Dangerous wackos | Underground border robots | NSA & machine learning, and more

Published 24 June 2019

·  In praise of the president’s Iran tweets

·  Marianne Williamson, longtime wacko, is now a dangerous wacko

·  Looking for anti-vaccine conspiracy theories? You can find them on HuffPost.

·  What happens when one APT hijacks another’s infrastructure

·  U.S. hits Iran with cyberattack: reports

·  DHS CISA warns of Iranian hackers’ habit of deploying data-wiping malware

·  Border Patrol wants robots that can go underground and report back

·  The NSA is experimenting with machine learning concepts its workforce will trust

·  A huge new Russian propaganda effort is attacking much more than Facebook

·  Cyberbiosecurity: A call for cooperation in a new threat landscape

recently come under withering criticism from journalists and lawmakers for their role in amplifying unfounded and occasionally dangerous conspiracy theories, including the false but persistent belief that vaccines cause autism. The uproar caused Facebook to pledge to make it harder to find vaccine conspiracies on its platform, and Amazon has removed misleading documentaries from its video streaming service. But as false beliefs continue to fuel an unprecedented outbreak of measles, it’s not just social media platforms that bear responsibility for keeping the conspiracy alive.
HuffPost, the left-leaning internet news site owned by Verizon, currently positions itself squarely against vaccine conspiracy theories. But it continues to host dozens of articles that either falsely allege a link between childhood vaccines and autism or misrepresent scientific research on the subject, almost all of which were published between 2005 and 2011, when the site’s co-founder and namesake, Arianna Huffington, served as editor-in-chief. While many were written by contributors to the site’s defunct community blog, others were written by household names like Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Under Huffington’s leadership in the 2000s, the site was one of the largest platforms for the then-novel allegation that vaccines, or certain ingredients used in vaccines, could trigger autism in young children. It was in part through their frequent posts on the site, then known as the Huffington Post, that McCarthy and Kennedy became so publicly associated with the discredited theory. But it wasn’t just by virtue of HuffPost’s status as an open platform for celebrities that the conspiracy theory took hold there; Business Insider has learned that Huffington actively recruited at least one writer who questioned the safety of vaccines to air his views on her site.

What happens when one APT hijacks another’s infrastructure (Sean Lyngaas, Cyberscoop)
Like any group of spies or soldiers, state-sponsored hacking groups are acutely interested in what their peers are using. Servers, domains and other digital tools can be contested resources just like others in in espionage or warfare. And there’s no guarantee that any group can keep a tight grip on its own internet infrastructure. In documenting how Turla, a Russia-linked outfit, hijacked the server of OilRig, a group associated with Iran, new research from Symantec shows what that overlap looks like in action.

U.S. hits Iran with cyberattack: reports (DW)
The U.S. reportedly launched a cyberattack on Iran in response to the downing of an unmanned drone. Cybersecurity firms have also reported a rise in Iranian attempts to hack US companies and government agencies.

DHS CISA warns of Iranian hackers’ habit of deploying data-wiping malware (Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet)
CISA also warns against other Iranian hackers’ favorite techniques: password spraying, credential stuffing, spear-phishing.

Border Patrol wants robots that can go underground and report back (Aaron Boyd, Defense One)
Homeland Security is looking for innovative robots that can navigate underground tunnels and communicate with headquarters.

The NSA is experimenting with machine learning concepts its workforce will trust (Shannon Vavra, Cyberscoop)
As the U.S. National Security Agency incorporates machine learning and artificial intelligence into its defensive cyber operations, officials are weighing whether cyber operators will have confidence in the algorithms underpinning those emerging technologies. NSA operators want to say, “is my AI or ML system explainable?” Neal Ziring, NSA’s Technical Director for Capabilities, told CyberScoop Thursday. “Contexts where the AI is recommending an action is where that will be most important.”

A huge new Russian propaganda effort is attacking much more than Facebook (Gian Volpicelli and Will Bedingfield, Wired UK)
The ongoing disinformation campaign spread rumors and falsehoods, including about a remainer plot to assassinate Boris Johnson across 30 online networks. But it has totally failed

Cyberbiosecurity: A call for cooperation in a new threat landscape (Lauren C. Richardson et al., Frontiers in Bioengeering and Biotechnology)
The life sciences now interface broadly with information technology (IT) and cybersecurity. This convergence is a key driver in the explosion of biotechnology research and its industrial applications in health care, agriculture, manufacturing, automation, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology. As the information and handling mechanisms for biological materials have become increasingly digitized, many market sectors are now vulnerable to threats at the digital interface. This growing landscape will be addressed by cyberbiosecurity, the emerging field at the convergence of both the life sciences and IT disciplines. This manuscript summarizes the current cyberbiosecurity landscape, identifies existing vulnerabilities, and calls for formalized collaboration across a swath of disciplines to develop frameworks for early response systems to anticipate, identify, and mitigate threats in this emerging domain.