. The maritime industry is undoubtedly behind other transportation sectors, such as aerospace, in cybersecurity terms. There also seems to be a lack of urgency to get the house in order. So the maritime industry seems particularly ill-equipped to deal with future challenges, such as the cybersecurity of fully autonomous vessels.