• Cybersecurity

    Someone pulled a fire alarm during the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 students and teachers. The alarm caused more students to move into the hallways and into harm’s way. “Hackers no longer use cyberattacks to cause cyber damage,” says an expert. Instead, “they are using these attacks to cause physical damage or put people in locations to maximize physical damage.” Sports venues, with tens of thousands of spectators, are especially vulnerable. To combat the cyber threat in sports, scientists built an assessment tool for team and stadium owners to fix vulnerabilities.

  • Better protection

    To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia researchers have begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

  • Bioweapons

    As the threats posed by bioterrorism and naturally occurring infectious disease grow and evolve in the modern era, there is a rising potential for broad negative impacts on human health, economic stability and global security. To protect the United States from these dangers, researchers are taking on the ambitious goal of making bioweapons obsolete.

  • Bioweapons

    A bioterrorist attack could kill thirty million people — and such an attack is becoming more likely because it has become much easier to create – or “design” — deadly pathogens and spread them. Two years ago Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, spoke in London, saying that an outbreak of a lethal respiratory virus like smallpox would be more dangerous than even a nuclear attack. Anyone can now purchase chemistry kits which allow genetic editing, and do so online for under $150.

  • Perspective

    The 9 October 2019 attack on a synagogue in Halle, in eastern Germany, highlights terrorists’ growing affinity for homemade firearms as a means for leaderless resistance, a decentralized strategy of guerrilla warfare popularized by Ku Klux Klan member Louis Beam. Eric Woods write that “This presents particular legal challenges to the United States, more so than other countries. The United States has an idiosyncratic approach to homemade production of firearms, rooted in its history as a frontier country where informal networks of artisan producers existed for decades before federal armories.”

  • African security

    Western-backed efforts to counter terror groups across Africa are falling short, increasing the chances one or more affiliates of Islamic State or al-Qaida could try to carve out their own caliphate on the continent, according to the latest assessment by a top U.S. commander. The stark warning, shared with lawmakers Tuesday, builds on previous intelligence showing Africa-based groups have been growing more ambitious and more capable, with some increasingly bent on targeting the West.

  • African security

    Western-backed efforts to counter terror groups across Africa are falling short, increasing the chances one or more affiliates of Islamic State or al-Qaida could try to carve out their own caliphate on the continent, according to the latest assessment by a top U.S. commander. The stark warning, shared with lawmakers Tuesday, builds on previous intelligence showing Africa-based groups have been growing more ambitious and more capable, with some increasingly bent on targeting the West.

  • Perspective

    The State Department is pushing to designate at least one violent white supremacist group as a foreign terrorist organization, an unprecedented move which national security experts say would be a big step toward fighting a growing threat on U.S. soil.

  • Perspective

    Rising authoritarianism is curtailing individual freedoms around the globe. Jon Temin and Isabel Linzer write that in an alarming development, however, the region that showed the fastest decline in political rights and civil liberties last year was West Africa, which had long been a driver of democratic gains. The warning signs have failed to spur corrective action.

  • Extremism

    The German Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) has classified 14 members of the armed forces as extremists in 2019. Eight soldiers were members of far-right extremist groups; four soldiers had ties with Islamist organizations; and two soldiers belonged to a violent anarchist movement which does not recognize the German state and its laws. The cases of more than 500 other soldiers and civilian employees of the Defense Ministry suspected of extremism are still being investigated. In the last three years, MAD has increasingly focused on combatting the spread of far-right extremism in the ranks of the Bundeswehr – especially in the ranks of elite units — in the wake of soldiers being found to have been involved in acts of terrorism against migrants.

  • Extremism online

    In an increasingly connected world, there are plenty of opportunities for extremists to communicate, recruit, spread propaganda, and incite violence. From videos being shared on Facebook and Twitter, to more niche instant-messaging services such as Telegram, to coded postings on Gab, 4 Chan, and 8chan — the number and reach of communications channels available to extremists has never been greater. The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), a non-partisan organization, has develop a platform – Contextus – which uses machine-learning to track and expose extremist discourse online.

  • Homegrown terrorists

    Right-wing extremists were responsible for the vast majority of extremist-related murders in the United States in 2019, with the El Paso shooting capping off a bloody decade during which the far right was responsible for 76 percent of all extremist-related murders. A new report found that of the 42 extremist-related murders in the U.S. last year, 38 were committed by individuals subscribing to various far-right ideologies, including white supremacy.

