• The Russia connectionRussia planted sabotage-enabling malware in U.S. energy grid, other critical infrastructure

    Russia has not only attacked the infrastructure of American democracy: The U.S. government now says that Russia has engaged in a pervasive, wide-ranging cyber-assault on U.S. energy grid and other key components of the U.S. critical infrastructure. These sustained attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure – along with the Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Russian-launched NoPetya malware — were the reasons the administration on Thursday imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia.

  • U.K. spy attackU.K.'s Johnson says Putin probably behind ex-spy attack; Kremlin lashes out

    British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said it is “overwhelmingly likely” that Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision to use a highly toxic chemical against a former double agent in England. “We have nothing against the Russians themselves. There is to be no Russophobia as a result of what is happening,” Johnson said on 16 March6, nearly two weeks after former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were exposed to what British authorities say was a potent nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. “Our quarrel is with Putin’s Kremlin, and with his decision — and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision — to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the U.K., on the streets of Europe for the first time since the Second World War,” Johnson said.

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  • CybersecurityMeltdown and Spectre: Exposing the ghost in our machines

    Researchers had found that in an effort to make computer chips more efficient, major manufacturers had inadvertently inserted an opening that would allow hackers to spy on sensitive data. In two papers that were published on 3 January, researchers coined the cyber security threats Meltdown and Spectre. The name Meltdown was chosen for the attack’s ability to “melt” the security system typically enforced by a processor’s hardware. The name Spectre was based on the root cause of the security vulnerability, speculative execution, a speed-enhancing technique in which the processor tries to predict what part of code it will be required to execute next and starts executing it. And, much like a real spectre, the attack is nearly impossible to detect.

  • CybersecurityU.S. military’s cybersecurity’s capacity and capabilities

    The military service chiefs of cybersecurity see an upward trend in the capacity, capabilities, sophistication and persistence of cyber threats against military networks, Navy Vice Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet said on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

  • ConflictSeeking clarity: Making gray-zone activity more black and white

    An emergent type of conflict in recent years has been coined “gray zone,” because it sits in a nebulous area between peace and conventional warfare. Gray-zone action is not openly declared or defined, it’s slower, and is prosecuted more subtly—using social, psychological, religious, information, cyber and other means to achieve physical or cognitive objectives with or without violence. The lack of clarity of intent—the grayness—makes it challenging to detect, characterize, and counter an enemy fighting this way. DARPA launches a new program called COMPASS, to develop software that would help clarify enemy intent by gauging an adversary’s responses to various stimuli.

  • Hurricane responseNew technology aids hurricane response

    By Kylie Foy

    The 2017 hurricane season was catastrophic. Hurricane Harvey, plaguing Texas with floods, was followed quickly by Irma, whose winds battered Florida and the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria then raged upon Puerto Rico and other islands already reeling from previous storms. In the buildup and aftermath, Lincoln Laboratory quickly assembled teams and technology to aid federal agencies in managing these disasters. Lincoln Laboratory staff deployed tools to help FEMA plan evacuations, monitor storms, and assess the damage wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

  • Water securitySouth Africa can avoid a national water crisis

    Even if South Africa uses less water and applies all of government’s existing plans, the country will still face a water crisis in the next twenty years. Solutions are within reach – but turning things around will take significant financial investment and political will. A new study sets out aggressive measures to offset guaranteed water shortages in the future.

  • Our picksBoosting Calif.’s earthquake safety; refugee detectives; sea-level rise measures, and more

    · California needs new laws to boost earthquake safety, assemblyman says

    · Judge says Corps of Engineers is responsible for damaging floods along Missouri River

    · The refugee detectives

    · Simulated movie theater shooting trains students in emergency care

    · Inching toward sea level rise measures

    · Mass. governor takes aim at making state, its infrastructure more resilient to future storms

    · The unlearned lesson of My Lai

  • The Russia watchRussia targets U.S. “Achilles heel”; Putin's new 'doomsday' device; the Crimea model, and more

    · Russians targeting the “Achilles heel” of critical Infrastructure

    · Anatomy of an info-war: How Russia’s propaganda machine works, and how to counter it

    · Little green men: the annexation of Crimea as an emblem of pro-Kremlin disinformation

    · Putin’s pivot: 4 new features of Russian foreign policy

    · Cold War tactics return to Britain

    · Gavin Williamson was right to be paranoid about Russia

    · The confusing timeline on Roger Stone’s communications with WikiLeaks

    · Why Putin’s new ‘doomsday’ device is so much more deadly and horrific than a regular nuke

    · Russia’s chemical romance: Don’t call it a WMD attack

    · House Intel Committee screwed itself—and the president it’s trying to save

    · More countries are learning from Russia’s cyber tactics

  • The Russia connectionNew U.S. sanctions on Russia for election interference, infrastructure cyberattacks, NoPetya

    The U.S. Treasury has issued its strongest sanctions yet against Russia in response to what it called “ongoing nefarious attacks.” The move targets five entities and nineteen individuals. Among the institutions targeted in the new sanctions for election meddling were Russia’s top intelligence services, Federal Security Service (FSB) and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), the two organizations whose hackers, disinformation specialists, and outside contractors such as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) troll farm were behind — and are still engaged in — a broad and sustained campaign to undermine U.S. democracy.

