• ConspiraciesThe High Cost of Conspiracy Theories

    Conspiracy theories have been rampant on the Internet since the Corona crisis began. One of the most curious conspiracy theories involves Bill Gates: He wants to implant microchips into people with the help of vaccinations and thus control humanity, according to many online forums. Gustav Theile writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [in German] that surveys repeatedly show that these conspiracies are not a niche phenomenon. According to a Yougov survey, 44 percent of Republicans in the United States believe in the Gates microchip conspiracy. One in two Britons, according to a study by Oxford University, tends towards conspiracy theories. In Germany, the belief in the Gates conspiracy seems to have more followers than the fear that the new 5G mobile communications standard is the cause of the coronavirus epidemic. Web searches for both conspiracy theories shot up in April and May, but overall, Googling for 5G was only about half as often as for Bill Gates. Why conspiracies, which are supposed to be top secret, should be unmasked by simply Googling is, of course, not clear.

  • ExtremismHateful Extremists Have Been Exploiting the Current Pandemic

    The U.K. Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) has published a report Thursday, looking at the way in which extremists have sought to exploit the current pandemic. The CCE say that the government needs to ensure that their response to dealing with COVID-19 and future crises takes into account the significant threat of hateful extremism and the dangerous narratives spread by conspiracy theories.

  • CybersecuritySecuring the Smart Home

    So…you’ve built your smart home, it’s got smart heating and lighting, all the latest smart communications and entertainment systems, and of course, smart power generation to make it smart and green. But, how do you keep it secure and stop forced digital or physical entry? Well, you need smart security too, of course.

  • PrivacyPrivacy Risks of Home Security Cameras

    Researchers have used data from a major home Internet Protocol (IP) security camera provider to evaluate potential privacy risks for users. The researchers found that the traffic generated by the cameras could be monitored by attackers and used to predict when a house is occupied or not.

  • China syndromeU.K. Will Not Be Able to Prevent “Misuse of Data” by China if Huawei Deal Goes Ahead: U.S. Ambassador

    Robert Wood Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., warned that if the U.K. allowed Huawei access to the U.K. 5G communication infrastructure, there would be no way for the U.K. to prevent Chinese intelligence agencies from misusing the data collected by Huawei in the course of the company’s operations. Experts say that even more worryingly, if Huawei is allowed access to the nascent U.K. 5G infrastructure, the company, with a flip of a switch, could take down the entire U.K. communication system when ordered to do so by the Chinese government.

  • Truth decayDemocracy under Threat from “Pandemic of Misinformation” Online: Lords Committee

    The U.K. government should act immediately to deal with a “pandemic of misinformation” that poses an existential threat to our democracy and way of life. The stark warning comes in a report published Monday by the House of Lords’ Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies.

  • Cybersecurity educationGeorgia State’s Designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, Education

    The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated Georgia State University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research and a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through 2025.

  • Domestic terrorismU.S. Facing Growing Terrorism Problem, with White Supremacists the “Most Significant Threat”: Report

    A new report by terrorism experts at the conservative-leaning CSIS thinktank says that the United States faces a growing terrorism problem which will likely worsen over the next year. The most significant threat likely comes from white supremacists, though anarchists and religious extremists inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda could present a potential threat as well. Right-wing attacks and plots account for the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of right-wing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years. Right-wing extremists perpetrated two thirds of the attacks and plots in the United States in 2019 and over 90 percent between 1 January and 8 May 2020. Over the rest of 2020, the terrorist threat in the United States will likely rise based on several factors, including the November 2020 presidential election.

  • DisinformationChinese, Russian COVID-19 Disinformation More Influential than Domestic European News Sources

    Chinese, Russia, Turkish, and Iranian state-backed propaganda outlets disseminate COVID-19-related disinformation throughout Europe in French, German, and Spanish, and this professionally presented disinformation is generating greater engagement across Facebook and Twitter than prominent domestic news media such as Le Monde in France or El Pais in Spain. Russian outlets producing fake coronavirus content in French and German consistently emphasized weak democratic institutions and civil disorder in Europe.

  • ExtremismCOVID-19 Pandemic Has Unleashed Wave of Anti-Semitism

    The coronavirus epidemic has been accompanied by what the WHO described as “infodemic” – an avalanche of conspiracy theories and disinformation which has spread on social networks. As is often the case, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are prominent in this infodemic, and a new report offers an analysis of the phenomenon.

  • ExtremismExtremism Rising in Canada

    Acts of terrorism committed by the far-right have increased by 320 percent over the past five years, supported by an increasingly connected and internationalist community of right-wing extremism. Canada has not been isolated from this trend and in recent years the number of hate groups operating in the country has tripled.

  • ArgumentCascading Security Through the Internet of Things Supply Chain

    The “internet of things” (IoT) has been insecure since the first connected refrigerator woke up and asked for more milk. But while having your fridge hacked seems at best amusing and at worst inconvenient, the nightmare scenario is a matter of national security. Imagine hundreds of thousands of smart refrigerators, all with the same default password, hacked to direct a flood of web traffic against key internet servers, paralyzing them. “Swap smart fridges for security cameras and DVD players, and you have the Dyn cyberattack of 2016,” Trey Herr, Nathaniel Kim, Bruce Schneier write.

  • PerspectiveHow the Boogaloo Movement Is Turning Memes into Violent Action

    The Boogaloo movement, an extremist, right-leaning and libertarian, anti-government militia with online roots which is increasingly organizing attacks in the real world. Alex Goldenberg, Joel Finkelstein, and John Farmer Jr. write that “Like an American version of the Islamic State, their mythology attempts to recapture a glorious revolutionary American past in a mythological confrontation. The Boogaloo movement seeks to co-opt grievances across the political and racial spectrum and funnel them into an anti-government mob with tactical and technological capacities that look a lot like an American version of the Islamic State or al Qaeda.” The authors add: “The hope of these militants is to incite violence sufficient for society to betray the American civic tradition by forcing immense violence to protect it.”

  • CyberbiosecurityPreventing Cyberbiosecurity Threats and Protecting Vulnerable Countries

    AI can automate the manipulation of medical datasets, expanding a cyberattack’s impact through health and biotech industries. Cyber- and biosecurity threats can erode trust in technology. Eroded trust in technology is dangerous at any time but especially during a global pandemic such as COVID-19.

  • Truth decayHow Conspiracy Theories Emerge – and How Their Storylines Fall Apart

    New research offers a new way to understand how unfounded conspiracy theories emerge online. The research, which combines sophisticated artificial intelligence and a deep knowledge of how folklore is structured, explains how unrelated facts and false information can connect into a narrative framework that would quickly fall apart if some of those elements are taken out of the mix.