  • Homegrown violent extremists

    New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) now regards white supremacist extremists as posing a threat which is equal or greater than that posed by terrorists inspired by Islamist fundamentalism (in both cases, homegrown violent extremists [HVEs] pose a far greater threat than foreign terrorists). “Homeland security and law enforcement professionals at all levels have taken notice of the rise in activity from white supremacist extremists,” NJOHSP says in an introduction to the annual Terrorism Threat Assessment issued by the office. “New Jersey is committed to protecting the diversity of culture and faith that shapes our great State. For that reason, NJOHSP increased the threat posed by white supremacist extremists from moderate to high in 2020, joining homegrown violent extremists as the most persistent hostile actors in New Jersey.”

  • Accelerationism

    Accelerationism is a term white supremacists have assigned to their desire to hasten the collapse of society as we know it. The term is widely used by those on the fringes of the movement, who employ it openly and enthusiastically on mainstream platforms, as well as in the shadows of private, encrypted chat rooms. 

  • Terrorism

    DHS S&T has awarded the University of Nebraska at Omaha a 10-year, $36 million grant to establish a DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR). TPCR will lead a consortium of academic, industry, government, and laboratory partners aiming to gain better understanding of terrorism and its sources, and help fashion effective counterterrorism policies.

  • Terror in Germany

    On Friday, Horst Seehofer, Germany’s Federal Minister of the Interior, was visibly distraught when, two days after Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Hanau, he told a hushed press conference that “The threat posed by right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and racism is very high in Germany.” He added: “I would like to emphasize that right-wing extremism poses the greatest threat in our country.”

  • Agroterrorism

    For years, interest groups, academics, and policymakers have sounded the alarm on the vulnerability of U.S. crops to a terrorist attack. This article briefly reviews the history, risks, and consequences of agroterrorism attacks targeting crop yields and suggests how the recently established DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office could play a role in countering this threat.

  • Terror in Germany

    A far-right terrorist killed nine people late Wednesday in attacks on two shisha bars in the city of Hanau, near Frankfurt. Shisha bars are popular meeting places for Germans of Kurdish origin. The killer – who killed his mother and then committed suicide after the attacks – left a letter in which he took responsibility for the killing. In the letter, and in posts on social media – in German on Facebook, and in English on YouTube – the gunman railed against the “mainstream media” and expressed his belief in several conspiracy theories popular in far-right circles around the world. Wednesday attacks continue a worrisome trend of a sharp increase in far-right terrorism in Germany, a trend which has brought about a reorientation of counterterrorism efforts in Germany; the creation of a new unit within the German domestic intelligence service – staffed with 600 counterterrorism specialists — dedicated to monitoring far-right extremism in the country, the expansion of police surveillance powers; and the tightening of gun-ownership laws.

  • Terror in Germany

    Tobias R., the 43-year of gunman who killed nine people in Hanau was active online: He published a 24-page “manifesto” on his Facebook page, and posted a video on his YouTube channel (his postings have been removed from the web). His postings repeat many of the conspiracy theories popular in far-right circles, but experts say that unlike other far-right terrorists – most recently at Christchurch, Poway, El Paso, and Halle – he was probably not part of the 8chan and 4chan image board radical right scene. In the hours after the attack, many users on these boards complained that because he failed to run a live video of his attack, there would be few imitators who would follow him, and complained that the fact that he shot into two crowded restaurants but managed to kill only nine people would make white terrorists look like idiots. Tobias R. appears to be obsessed with the idea that an unknown, all-knowing secret service is not only spying on his every move: that secret service can also read his mind.

  • Terror in Germany

    Wednesday’s massacre in the German town of Hanau, 25 kilometers east of Frankfurt confirmed the worst fears of Germany’s top security officials. They have been preparing for months for more far-right violence, and the shooting by a lone wolf gunman in Hanau, leaving nine dead at two hookah bars, is the type of attack that’s been preoccupying them. From Germany to Britain, alarm has been rising across Europe about the terror threat from fringe far-right groups and their supporters. Analysts and intelligence officials say the groups have been studying the tactics of jihadist factions, such as the Islamic State terror group, and copying their bomb-making methods and social-media propaganda techniques, using YouTube and messaging platforms to radicalize others and to shape their own lone wolf killers.