• Election securityBarr: DOJ Has Found Nothing that Could Impact Election Result

    Attorney General Bill Barr has thrown cold water on the president’s false claims of massive voter fraud and a “stolen election.” Despite Department of Justice investigations turning up no evidence, and despite the fact that the president and his legal team have lost practically every legal challenge they filed — Trump and his allies are 1-39 in post-election litigation — Trump continues to spread falsehoods about the election, and continues to raise money — $170 million so far — based on these untrue claims.

  • CybersecurityNew Cyberattack Tricks Scientists into Making Dangerous Toxins, Synthetic Viruses

    An end-to-end cyber-biological attack, in which unwitting biologists may be tricked into generating dangerous toxins in their labs, has been discovered by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev cyber-researchers. It is currently believed that a criminal needs to have physical contact with a dangerous substance to produce and deliver it. However, malware could easily replace a short sub-string of the DNA on a bioengineer’s computer so that they unintentionally create a toxin producing sequence.

  • Cybersecurity educationCybersecurity Curriculum, Pilot Focused on Veterans and First Responders

    The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is part of a coalition of universities and industry partners that are developing a curriculum to increase cybersecurity talent focused on health care with $6.3 million in funding from the National Security Agency. The curriculum focuses on health care cybersecurity.

  • The Russia connectionRussian Influence Peddlers Carving Out New Audiences on Fringes

    By Jeff Seldin

    After four years of warnings and preparations, the 2020 presidential election did not see a repeat of 2016, when intelligence officials concluded Russia meddled using a combination of cyberattacks and influence operations. But according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, as well as analysts, the good news ends there.

  • Extremism & social mediaAfter 8Chan

    By Florence Keen

    The notorious imageboard 8chan was taken offline in August 2019 after several far-right attacks revealed a connection to the site – most notably, the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019, which left 51 people dead. A few months later in November 2019, a site known as 8kun was launched as a replacement, boasting similar freedoms and owned by the same person, Jim Watkins. What is evident is that almost a year into 8kun’s creation, the general attitude towards the site is wholly different to that of 8chan – in that the primary audience it was created for has largely rejected it as a less important and relevant site within chan culture.

  • Extremism & social mediaParler Is Bringing Together Mainstream Conservatives, Anti-Semites and White Supremacists as the Social Media Platform Attracts Millions of Trump Supporters

    By Alex Newhouse

    Since the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Parler has caught on among right-wing politicians and “influencers” – people with large online followings – as a social media platform where they can share and promote ideas without worrying about the company blocking or flagging their posts for being dangerous or misleading. However, the website has become a haven for far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists who are now interacting with the mainstream conservatives flocking to the platform.

  • Cybersecurity educationUtah State University’s Seth Manesse Wins First Individual CyberForce Competition

    After a tough, day-long contest, Seth Manesse from Utah State University won the sixth CyberForce Competition. Each CyberForce Competition presents a real-world scenario in which participants must defend cyber-physical infrastructure against threats modeled on those faced by the energy sector today. The 2020 scenario involved a wind energy company in charge of over 20,000 megawatts of electricity generation that has been experiencing abnormal network activity.

  • Social mediaWhy Social Media Has Changed the World — and How to Fix It

    By Peter Dizikes

    As social media platforms have grown, though, the once-prevalent, gauzy utopian vision of online community has disappeared. Along with the benefits of easy connectivity and increased information, social media has also become a vehicle for disinformation and political attacks from beyond sovereign borders. MIT Professor Sinan Aral’s new book, The Hype Machine, explores the perils and promise of social media in a time of discord.

  • China syndromeChina-Sensitive Topics at US Universities Draw More Online Harassment

    By Lin Yang

    Last week, students at Brandeis University hosted an online discussion about China’s controversial Xinjiang policies, hearing experts discuss the detention, abuse and political indoctrination of more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. But as Uighur attorney and advocate Rayhan Asat appeared before the student group last Friday, her screen was taken over as hackers wrote “fake news” and “liar” on it. Experts said it fits with an increase in more organized harassment against topics on American campuses seen as objectionable by the Chinese government.

  • ExtremismNew Research Projects to Shed New Light on the Intentions of Violent Extremists

    New research project aims to shed new light on the intentions of violent extremists. The “Disguised Compliance in Terrorist Offending” project will provide frontline staff across U.K. security agencies with the best tools and approaches to assess the true intention of people motivated to acts of violence by ideologies.

  • Election securityScientists: No Credible Evidence of Computer Fraud in the 2020 Election Outcome

    “Anyone asserting that a U.S. election was ‘rigged’ is making an extraordinary claim, one that must be supported by persuasive and verifiable evidence. Merely citing the existence of technical flaws does not establish that an attack occurred, much less that it altered an election outcome. It is simply speculation,” 59 top U.S. computer scientists and election security experts write in an open letter. “We are aware of alarming assertions being made that the 2020 election was ‘rigged’ by exploiting technical vulnerabilities. However, in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent. To our collective knowledge, no credible evidence has been put forth that supports a conclusion that the 2020 election outcome in any state has been altered through technical compromise.”

  • Election securityTrump Fires Security Chief Who Said 2020 Vote Was “Most Secure” in U.S. History

    By Jeff Seldin

    Barely two weeks after the polls closed in an election he is now projected to lose, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to fire CISA’s director Christopher Krebs, the official responsible for spearheading efforts to secure the vote. Since the 3 November election, Trump, his campaign, and some of his supporters have issued a continuous stream of allegations about the integrity of the election, but evidence of massive voter fraud or other irregularities on a scale necessary to swing the election in Trump’s favor has not materialized. Late last Thursday, a coalition of federal and state officials, including CISA, further rejected the allegations as baseless. Krebs himself had also taken an active role in debunking rumors and unfounded allegations in the days and weeks following the election, taking to Twitter to dismiss some conspiracy theories as “nonsense.”

  • China syndromeThe China Initiative: Year-in-Review

    On the two-year anniversary of the Department of Justice’s China Initiative, the Department said it continues its focus on the Initiative’s goals, and announced progress during the past year in disrupting and deterring the wide range of national security threats posed by the policies and practices of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government.

  • Conspiracy theoryAn AI Tool Can Distinguish Between a Conspiracy Theory and a True Conspiracy – It Comes Down to How Easily the Story Falls Apart

    By Timothy R. Tangherlini

    Conspiracy theories, which have the potential to cause significant harm, have found a welcome home on social media, where forums free from moderation allow like-minded individuals to converse. There they can develop their theories and propose actions to counteract the threats they “uncover.” But how can you tell if an emerging narrative on social media is an unfounded conspiracy theory? It turns out that it’s possible to distinguish between conspiracy theories and true conspiracies by using machine learning tools to graph the elements and connections of a narrative.

  • PrivacyYour Smart Watch May Be Sharing Your Data

    You may not realize it, but your internet-connected household devices such as the Ring doorbell, Peloton exercise bike and Nest thermostat are all exchanging data with other devices and systems over the network. These physical objects, all part of the Internet of Things (IoT), come with sensors and software, and they often use cloud computing. Most people would consider the information contained in these household items as highly private.