• SuperbugsA first: Salmonella resistant to antibiotics of last resort found in U.S.

    Researchers have found a gene that gives Salmonella resistance to antibiotics of last resort in a sample taken from a human patient in the U.S. The find is the first evidence that the gene mcr-3.1 has made its way into the U.S. from Asia.

  • Domestic Islamist extremismDomestic Islamist extremism in the U.S.: 2018-2019

    While white supremacists and other right-wing extremists are responsible for most extremist-related domestic murders committed in the past decade, terrorism and violence inspired by Islamist extremism continues to pose a serious threat to Americans. ISIS’s violent ideology continues to resonate with and radicalize U.S. citizens, but domestic Islamist extremists are increasingly seeking inspiration from other foreign terror organizations such as Al Qaeda. In 2018, 13 individuals were arrested for domestic criminal activity motivated by Islamist extremism — all of them were lawfully in the United States at the time of their arrest. The number of individuals arrested for domestic Islamist extremist criminal activity decreased from 2017 to 2018 by approximately 40 percent.

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  • Preventable diseasesNY State: Religious grounds no longer allowed to exempt children from vaccination

    New York is the latest state where parents can no longer refuse to vaccinate children on religious grounds. Both houses of the New York State Assembly passed the measure Thursday and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it immediately.

  • Preventable diseasesTexas vaccine exemption rates have reached an all-time high. Did Texas make it too easy for parents to opt out?

    By Elizabeth Byrne and Shiying Cheng

    Texas has resisted recent attempts to change its vaccine laws, allowing parents to get their children exemptions for “reasons of conscience.” Use our lookup tool to see how exemption rates have changed in school districts and private schools across the state.

  • The Russia connectionEU probe finds “continued, sustained” online disinformation by “Russian sources”

    The European Union says that it has gathered evidence of “continued and sustained” disinformation activity by Russia aimed at influencing the results of May’s elections for the European Parliament. The European Commission report said “Russian sources” tried to suppress voter turnout and influence voters’ preferences.

  • CryptographyQuantum – a double-edged sword for cryptography

    By Jon Cartwright

    Quantum computers pose a big threat to the security of modern communications, deciphering cryptographic codes that would take regular computers forever to crack. But drawing on the properties of quantum behavior could also provide a route to truly secure cryptography.

  • BiothreatsCongress passes legislation authorizing critical biodefense programs

    Last week the House passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act. The bill reauthorizes existing statute governing public health efforts at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

  • EbolaEbola outbreak spreads to Uganda – it should never have happened

    By Sterghios Moschos

    The DRC is where the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. And the country is no stranger to this menace – this is the ninth time it has had to contain the disease. Still, this outbreak is the second largest on record – and the second to have crossed into another country.

  • PerspectiveEntering the third decade of cyber threats: Toward greater clarity in cyberspace

    Over the course of just a few decades, the world has entered into a digital age in which powerful evolving cyber capabilities provide access to everyone connected online from any place on the planet. Those capabilities could be harnessed for the benefit of humanity; they might also be abused, leading to enormous harms and posing serious risks to the safety and stability of the entire world. Dan Efrony writes in Lawfare that a strategy of international cooperation is crucial to mitigate the threats of abuse of cyberspace, primarily by clarifying the “red lines” in the field of cybersecurity and determining how to verify and enforce states’ compliance with their legal obligations in the field.

  • PerspectiveAlphabet-owned jigsaw bought a Russian troll campaign as an experiment

    For more than two years, the notion of social media disinformation campaigns has conjured up images of Russia’s Internet Research Agency, an entire company housed on multiple floors of a corporate building in St. Petersburg, concocting propaganda at the Kremlin’s bidding. But a targeted troll campaign today can come much cheaper—as little as $250, says Andrew Gully, a research manager at Alphabet subsidiary Jigsaw. He knows because that’s the price Jigsaw paid for one last year. Andy Greenberg writes in Wired that as part of research into state-sponsored disinformation that it undertook in the spring of 2018, Jigsaw set out to test just how easily and cheaply social media disinformation campaigns, or “influence operations,” could be bought in the shadier corners of the Russian-speaking web. In March 2018, after negotiating with several underground disinformation vendors, Jigsaw analysts went so far as to hire one to carry out an actual disinformation operation, assigning the paid troll service to attack a political activism website Jigsaw had itself created as a target.

  • PerspectiveLawmakers grapple with deepfake threat at hearing

    The House Intelligence Committee heard alarming testimony Thursday that deepfake videos could be weaponized by foreign adversaries to sow divisions in the United States. Olivia Beavers and Maggie Miller write in The Hill that Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent and senior fellow for Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund, warned lawmakers that Russia and China will likely both work to develop “synthetic media capabilities” for use against the U.S. and other adversaries. “China’s artificial intelligence capabilities rival the U.S., are powered by enormous data troves to include vast amounts of information stolen from the U.S., and the country has already shown a propensity to employ synthetic media in television broadcast journalism,” he said.

