• Who believes in conspiracies? Research offers a theory

    The Apollo moon landing was staged. The CIA killed JFK. 9/11 was a plot by the U.S. government to justify a war in the Middle East. President Barack Obama was not a natural born citizen. The massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school was staged as a pretense for increased gun control. The “deep state” is trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency. Conspiracy theories have been cooked up throughout history, but they are increasingly visible lately, likely due in part to the president of the United States routinely embracing or creating them. What draws people to conspiracy theories? New research suggests that people with certain personality traits and cognitive styles are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.

  • Facing up to truth decay

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” That sentiment, once expressed by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, seems to be falling out of fashion in America’s current civil discourse. RAND Corporation’s Michael Rich has dubbed this phenomenon “Truth Decay,” and it is the subject of ongoing research designed to explore what is eroding the public’s trust in facts and institutions—and how to stop the trend.

  • Disinformation and fake news on Twitter

    The Knight Foundation has just released a new report — Disinformation, ‘Fake News’, and Influence Campaigns on Twitter – which, among other disturbing findings, shows that despite government efforts taken against those responsible for the misinformation campaigns during the 2016 election, 80 percent of these accounts are still active and still tweeting. Together, they produce about 1 million tweets per day. The study also found that 60 percent of these accounts have evidence they are partially run by bots, and many of the bot-run accounts appear to be connected.

  • Publicizing a firm's security levels may strengthen security over time

    Cyberattacks grow in prominence each and every day; in fact, 2017 was the worst year to-date for data breaches, the number of cyber incidents targeting businesses nearly doubling from 2016 to 2017. Now, new research has quantified the security levels of more than 1,200 Pan-Asian companies in order to determine whether increased awareness of one’s security levels leads to improved defense levels against cybercrime.

  • Russian election meddling in the U.S. and beyond

    On Thursday 20 September 2018, the US targeted 33 individuals and entities with sanctions over interference in the American Presidential election in 2016. This followed the U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of 12 Russian officials. Previously, 13 Russian citizens as well as the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management and Concord Catering had been charged with interfering with the U.S. political system.

  • Secure Election Act will not be ready before midterms

    Senator James Lankford (R-OK) said Tuesday the Secure Elections Act, bipartisan legislation designed “to protect elections from cyberattacks,” won’t be ready before November. Last month’s Senate committee mark-up was abruptly postponed by Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) over a lack of Republican support and objections by some secretaries of state and the White House.

  • Numbers, trends in health care data breaches nationwide, 2010-2017

    Health plans – entities that cover the costs of medical care – accounted for the greatest number of patient records breached over the past seven years, according to an analysis of U.S. health care data. The report examined changes in data breaches during a period when electronic health records were being widely adopted across the country. While the largest number of data breaches took place at heath care providers – hospitals, physician offices, and similar entities – breaches involving the greatest number of patient records took place at health plans.

  • Protecting the power grid from cyberattacks

    As the national power grid becomes increasingly dependent on computers and data sharing—providing significant benefits for utilities, customers, and communities—it has also become more vulnerable to both physical and cyber threats. While evolving standards with strict enforcement help reduce risks, efforts focused on response and recovery capabilities are just as critical––as is research aimed at creating a well-defended next generation smart grid.

  • The Road to Power: Idaho outfit behind rash of racist, anti-Semitic robocalls

    The Road to Power, a white supremacist and anti-Semitic broadcasting outlet based in Sandpoint, Idaho, continues to ramp up its tactic of robocalling communities nationwide with racist, anti-Semitic and bigoted language. The calls, which have targeted communities in California, Idaho, Iowa, Florida and Pennsylvania, seek to exploit current events by disseminating vile, offensive commentary. 

  • Why it’s unwise for the U.K. to boast about its cyberattack capability

    The U.K. government is very publicly investing more money in its ability to conduct cyberattacks and, at the same time, it is becoming increasingly open in talking about the attacks it has conducted in the past – and those it might conduct in future. There are risks involved in publicly signaling the imminence of cyber and other attacks, especially against capable adversaries with a demonstrable appetite for taking risks and a cavalier attitude about collateral damage. The U.K. needs to think more carefully about how it integrates cyber operations, and communication about them, into its wider approach – not only towards Russia but across the whole spectrum of national security operations.

  • Economic benefit of NIST’s encryption standard at least $250 billion

    NIST has released a study that estimates a $250 billion economic impact from the development of its Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) over the past twenty years. AES is a cryptographic algorithm used to encrypt and decrypt electronic information. It was approved for use by the federal government in November 2001 and has since been widely adopted by private industry. Today, AES protects everything from classified data and bank transactions to online shopping and social media apps.

  • A new cybersecurity research group focuses on human behavior

    Sociologist David Maimon’s earliest research examined the effects neighborhoods have in determining why some people in neighborhoods engage in crime and deviant behaviors. In 2010, he turned his focus to cybercrime and the unique online ecosystem in which cybercriminals thrive. Maimon leads the Evidence-based Cybersecurity Research Group at GSU. “The notion of ‘cybersecurity’ in academic literature and the world is still technical,” he said. “Our work is unique in that we focus on human behavior.”

  • U.S. prepared to strike in cyberspace

    The United States is prepared to go on the offensive in cyberspace to ensure adversaries know there is a price to pay for hacks, network intrusions and other types of attacks. President Donald Trump signed a new National Cyber Strategy on Thursday, calling for a more aggressive response to the growing online threat posed by other countries, terrorist groups and criminal organizations.

  • Amnesty International toils to tell real videos from fakes

    Increasingly sophisticated artificial-intelligence video tools, like FakeApp, are raising concerns by helping the technically astute create realistic computer-generated videos known as “deepfakes.” A deepfake video can put a person’s face on somebody else’s body, make them say words they never uttered, show them in a place they’ve never been, or even put them at an event that never occurred.

  • How to fight information manipulations: 50 recommendations

    French government think tanks have issued 50 recommendations to combat “information manipulations.” The recommendations are part of an exhaustive new study published by the Center for Analysis, Planning and Strategy (CAPS) — attached to the ministry of foreign affairs — and the Institute for Strategic Research of the Military School (IRSEM) — attached to the ministry of the armed forces. It warns that information manipulation, defined as “the intentional and massive distribution of false or biased news for hostile political purposes,” aims to “undermine the foundations of our democracy” and thereby constitute a threat to national security.