• The Russia connectionDemocrats say they may tie legislation to protection of Russia probe

    A leading Democrat says his party is looking at introducing a bill to Congress that would protect the probe investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign.

  • CyberwarIran may launch cyberattacks in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions

    As new U.S. sanctions on Iran’s economy take effect, a desperate Tehran is likely to retaliate with more aggressive cyber attacks on its regional neighbors and expand its global cyber infiltration operations, according to a new study. The report comes as the United States imposed sanctions against Iranian oil imports, the regime’s most important source of hard currency, on 5 November.

  • HatePittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bower had links to British far right

    Robert Bowers, 46, who killed eleven worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania on 27 October, was in touch with neo-Nazis in Britain who share the same brand of conspiracy theories that Jews control the world and that Jewish financier George Soros is funding immigration to the United States and Europe. British security sources, who shared the information with the Times, note that this apparent collaboration comes against the backdrop of heightened concerns in Britain about the level of right-wing extremist activity as MI5 takes on an increasing role in countering the threat.

  • Election securityFacebook blocks 115 accounts after alert from U.S. authorities

    Facebook says it has blocked 115 user accounts after U.S. authorities alerted the social network to suspicious activity that may be linked to a foreign country. The company’s move, announced in a blog post late on 5 November, came hours after U.S. law enforcement agencies warned that, as U.S. voters go to the polls on 6 November, they should be wary of attempts by Russia, Iran, and other countries to spread fake news on social media.

  • The Russia connectionRussia influence operations taking aim at U.S. military

    With the U.S. midterm elections taking place Tuesday, there are growing fears that Russia’s efforts to undermine U.S. democracy extend far beyond the polls on 6 November or the presidential election in 2020. Defense and security officials worry that as part of Moscow’s plan to sow division and discord, it is trying to conquer the U.S. military — not with bullets or missiles but with tweets and memes. The tactic is an outgrowth of Russia’s overarching strategy to find seams within U.S. society where distrust or anger exist and widen those divisions with targeted messaging.

  • CybersecurityNext-gen cybersecurity solutions for Internet of Things

    Industry experts forecast that more than 20 billion wireless devices of all types—from smart TVs, phones and home appliances to health care monitors and manufacturing process controls—will be connected worldwide via the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020. Malicious cyber activity, which cost the U.S. economy $57 to $109 billion in 2016 alone, is expected to rise by 22 percent each year, disrupting both consumer and business use of these devices and putting the economy at risk.

  • Cyberattacks30 years ago, the world’s first cyberattack set the stage for modern cybersecurity challenges

    By Scott Shackelford

    Back in November 1988, Robert Tappan Morris, son of the famous cryptographer Robert Morris Sr., was a 20-something graduate student at Cornell who wanted to know how big the internet was – that is, how many devices were connected to it. So he wrote a program that would travel from computer to computer and ask each machine to send a signal back to a control server, which would keep count. The program worked well – too well, in fact. Morris had known that if it traveled too fast there might be problems, but the limits he built in weren’t enough to keep the program from clogging up large sections of the internet, both copying itself to new machines and sending those pings back. His program became the first of a particular type of cyber attack called “distributed denial of service.”

  • The Russia connectionQuiet so far, but not all clear

    Homeland Security and intelligence community officials continue to say that the we are not seeing the same level of online foreign election interference in the run-up to the midterms as we experienced in 2016, cybersecurity experts warn the United States is not necessarily in the clear.

  • Considered opinion: The Russia connectionCountering Russian election hacks

    By Eric Jensen

    According to a Center for Public Integrity report, the “U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cyber systems as part of potential retaliation for any meddling in America’s elections.” Eric Jensen writes in Just Security that this signals a significant change to the U.S. cyber policy and is a clear indication that cyber actions have now entered the mainstream of national security tools. “For years, the “newness” of cyber capabilities have caused the level of authorization to remain at very high levels and subject to extensive interagency dialogue before even simple cyber tasks could be taken. These procedural requirements undoubtedly had the practical effect of limiting the number of cyber activities undertaken. By allowing DoD and other government agencies to function more autonomously within pre-approved guidelines reflects a normalization of cyber capabilities that has been too long in coming.”

  • CybersecurityUnhackable computer relying on firmware security rather than software patches

    By turning computer circuits into unsolvable puzzles, researchers aim to create an unhackable computer. The MORPHEUS project’s cybersecurity approach is dramatically different from today’s, which relies on software—specifically software patches to vulnerabilities that have already been identified. It’s been called the “patch and pray” model, and it’s not ideal. “Instead of relying on software Band-Aids to hardware-based security issues, we are aiming to remove those hardware vulnerabilities in ways that will disarm a large proportion of today’s software attacks,” says Linton Salmon, manager of DARPA’s System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware program.

  • Online hateDays after synagogue massacre, online hate is thriving

    A website popular with racists that was used by the man charged in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre was shut down within hours of the slaughter, but it hardly mattered: Anti-Semites and racists who hang out in such havens just moved to other online forums.

  • Online hateHate speech is still easy to find on social media

    By Jennifer Grygiel

    The alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter’s activity on the Gab social media site has drawn attention to that site’s role as a hate-filled alternative to more mainstream options like Facebook and Twitter. Those are among the social media platforms that have promised to fight hate speech and online abuse on their sites. However, as I explored online activity in the wake of the shooting, it quickly became clear to me that the problems are not just on sites like Gab. Rather, hate speech is still easy to find on mainstream social media sites, including Twitter. I also identified some additional steps the company could take.

  • HateHate crimes expert fears that shootings like Pittsburgh could become more common

    By Alex Yablon

    The gunman who killed 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue last Saturday could herald a new era of hate crimes, according to an expert who has tracked similar attacks since the 1990s. “We have more people drawn to white supremacist rhetoric who see themselves as on a mission to change the world,” said one criminologist. The Pittsburgh shooter’s online activity distinguished him from the majority of people who commit hate crimes. He was a deeply committed white supremacist who steeped himself in anti-Semitic and xenophobic propaganda.

  • Truth decayMathematicians to help solve the fake news voting conundrum

    With the American midterm elections around the corner, rumors of a U.K. general election in the winter, and a potential second referendum on Brexit, mathematicians have produced a mathematical model that details the impact of fake news on voting behavior.

  • CybersecurityFighting email scammers by taking a different view. Literally.

    A team of researchers is helping law enforcement crackdown on email scammers, thanks to a new visual analytics tool that dramatically speeds up forensic email investigations and highlights critical links within email data. Email scams are among the most prevalent, insidious forms of cybercrime.