  • Our picksIt’s 2016 all over again; lethal climate change; Greenland’s Cold War secrets, and more

    ·  To Congress: If Russians seek to provide dirt, make it a requirement to report!

    ·  It’s 2016 all over again

    ·  Trump’s electoral shenanigans are getting worse

    ·  A victim of terrorism faces deportation for helping terrorists

    ·  Will climate change kill everyone — or just lots and lots of people?

    ·  The top secret Cold War project that pulled climate science from the ice

  • TerrorismFrance busts neo-Nazi plotting to attack Jewish, Muslim institutions

    Authorities in France have busted a neo-Nazi cell accused of plotting terrorist attacks against Jewish and Muslim institutions, officials said Tuesday. The suspects had named their group L’Oiseau Noir (Black Bird) and were said to be “close in ideology to the neo-Nazi movement.”

  • Preventable diseasesAs measles cases crack 1,000, a look at what to do

    Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but by early June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,022 cases in 28 states, the most since 1992. The disease is occurring in clusters of unvaccinated people who, for religious, personal, or medical reasons, have refused to be vaccinated or to have their children vaccinated. “What we haven’t seen before — or at least it’s much more intense now — is the extent to which a foreign power, Russia, is utilizing the sense of division in our country, using social media, websites targeting low-information communities, isolated communities, to propagate an unhealthy status for Americans, says a national security expert.

  • InfrastructureIt’s Alive! Creating innovative “living” bridge

    Engineers have designed a unique living laboratory on a heavily traveled iconic bridge which could change the way infrastructure is viewed. The Memorial Bridge, which links Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery, Maine, has been outfitted with data sensors that have transformed it into a self-diagnosing, self-reporting “smart” bridge that captures a range of information from the health of the span to the environment around it.

  • RainstormsMore frequent downpours of torrential rain with global warming

    The frequency of downpours of heavy rain—which can lead to flash floods, devastation, and outbreaks of waterborne disease—has increased across the globe in the past 50 years, a period when global warming also intensified

  • HurricanesClimate change is destroying a barrier that protects the U.S. East Coast from hurricanes

    By Nicole deRoberts

    Severe hurricanes can cost up to hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. The destruction left in the wake of Atlantic hurricanes has been increasing over time in recent decades. A new study suggests that climate change could soon eliminate an atmospheric barrier that protects much of the U.S. East Coast from powerful hurricanes.

  • PerspectiveHow China could shut down America’s defenses

    Advanced U.S. weapons are almost entirely reliant on rare-earth materials only made in China—and they could be a casualty of the trade war. Keith Johnson and Lara Seligman write in Foreign Policy that President Donald Trump has often argued that China has much more to lose than the United States in a trade war, but critics say his administration has failed to address a major U.S. vulnerability: Beijing maintains powerful leverage over the war-making capability of its main strategic rival through its control of critical materials.

  • PerspectiveA top voting-machine firm is finally taking security seriously

    Over the past 18 months, election-security advocates have been pushing for new legislation shoring up the nation’s election infrastructure. Election-security reform proposals enjoy significant support among Democrats—who control the House of Representatives—and have picked up some Republican cosponsors, too. Timothy B. Lee writes in Wired that such measures, however, have faced hostility from the White House and from the Republican leadership of the Senate. Legislation called the Secure Elections Act, cosponsored by senators James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) last year, aimed to shore up the nation’s election security by providing states with new money to phase out paperless systems. But the Lankford-Klobuchar bill stalled in the face of opposition from the Trump administration and Senate Republicans. At this point, any election reform legislation looks unlikely to pass before the 2020 election.

  • PerspectiveDystopian Future Watch: Is San Francisco’s facial recognition ban too little, too late?

    Life just keeps creeping along, leading us step-by-step closer to living in a Philip K. Dick dystopian future—in real-time. And often, in our surveillance culture, we are willing participants to work alongside Big Brother. Harmon Leon writes in the Observer that Remember how fun it used to be to see facial recognition and retina scanning in sci-fi movies? We loved it in RoboCop and Blade Runner, right? Now, many of these biometrictechnologies have become a nightmarish reality.

  • Our picksHack & leak new normal; soaked Midwest; people who pay people to kill people, and more

    ·  Former Facebook security chief: hack and leak campaigns are the new normal

    ·  YouTube’s bad week and the limitations of laboratories of online governance

    ·  The severe floods soaking the Midwest and Southeast are not letting up

    ·  Trump’s conspiracy theories about intelligence will make the CIA’s job harder

    ·  Facebook bans health and conspiracy site Natural News

    ·  People who pay people to kill people

    ·  Europe has not faced up to the threat of Hezbollah

    ·  Feds: D.C. man arrested on drug charges turned out to be ISIS sympathizer

  • Election securityAhead of the 2020 election: National response to confront foreign interference

    Stanford University scholars outline a detailed strategy for how to protect the integrity of American elections – including recommendations such as requiring a paper trail of every vote cast and publishing information about a campaign’s connections with foreign nationals.