• ISISTweets reveal how ISIS still inspires low-level attacks

    By analyzing 26.2 million Twitter comments in the Arabic language, researchers found that despite losing territory, ISIS remains successful at inspiring low-level attacks because of its messaging for a “call for lone jihad.”

  • Democracy watchHacking democracies

    A new report from an Australian think tank offers an in-depth, and sobering, analysis of Russia’s campaign to undermine Western democracies by weaponizing social media, and, to a lesser extent, China’s similar, if lower-key, campaign against neighboring Asian countries. “Democracies need to look at better ways of imposing costs on adversaries,” the report’s authors say.

  • Truth decayEric Oliver on the science of conspiracy theories and political polarization

    The “birthers,” “Pizzagate,” anti-vaxxers. It seems that belief in conspiracy theories is on the rise. At the same time, our polarization is worse than ever. People can hardly even maintain a conversation across political or cultural lines. Could the underlying force driving conspiracy theories also be the same one that’s dividing our country?

  • PerspectiveFacebook, Twitter and the digital disinformation mess

    The kind of disinformation now known as fake news has tainted public discourse for centuries, even millennia. But it’s been amplified in our digital age as a weapon of fearmongers, mob-baiters and election-meddlers that can widen social fissures, undermine democracies and bolster authoritarian regimes. Shelly Banjo writes in the Washington Post that as voters in some of the world’s most-populous countries headed to the polls in 2019, governments began to respond. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have come under increasing pressure to take action.

  • China syndromeGoogle cuts Huawei access to Android software updates

    Google said on Sunday it was rescinding Huawei’s license to use Google’s mobile phone operating system Android, and Google services such as Google maps and YouTube. The move will force the Chinese technology company to rely on an open-source version of the software. The move follows a presidential executive order prohibiting American companies from using telecommunications equipment made by “foreign adversaries” viewed as posing a threat to U.S. national security.

  • PerspectiveWhy the Christchurch call to remove online terror content triggers free speech concerns

    France and New Zealand spearheaded the adoption on May 15 of the Christchurch Call to Eliminate Terrorist & Violent Extremist Content Online, a voluntary pledge endorsed by 18 countries and many tech companies (including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter). The United States refused to join, citing tofree speech concerns. The Christchurch Call was named after the city in New Zealand where a horrific terrorist attack killed 51 people and injured 50 at two mosques in March. That massacre was live-streamed on Facebook, spreading quickly on that platform as well as other social media sites and raising concerns about how such content goes viral. Evelyn Aswad writes in Just Security that U.S. isolation amidst close allies with respect to this initiative has led to questions about what were the First Amendment hurdles that prevented the U.S. from joining this pledge, especially given it constitutes a political commitment rather than a legally binding document.

  • Cyber resilienceBolstering cyber resilience

    In December 2015, the first known successful cyberattack on a power grid was carried out in Ukraine, disrupting the electricity supply for hundreds of thousands of customers for several hours. Since then, concerns have grown across the globe about the potential public health, economic and security impacts of widespread power outages in heavily populated regions. Argonne partners with World Economic Forum in important cyber resilience effort.

  • PerspectiveWhen to use the “nuclear option”? Why knocking Russia offline is a bad idea

    On Nov. 6, 2018, the notorious Russian troll farm—the Internet Research Agency or IRA—was silent. In an effort to “prevent the Russians from mounting a disinformation campaign” that would “cast doubt on the results” of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, U.S. Cyber Command conducted a mysterious cyber operation to knock the organization offline. The news about the Cyber Command operation prompted suggestions that America should respond to cyberattacks with more drastic measures. Robert Morgus and Justin Sherman write in Just Security that even putting the important issues associated with offensive cyber operations, “we write to address a fundamental policy question about this type of cyber operation. Would it even serve the deterrent effect some claim it would?”

  • CybersecurityHow to break our bad online security habits – with a flashing cyber nudge

    By Emily Collins and Joanne Hinds

    The number of cyberattacks is estimated to have risen by 67 percent over the last five years, with the majority of these data breaches being traced back to human error. The potential risks of such attacks are vast and can have a serious impact on both organizations and individuals. But protecting ourselves against cyber security threats can be extremely complicated.

  • CybersecurityWill the next cyberattack be in the hospital?

    By Brian Blum

    You may not think of hackers targeting hospitals, but this is where our wired world may be most vulnerable, and the results could be deadly. Israeli startup Cynerio aims to stop hackers from targeting medical devices, a potent new danger in our connected world.

  • Extremism & social mediaWhistleblower: Facebook deceived public on extent of extremist content removal

    According to a whistleblower’s complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that was recently revealed in an AP investigation, Facebook has been misleading the public and its shareholders about the efficacy of its content moderation efforts.

  • Truth decayThe mainstreaming of conspiracy theories

    Is paranoia running rampant? Are believers getting the upper hand? The idea that the moon landing was fake is too exotic for most of us. But who truly believes that global warming is a hoax, or that dark forces rule the world? Quite a few people, according to a researcher of conspiracy theories.

  • Truth decayHow are conspiracy theories adopted, and what are their risks?

    Why do people adopt conspiracy theories, how are they communicated, and what are their risks? A new report examines these questions, drawing on research in psychology, information engineering, political science, and sociology.

  • PerspectiveRussia is targeting Europe’s elections. So are far-right copycats.

    Less than two weeks before pivotal elections for the European Parliament, a constellation of websites and social media accounts linked to Russia or far-right groups is spreading disinformation, encouraging discord and amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades. Matt Apuzzo and Adam Satariano write in the New York Times that the activity offers fresh evidence that despite indictments, expulsions and recriminations, Russia remains undeterred in its campaign to widen political divisions and weaken Western institutions. “The goal here is bigger than any one election,” said Daniel Jones, a former F.B.I. analyst and Senate investigator. “It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself. They’re working to destroy everything that was built post-World War II.”

  • PerspectiveCyberattacks are rewriting the "rules" of modern warfare – and we aren’t prepared for the consequences

    Governments are becoming ever more reliant on digital technology, making them more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Politically-motivated cyber attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace but unlike traditional warfare between two or more states, cyberwarfare can be launched by groups of individuals. On occasion, the state is actually caught in the crosshairs of competing hacking groups. Vasileios Karagiannopoulos and Mark Leiser write in the Conversation that this doesn’t mean that states don’t actively prepare for such attacks. In most cases, cyberwarfare operations have been conducted in the background, designed as scare tactics or displays of power. But the blending of traditional warfare and cyberwarfare seems inevitable and a recent incident added a new dimension.