• Stealth: Terrorists use encryption, the Darknet, and cryptocurrencies

    Terrorists and extremists are increasingly moving their activities online – and areas of the web have become a safe haven for Islamic State to plot its next attacks, according to a report. The report shows how those planning to commit terrorist atrocities are using extremist networks on the Darknet to indoctrinate sympathizers, create a reservoir of propaganda, evade detection and fundraise. It calls for urgent action by government and the policing and security services to step up intelligence gathering and action to counter online extremist activity.

  • NYC Secure launched: Cybersecurity initiative to protect New Yorkers online

    NYC Mayor de Blasio last week announced the launch of NYC Secure, a cybersecurity initiative aimed at protecting New Yorkers online. Using an evolving suite of solutions, NYC Secure will defend New Yorkers from malicious cyber activity on mobile devices, across public Wi-Fi networks, and beyond. The first NYC Secure programs will include a free City-sponsored smartphone protection app which, when installed, will issue warnings to users when suspicious activity is detected on their mobile devices.

  • Russia seeks to block Telegram in showdown over internet freedom

    Russia’s state media regulator has asked a court to block the messaging app Telegram following the company’s refusal to give the Federal Security Service (FSB) access to users’ messaging data. The move may fuel concerns that Russia is seeking to curtail Internet freedoms following President Vladimir Putin’s 18 March election to a new six-year term.

  • Paper trails and random audits could secure all elections – don’t save them just for recounts in close races

    As states begin to receive millions of federal dollars to secure the 2018 primary and general elections, officials around the country will have to decide how to spend it to best protect the integrity of the democratic process. If voters don’t trust the results, it doesn’t matter whether an election was actually fair or not. Right now, the most visible election integrity effort in the U.S. involves conducting recounts in especially close races. A similar approach could be applied much more broadly.

  • Europe's top court upholds Germany’s law banning displaying Nazi swastika

    The European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that German courts acted properly in convicting a German man for posting a picture of Nazi war criminal and SS leader Heinrich Himmler in SS uniform bearing a swastika. The court argued that German authorities had not undermined freedom of expression given the country’s history. Under German law, displaying Nazi symbols is illegal, and these symbols can be shown exclusively for educational purposes.

  • The ruse of “fake news”

    As Americans increasingly turn to social media as their primary source for news and information, the dangers posed by the phenomenon of “fake news” are growing. Researchers want to use science to combat techniques that can make the true seem false, and the reverse.

  • Separating factual from fake messages during a crisis

    How well can you tell facts from fake on social media? How about in a crisis? DHS S&T, together with Canadian partners, concluded the fifth Canada-U.S. Enhanced Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE V) event last year, running drills involving the hypothetical eruption of Mt. Baker, an active volcano in the Pacific Northwest. As part of the simulation, a group of digital disaster services volunteers practiced separating fact from fiction on the web, with the mission of keeping responders informed during the event.

  • How the U.S. can better counter political warfare

    Political warfare is a term often used to describe measures that fall short of conventional warfare. These can include political, informational, military and economic measures to influence, coerce, intimidate or undermine U.S. interests or those of friends and allies. These efforts can include cyber warfare, propaganda and disinformation campaigns, economic sanctions and even a Russian state-sponsored biker gang. The United States needs to improve the ways it combats adversaries adept at using political warfare tactics to achieve their goals and undermine U.S. interests and allies, according to a new RAND study.

  • Outgoing U.S. national security adviser: West has “failed to impose sufficient costs” on Russia

    Outgoing White House national security adviser H. R. McMaster has called for stronger measures against Russian “threats” and “provocations,” arguing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is mistaken in thinking the West will not push back against the Kremlin’s “hybrid warfare.” The comments were some of the strongest to date on Russia by McMaster, whose last day at the White House will be next week.

  • Gen. H. R. McMaster: "The Kremlin’s confidence is growing

    In a speech at the Atlantic Council on Tuesday, 3 April, the outgoing national security adviser Gen. H. R. McMaster said that “Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies and the foundations of international peace and stability.” He said that Western countries have been “targeted by Russia’s so-called hybrid warfare, a pernicious form of aggression that combines political, economic, informational, and cyber assaults against sovereign nations.  Russia employs sophisticated strategies deliberately designed to achieve objectives while falling below the target state’s threshold for a military response.  Tactics include infiltrating social media, spreading propaganda, weaponizing information, and using other forms of subversion and espionage.” McMsster added: “The Kremlin’s confidence is growing.”

  • Russia's influence is much more than propaganda and fake news

    This liberal bias of Western political culture has led the majority of Russia-commentators to miss something which is in plain sight: that Russia’s conservative values are increasingly attractive among populist groups in the West, and that this attraction is doing what soft power is supposed to do: generating support for Russia’s foreign policy. The ideological attraction of the values put forward by the Russian regime cross several categories, including moral conservatism, illiberal governance, and strong leadership. This means that Russian propaganda is not simply being delivered to a uniform audience that needs to be convinced or confused: it is being delivered to a differentiated audience, some of whom – on the populist, far-right side of the spectrum — will buy into the messages put out by the Russian regime because it conforms with their ideological values. Countering Russian influence in the West is thus not simply a matter of fact-checking to counter the propaganda efforts: with populist, far-right movements the problem is fundamentally ideological.

  • 4G LTE networks vulnerability allows adversaries to send fake emergency alerts

    Researchers have identified several new vulnerabilities in 4G LTE networks, potentially allowing hackers to forge the location of a mobile device and fabricate messages. The vulnerabilities would allow adversaries to send fake emergency paging messages to a large number of devices, drain a victim device’s battery by forcing it to perform expensive cryptographic operations, disconnect a device from the core network, and more.

  • Diminutive robot defends factories against cyberthreats

    It’s small enough to fit inside a shoebox, yet this robot on four wheels — called HoneyBot — has a big mission: keeping factories and other large facilities safe from hackers. The diminutive device is designed to lure in digital troublemakers who have set their sights on industrial facilities. HoneyBot will then trick the bad actors into giving up valuable information to cybersecurity professionals.

  • Propagating online conspiracies

    Due to the Internet, conspiracy theories are on the rise and playing an increasingly significant role in global politics. Now new research has analyzed digital data to reveal exactly who is propagating them and why. The researchers said that conspiracies such as Pizzagate (which falsely claimed high-ranking Democratic Party officials were running a child-sex ring out of a pizza shop) and the anti-vaccination movement are becoming a bigger issue.

  • Why you stink at fact-checking

    People are very bad at picking up on factual errors in the world around them. Research from cognitive psychology shows that people are naturally poor fact-checkers and it is very difficult for us to compare things we read or hear to what we already know about a topic. In what’s been called an era of “fake news,” this reality has important implications for how people consume journalism, social media and other public information.