• PrivacyProtecting web users’ privacy

    By Larry Hardesty

    Most website visits these days entail a database query — to look up airline flights, for example, or to find the fastest driving route between two addresses. But online database queries can reveal a surprising amount of information about the people making them. And some travel sites have been known to jack up the prices on flights whose routes are drawing an unusually high volume of queries. MIT researchers next week will present a new encryption system that disguises users’ database queries so that they reveal no private information.

  • Terrorist threatsIsraeli police arrest teen over wave of bomb threats against Jewish targets in U.S.

    The Israeli police, acting on a request by the FBI, has arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man on suspicion of making dozens of threats against Jewish organizations in the United States, and against airlines in the United States and other countries. The unnamed teen, who has a dual Israeli and U.S. citizenship, lives in the southern sea-side city of Ashkelon. The arrest was made after several waves of threats in the past two months against Jewish community centers (JCCs) and other Jewish organizations. The teen used advanced technology in an effort to mask the source of his calls and communications to synagogues, community centers, and public venues.

  • CybersecurityNew brain-inspired cybersecurity system detects “bad apples” 100 times faster

    Cybersecurity is critical — for national security, corporations and private individuals. Sophisticated cybersecurity systems excel at finding “bad apples” in computer networks, but they lack the computing power to identify the threats directly. These limits make it easy for new species of “bad apples” to evade modern cybersecurity systems. And security analysts must sort the real dangers from false alarms. The Neuromorphic Cyber Microscope, designed by Lewis Rhodes Labs in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, directly addresses this limitation. Due to its brain-inspired design, it can look for the complex patterns that indicate specific “bad apples,” all while using less electricity than a standard 60-watt light bulb.

  • CybersecurityEarly warning system for DDoS cyberattacks

    Researchers have developed a kind of early warning system for mass cyberattacks. These mass cyberattacks, known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, are considered to be one of the scourges of the Internet. Because they are relatively easy to conduct, they are used by teenagers for digital power games, by criminals as a service for the cyber mafia, or by governments as a digital weapon.

  • CybersecuritySonic cyberattacks expose security holes in ubiquitous sensors

    Sound waves could be used to hack into critical sensors used in broad array of technologies including smartphones, automobiles, medical devices and the Internet of Things. The inertial sensors involved in this research are known as capacitive MEMS accelerometers. They measure the rate of change in an object’s speed in three dimensions. Embedded into the circuits of airplanes, cars, trucks, medical devices, smartphones, and even emerging satellites, they gather information from the outside world and pass it on to decision-making components on the fly. Accelerometers help airplanes navigate, tell auto safety systems when to deploy and keep your smartphone screen properly oriented, to name just a few of their jobs.

  • Hate groups & social mediaHow online hate infiltrates social media and politics

    By Adam G. Klein

    In late February, the headline of a news commentary website that receives more than 2.8 million monthly visitors announced, “Jews Destroy Another One of Their Own Graveyards to Blame Trump.” With only a headline, this site can achieve something no hate group could have accomplished twenty years ago: It can connect with a massive audience. Looking at the most-visited websites of what were once diminished movements – white supremacists, xenophobic militants, and Holocaust deniers, to name a few – reveals a much-revitalized online culture. To whom, and how many, this latest conspiracy may travel is, in part, the story of “fake news,” the phenomenon in which biased propaganda is disseminated as if it were objective journalism in an attempt to corrupt public opinion. Today’s radical right is also remaking its profile, swapping swastikas and white-power rock for political blogs and news forums. The trappings may have changed, but the bigotry remains. Hate rhetoric repackaged as politics and housed in websites that look just like any other online blog can attract, or even persuade, more moderate ideologues to wade into extremist waters. This “user-friendly” hate community is joining forces in a way that could never happen in the offline world. Thanks in part to this connectedness, these poisoned narratives are now spreading well beyond racist websites.

