• Considered opinion

    There’s no consensus of what Antifa, a contraction of “anti-fascist,” stands for, or whether their tactics will achieve their stated goals. The historian Ronald Radosh writes that the German communists used the slogan “After Hitler, Us,” and directed their energy and propaganda not against the Nazis, but against the mainstream socialists. “It didn’t end well,” says Radosh. Antifa emulates many of the actions of the German communists in the 1930s, villifying centrists and liberals who reject antifa’s commitment to violence.

  • 9/11 attacks

    The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. paid two Saudis to conduct a “dry run” of the 9/11 attacks, documents submitted by lawyers for plaintiffs in a terrorism case against the Saudi government show. The complaint stated that the Saudi government paid two nationals, posing as students in the United States, to take a flight from Phoenix to Washington in November 1999 in order to test out flight deck security. The two Saudi nationals, whose tickets were paid for by the Saudi embassy, took a flight from Phoenix to Washington, but their persistent questions of the crew about cockpit security, and their several attempts to enter the cockpit, led the pilots to make an emergency landing in Ohio, and the two Saudis were escorted off the plane by FBI agents. The two men were released after an initial interrogation by the FBI.

  • Terrorism

    Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced on Monday that his government will sign a cease-fire deal with the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) after months of peace talks with the rebel group.

    The cease-fire will take effect on 1 October and would last until 12 January, in order to allow the government of Colombia and the small insurgent group time to negotiate a permanent deal. The ELN and its larger sister guerilla group, the FARC, launched their violent war against the Colombian state in 1964. Both groups share responsibility for about 260,000 civilian deaths, 23,000 kidnapped and disappeared civilians, and the forced internal displacement of 6.7 million Colombians.

  • Radiation analysis

    When law enforcement officers and first responders arrive at an emergency involving radiation, they need a way to swiftly assess the situation to keep the public and environment safe. Having analysis tools that can quickly and reliably make sense of radiation data is of the essence. Sandia National Laboratories developed a tool called InterSpec, available for both mobile and traditional computing devices, can rapidly and accurately analyze gamma radiation data collected at the scene.

  • Urban challenges

    While working for the global management consulting company Accenture, Gregory Falco discovered just how vulnerable the technologies underlying smart cities and the “internet of things” — everyday devices that are connected to the internet or a network — are to cyberterrorism attacks. His focus is on cybersecurity for urban critical infrastructure, and the internet of things, or IoT, is at the center of his work. A washing machine, for example, that is connected to an app on its owner’s smartphone is considered part of the IoT. There are billions of IoT devices that don’t have traditional security software because they’re built with small amounts of memory and low-power processors. This makes these devices susceptible to cyberattacks and may provide a gate for hackers to breach other devices on the same network.

  • North Korea

    Regardless of the specifics of the Sunday test, one thing is clear: North Korea will achieve — within months, not years, and if it has not achieved this already – the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental United States and detonate it over a major American city. Does the United States have the means to protect itself against a North Korean nuclear attack?

  • Nuclear risks

    The threat of terrorism in Europe has been on the rise in recent years, with experts and politicians particularly worried that terrorists might make use of dirty bombs. Researchers have developed a new system that will be able to detect possible carriers of radioactive substances, even in large crowds of people. This solution is one of the defensive measures being developed as part of the REHSTRAIN project, which is focused on security for TGV and ICE high-speed trains in France and Germany.

  • Biothreats

    Synthetic biology has only been recently recognized as a mature subject in the context of biological risk assessment — and the core focus has been infectious diseases. In the case of biosecurity, we’re already dependent on biology [with respect to food, health etc.] but we still have an opportunity to develop biosecurity strategies before synthetic biology is ubiquitous. There is still an opportunity to act now and put norms and practices in place because the community is still relatively small. “If scientists are not taking care of biosecurity now, other people will start taking care of it, and they most likely will start preventing researchers from doing good science.”

  • Hate speech

    White supremacy is woven into the tapestry of American culture, online and off. Addressing white supremacy is going to take much more than toppling a handful of Robert E. Lee statues or shutting down a few white nationalist websites, as technology companies have started to do. We must wrestle with what freedom of speech really means, and what types of speech go too far, and what kinds of limitations on speech we can endorse. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled, in Virginia v. Black, that “cross burning done with the intent to intimidate has a long and pernicious history as a signal of impending violence.” In other words, there’s no First Amendment protection because a burning cross is meant to intimidate, not start a dialogue. But what constitutes a burning cross in the digital era?

  • Iran

    Hezbollah has evolved from a Lebanese terrorist organization into the spearhead of an international militia network led by Iran, a major investigative article has revealed. The group, which is in complete political and military control over Lebanon, “is not just a power unto itself, but is one of the most important instruments in the drive for regional supremacy by its sponsor: Iran,” the article says.