  • U.K. spy attackSkripal case: Johnson says U.K. may target “corrupt” Putin allies

    British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that the country’s law enforcement agencies were investigating rich Russian individuals with assets in Britain, and suggested that those who owe their wealth to their ties with President Vladimir Putin could be brought to justice. Allies have expressed support for Britain’s assessment that Russia was behind the attack, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying that he would announce unspecified “measures” in the coming days. And NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the “unacceptable” attack was part of “a reckless pattern of Russian behavior over many years.”

  • U.K. spy attackFrench expert says novichok toxin is “clearly a direct link to Russia”

    Novichok, the toxic nerve agent that British authorities believe was used in the near-fatal poisoning of former spy and retired Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, is a powerful substance that is exceedingly difficult to manufacture. This is why a growing number of chemical weapons experts say it is highly likely that only a government could have the technology and infrastructure to make it. And given that the Soviet Union, in the 1980s, was the only state known to have produced it, that has led many experts to conclude that Russian intelligence was behind Skripal’s poisoning.

  • Privacy at the borderAppellate court issues encouraging border search opinion

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in U.S. v. Molina-Isidoro recently issued an encouraging opinion related to the digital privacy of travelers crossing the U.S. border. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief last year in the case, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California (2014) supports the conclusion that border agents need a probable cause warrant before searching electronic devices because of the unprecedented and significant privacy interests travelers have in their digital data. In Riley, the Supreme Court followed similar reasoning and held that police must obtain a warrant to search the cell phone of an arrestee.

  • Public healthIdentifying the key drivers of high U.S. healthcare spending

    The major drivers of high healthcare costs in the U.S. appear to be higher prices for nearly everything—from physician and hospital services to diagnostic tests to pharmaceuticals—and administrative complexity. The study confirmed that the U.S. has substantially higher spending, worse population health outcomes, and worse access to care than other wealthy countries.

  • SuperbugsLow level of worrisome resistant bacterium in U.S.

    A new multistate surveillance study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that the incidence of a multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogen capable of causing severe infections and spreading easily is low and mainly confined to healthcare facilities. And CDC officials would like to keep it that way. a team of researchers from the CDC and public health departments across the country report that the overall annual incidence of carbapenem-nonsusceptible Acinetobacter baumannii is 1.2 cases per 100,000 persons, and that nearly all the cases were healthcare-associated.

  • WildfiresMore homes built near wild lands lead to greater wildfire risk

    More than 10 million acres burned across the country during the 2017 U.S. wildfire season at a cost of more than $2 billion — the largest bill ever. And while many factors affect the risk for wildfires, new research shows that a flurry of homebuilding near wild areas since 1990 has greatly increased the number of homes at risk from wildfires while increasing the costs associated with fighting those fires in increasingly dense developments.

  • Extreme weatherWarm Arctic means colder, snowier winters in Northeastern U.S.

    Scientists have linked the frequency of extreme winter weather in the United States to Arctic temperatures. “Warm temperatures in the Arctic cause the jet stream to take these wild swings, and when it swings farther south, that causes cold air to reach farther south. These swings tend to hang around for awhile, so the weather we have in the eastern United States, whether it’s cold or warm, tends to stay with us longer,” one scientist explains.

  • Our picksDHS reauthorization bill; Secret Service at polling stations; Scandinavia's homeland defense, and more

    · 5 things you may have missed in the Homeland Security reauthorization bill

    · Suit demands TSA explain phone searches of passengers on domestic flights

    · Trump administration wants to start sending Secret Service agents to polling stations

    · Scandinavia’s homeland defense: a model for other countries?

    · Blocked Broadcom-Qualcomm tie-up highlights 5G security fears

    · Microsoft still fixing Spectre and Meltdown flaws

    · Suit demands TSA explain phone searches of passengers on domestic flights

    · 4 healthcare cybersecurity issues that worry the former head of Homeland Security

  • The Russia watchDealing with Russia’s fake news; nerve agents’ targets; Moscow’s propaganda playbook, and more

    · Russians, nerve agents and everyone as a target

    · Russia has a long history of eliminating ‘enemies of the state’

    · Germany’s NetzDG: Template for dealing with fake news?

    · After Putin raises Jews, Democrats implore Trump to extradite Russians

    · Moscow on the Hudson? Cuomo fears Russian interference in governor’s race

    · U.S. accuses Russia of “destructive role” in the Balkans

    · Wisconsin election security focus of testing, planning

    · Russian propaganda playbook on full display in Russian embassy tweets on poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal

  • IranIran has at least 10 military bases in Syria

    Iran has a network of 10-13 military bases in Syria according to a new study. The study includes a map of Iranian bases, details of each base and an analysis of the strength of the main Shia militias operating in Syria. The bases have tens of thousands of troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), as well as missiles and transfer facilities to support Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia.

  • The Russia connectionDeadly nerve agent novichok is a decades-old Cold War foe

    Novichok, the powerful nerve agent that British Prime Minister Theresa May says was used in the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, means “newcomer” in Russian. But the military grade chemical is anything but. Developed in the former Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, novichoks are a group of advanced nerve agents designed to circumvent chemical weapons treaties and penetrate protective gear used by NATO forces.

  • The Russia connectionBritish PM says “highly likely” Russia was behind nerve-agent attack

    British Prime Minister Theresa May says evidence shows that it is “highly likely” that Russia is behind the nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury despite Kremlin denials that Moscow was involved in the incident. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said police were examining more than 200 pieces of evidence, had identified more than 240 witnesses, and were looking through security camera footage.