  • CybersecurityMaking mobile transactions more secure with a quantum key system

    With the growing popularity of mobile phone apps to pay for purchases at cash registers and gas pumps, users would like to know their personal financial information is safe from cyber-attacks. For the first time, researchers have demonstrated a prototype device that can send unbreakable secret keys from a handheld device to a terminal. If integrated into a cell phone, for example, the device could allow secure links to near-field communications mobile payment systems and indoor Wi-Fi networks. It also could improve the security of ATMs and help prevent ATM skimming attacks, which are estimated to cost the industry more than $2 billion annually.

  • STEM educationExamining susceptibility to cyberattacks through brain activity, eye gaze

    New research examines internet users’ susceptibility and ability to detect cybercriminal attacks by analyzing a user’s brain activity and eye gaze while they are performing security related tasks. “Keeping computer systems and networks secure often relies upon the decisions and actions of those using the system,” one researcher says. “Therefore, it is vital to understand users’ performance and behavior when an attack such as phishing or malware occurs. The analysis of neural activations depicts the users’ decision-making capacities, attention and comprehension of the security tasks.”

  • The Russian connectionA First: U.S. brings hacking charges against two Russian government officials

    The United States, for the first time, has brought hacking charges against Russian government officials. The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage. The Justice Department has previously charged Russians with cybercrime – and brought prosecutions against hackers sponsored by the Chinese and Iranian governments – but the new indictments are the first time a criminal case is being brought against Russian government officials.

  • The Russian connectionRussian interventions in other people’s elections: A brief history

    By Eric Lohr

    In the last nine years, Russia has invaded its neighbor Georgia, annexed the Ukrainian province of Crimea, supported rebels in Eastern Ukraine, interfered in the U.S. presidential election, and more. Are these actions a sign that Russia is returning to aggressive foreign policies or are they part of an entirely new direction in Russian foreign policy? The answer to this question is important for the U.S. and countries throughout the world. If these policies are a return to deep Russian tradition, it will be difficult to reverse Russian aggression.

  • Hate groupsADL to build Silicon Valley center to monitor, fight cyberhate

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has secured seed funding from Omidyar Network to build a state-of-the-art command center in Silicon Valley to combat the growing threat posed by hate online. The center will employ the best technology and seasoned experts to monitor, track, analyze, and mitigate hate speech and harassment across the Internet, in support of the Jewish community and other minority groups.

  • CybersecurityProtecting internet video and pictures from cyberattacks

    Recently Wikileaks-published CIA documents focused on hacking smart devices, but attacks on internet video pose a much greater threat – and internet video will comprise 82 percent of all global consumer internet traffic by 2020. A Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researcher has developed a new technique that could provide virtually 100 percent protection against cyberattacks launched through internet videos or images.

  • CybersecurityU.K. industry warned that cybercriminals are imitating nation state attacks

    The annual assessment — the most detailed of its kind to date — of the biggest cyberthreats to U.K. businesses has been published the other day, emphasizing the need for increased collaboration among industry, government, and law enforcement in the face of a growing and fast-changing threat. The report discusses the trend of criminals imitating the way suspected nation state actors attack organizations such as financial institutions, and the risk posed by the ever-increasing number of connected devices, many of which are not always made secure by manufacturers or users.

  • Cyberterrorism insuranceCyberterrorism threat must be addressed: Pool Re’s chief

    Cyber is unlike any other peril, because of its theoretical ability to affect almost any insurance class. This significantly impairs (re)insurers’ ability to allocate capital, to model losses with confidence, and, as a result, to price insurance products accurately. The gap between the available global insurance capacity and market exposure has become increasingly stark: market capacity stands at approximately $500 million, but the exposure is estimated to be more than $130 billion. Pool Re, the U.K.’s $7.3 billion terrorism reinsurance fund, wants to extend its cover to include cyberattacks on property, chief executive Julian Enoizi said.

  • Cybersecurity“Lip password” uses a person’s lip motions to create a password

    The use of biometric data such as fingerprints to unlock mobile devices and verify identity at immigration and customs counters are used around the world. Despite its wide application, one cannot change the scan of their fingerprint. Once the scan is stolen or hacked, the owner cannot change his/her fingerprints and has to look for another identity security system. Researchers have invented a new technology called “lip motion password” (lip password) which utilizes a person’s lip motions to create a password.