  • Hate speech

    Extreme speech on social media—foul language, threats and overtly sexist and racist language—has been in the spotlight. While such language is not new, recent increases of extreme and offensive posts on social media have led to politicians, celebrities and pundits calling for social media platforms to do more in curbing such speech, opening new debates about free speech in the digital age. A new study shows that while people tend to dislike extreme speech on social media, there is less support for outright censorship. Instead, people believe sites need to do a better job promoting healthy discourse online.

  • Hate speech

    Extreme speech on social media—foul language, threats and overtly sexist and racist language—has been in the spotlight. While such language is not new, recent increases of extreme and offensive posts on social media have led to politicians, celebrities and pundits calling for social media platforms to do more in curbing such speech, opening new debates about free speech in the digital age. A new study shows that while people tend to dislike extreme speech on social media, there is less support for outright censorship. Instead, people believe sites need to do a better job promoting healthy discourse online.

  • Vehicular terrorism

    Vehicular terrorist attacks are becoming “more commonplace around the globe.” Terrorists are increasingly relying on low-sophistication tactics like car-ramming and stabbing to kill or injure large groups of people without easy detection or intervention by law enforcement. These assailants often target locations where large numbers of people congregate, particularly on or around major national holidays, when civilians are likely to be outdoors shopping or celebrating.

  • Synthetic biology

    Given the possible security vulnerabilities related to developments in synthetic biology – a field that uses technologies to modify or create organisms or biological components – a new report by the National Academies of Sciences proposes a framework to identify and prioritize potential areas of concern associated with the field. “While biotechnology is being pursued primarily for beneficial and legitimate purposes, there are potential uses that are detrimental to humans, other species, and ecosystems,” says one of the report’s authors.

  • Black Ribbon Day

    Today, 23 August, is celebrated in Europe as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. It is also called Black Ribbon Day. It commemorates the signing the neutrality pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union – a pact which led, a week later, to the joint invasion and division of Poland by the two powers — the opening move of the Second World War. “Extremism, nationalism, xenophobia and hatred can still be heard in public speech in Europe,” the European Commission said earlier today. “Keeping these memories alive is not only a tribute to the victims but also a way to ensure that these ideologies can be forcefully rejected and such atrocities never happen again.”

  • Terrorism

    A court in Australia was told that volatile chemical explosives, nicknamed “mother of Satan,” were found in the possession of four men accused of plotting a Christmas Day terrorist attack in Melbourne. The Australian reports that federal police chemicals expert Dr. Vincent Otieno-Alego told Melbourne magistrates court on Tuesday that he analyzed substances that could produce up to 2g of triacetone triperoxide (TATP).

  • Terrorists & social media

    The use of social media by a diversity of violent extremists and terrorists and their supporters has been a matter of concern for law enforcement and politicians for some time. While it appears that Twitter is now severely disrupting pro-IS accounts on its platform, our research found that other jihadists were not subject to the same levels of take down. The migration of the pro-IS social media community from Twitter to the messaging service Telegram particularly bears watching. Telegram currently has a lower profile than Twitter with a smaller user base and higher barriers to entry, with users required to provide a mobile phone number to create an account. While this means that fewer people are being exposed to IS’s online content via Telegram, and are thereby in a position to be radicalized by it, it may mean that Telegram’s pro-IS community is more committed and therefore poses a greater security risk than its Twitter variant.

  • Iran

    Israel remains concerned about Iranian influence in southern Syria, despite high level discussions between U.S. and Israeli security officials in Washington last week. An Israeli media report noted that the delegation shared “sensitive, credible and deeply troubling intelligence,” showing the expanding deployment of Iranian forces in Syria, which estimates put at 500 Iranian army soldiers, 5,000 Hezbollah fighters, and several thousand guerrillas from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

  • Killer robots

    An open letter by 116 tech leaders from 26 countries urges the United Nations against opening the Pandora’s box of lethal robot weapons. The open letter is the first time that AI and robotics companies have taken a joint stance on the issue. “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter states. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

  • Terrorism

    Terrorists have murdered 3,342 people on U.S. soil from 1992 through 12 August 2017. Islamists committed 92 percent of all those murders; right-wing terrorists account for 219 murders (6.6 percent of all terrorist deaths), and left-wing terrorism killed 23 people since 1992. If we exclude the 9/11 attack (2,983 deaths) and the Oklahoma attack (168 deaths), then Islamist-inspired terrorists are responsible for 53 percent of terrorist murders in the United States; right-wing terrorists account for 5.7 percent of the total, and left-wing terrorists are responsible for 0.26 percent of the total.