• Faster, Smarter Security Screening Systems

    By now, attendees to sporting events, visitors to office buildings, and especially frequent fliers are all quite familiar with the technologies used at security checkpoints. You arrive at the security checkpoint, check your bags, show your ID and maybe your ticket or boarding pass, throw away the coffee or water you’ve been chugging, and then wait in a long line until it is your turn to be screened. The security lines can be inconvenient. S&T and partners are working to help security screening systems, whether at airports, government facilities, border checkpoints, or public spaces like arenas, to work faster and smarter.

  • Welcome to the New Phase of U.S.-China Tech Competition

    It came without a breaking news alert or presidential tweet, but the technological competition with China entered a new phase last month. Several developments quietly heralded this shift: Cross-border investments between the United States and China plunged to their lowest levels since 2014, with the tech sector suffering the most precipitous drop. U.S. chip giants Intel and AMD abruptly ended or declined to extend important partnerships with Chinese entities. The Department of Commerce halved the number of licenses that let U.S. companies assign Chinese nationals to sensitive technology and engineering projects.

  • Leveraging Big Data for Enhanced Data-Driven Decisions

    Defense Strategies Institute (DSI) announced the 7th annual Big Data for Intelligence Symposium, focusing on the theme “Harnessing the Power of Advanced Analytics to Support Enhanced Decision Making.”The symposium will focus on the challenges and opportunities of turning large amounts of raw data into actionable intelligence and the steps that should be taken in the future to improve this process in order to maintain U.S. operational advantage.

  • China Will Dominate High-Tech Unless the United States Takes Off the Gloves

    The U.S.-China trade war has affected businesses from Apple to American cherry growers and shows no signs of halting, but the profuse debate around Huawei and the Trump administration’s trade war reveals a fundamental weakness in the American economy: its lack of competitiveness. The United States should continue to defend against potential security threats posed by Chinese firms, but it should not rely on these protections only as a strategy to maintain competitiveness. The erosion of U.S. dominance in other key high-tech, high-value sectors – automobiles, consumer electronics, robotics, AI, energy, biotechnology, electric vehicles —suggest that there are more fundamental problems. “If the United States wishes to maintain its high-tech leadership, it must be willing to invest in the industries critical to success in the twenty-first century,” three experts write.

  • Ransomware Attacks on Cities Are Rising – Authorities Must Stop Paying Out

    A ransomware campaign that targeted twenty-three U.S. cities across Texas has raised serious concerns about the vulnerability of local governments and public services to cyber-attacks. These events come not long after similar attacks on governmental and business organizations in Indiana, Florida and elsewhere. They reflect a general shift in ransomware tactics from “spray and pray” attacks on large numbers of individual consumers, to “big game hunting”, which targets organizations, usually through people in positions of power.

  • U.S. Cracks Down on Chinese Economic Espionage

    The U.S. Justice Department is escalating prosecution of Chinese economic espionage cases, part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on China’s alleged theft of American intellectual property and other predatory practices that are at the heart of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

  • How to Measure Cybersecurity

    Many experts agree that there are no universally recognized, generally accepted metrics by which to measure and describe cybersecurity improvements, and that, as a result, decision-makers are left to make choices about cybersecurity implementation based on qualitative measures rather than quantitative ones. Robert Taylo argues that the “search for quantitative metrics and dismissal of qualitative metrics ignores the dynamic nature of the challenge of ensuring cybersecurity, as well as the critical role of processes and procedures. Cybersecurity is a matter not just of the equipment and tools in place but also of how the equipment and tools are used by people, and how the organization ensures that the equipment and tools and methods of use are kept up to date. Qualitative measures that are discernible and reproducible are and will continue to be essential in helping to guide sound investment and operational decisions.”

  • Countries Most Exposed to Climate Change Face Higher Costs of Capital

    By 2030 poor countries will need to spend $140bn-300bn each year on adaptive measures, such as coastal defenses, if they want to avoid the harm caused by climate change. That estimate, from the UN Environment Program, assumes that global temperatures will be only 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, which seems unlikely. Adding to the costs, research suggests that these countries face higher interest rates than similar countries less exposed to climate risks. This raises the prospect of a vicious cycle, in which the most vulnerable countries pay more to borrow, making adaptation harder and them even more exposed.

  • How a Struggling Coffee Market Pushes Guatemalans North

    Last year, Stephanie Leutert traveled to the Guatemalan highlands to visit the towns that were sending the most people per capita to the United States. She was curious about why Guatemalans were leaving their communities and what factors contributed to these decisions. In each town, she never found a single answer but, rather, various overlapping reasons that included a changing climate, low wages, few opportunities for employment, a desire for family reunification, distrust in political leaders and a lack of safety, among others. Yet there was one unexpected theme that she kept hearing about in the highlands: a changing coffee sector and low international coffee prices.

  • Corporate Defenses Against Information Warfare

    When asked about Russian election interference during his congressional testimony last month, Robert Mueller said: “They’re doing it as we sit here.” To defend the nation against information warfare, the U.S. government has adopted a policy—by default, not by design—of relying on the private sector to police itself, with limited behind-the-scenes government assistance. Facebook’s website says: “Our detection technology helps us block millions of attempts to create fake accounts every day and detect millions more often within minutes after creation.” These numbers sound impressive, but they do not tell the whole story. To assess the effectiveness of company defenses, we must distinguish among three types of fake accounts: bots, fictitious user accounts, and impostor accounts. Russian agents have created and operated all three types of accounts.

     

  • Climate Change to Shrink Global Economy

    Prevailing economic research anticipates the burden of climate change falling on hot or poor nations. Some predict that cooler or wealthier economies will be unaffected or even see benefits from higher temperatures. A new study, however, suggests that virtually all countries – whether rich or poor, hot or cold – will suffer economically by 2100 if the current trajectory of carbon emissions is maintained: 7 percent of global GDP will disappear by 2100 as a result of business-as-usual carbon emissions – including over 10 percent of incomes in both Canada and the United States.

  • Netflix’s Algorithms Seem to Be a New Entry Point for Conspiracy Theories. Be Aware!

    When the spread of disinformation became a major topic of debate in late 2016, it was discussed mainly in reference to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In the following months, serious problems related to the diffusion of pseudoscientific beliefs, conspiracy theories and disinformation emerged on YouTube and WhatsApp.  Until now, the popular video streaming service Netflix had managed to stay out of the picture. Not anymore.

  • Setting the Stage for U.S. Leadership in 6G

    Every day there are more headlines about China’s rise in 5G, the next generation of wireless communications technologies, and the economic and national security risks to the United States that go along with these developing technologies. These concerns, particularly the threat of critical infrastructure disruptions, are valid—but the plight of the United States is in part self-inflicted. The U.S. government waited too long to tackle the difficult issues surrounding 5G. As a result, China has unprecedented clout on the global stage regarding the deployment and diffusion of advanced communications technologies. With decisive action today, the U.S. can ensure its status as the undisputed leader in wireless technology within 10 years. In doing so, it will lock in the ability to build secure 6G infrastructure with all the accompanying economic and national security benefits.

  • The Quantum Revolution Is Coming, and Chinese Scientists Are at the Forefront

    Quantum technology — an emerging field that could transform information processing and confer big economic and national-security advantages to countries that dominate it. To the dismay of some scientists and officials in the United States, China’s formidable investment is helping it catch up with Western research in the field and, in a few areas, pull ahead. Beijing is pouring billions into research and development and is offering Chinese scientists big perks to return home from Western labs. Last year, China had nearly twice as many patent filings as the United States for quantum technology overall, a category that includes communications and cryptology devices. China’s drive has sparked calls for more R&D funding in the United States.

  • Huawei Technicians Helped African Governments Spy on Political Opponents

    Huawei Technologies Co., the world’s largest telecommunications company, dominates African markets, where it has sold security tools that governments use for digital surveillance and censorship. But Huawei employees have provided other services, not disclosed publicly. Technicians from the Chinese powerhouse have, in at least two cases, personally helped African governments spy on their political opponents, including intercepting their encrypted communications and social media, and using cell data to track their whereabouts. The incident in Uganda and another in Zambia, as detailed in a Wall Street Journal investigation, show how Huawei employees have used the company’s technology and other companies’ products to support the domestic spying of those governments.