• Why the Christchurch call to remove online terror content triggers free speech concerns

    France and New Zealand spearheaded the adoption on May 15 of the Christchurch Call to Eliminate Terrorist & Violent Extremist Content Online, a voluntary pledge endorsed by 18 countries and many tech companies (including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter). The United States refused to join, citing tofree speech concerns. The Christchurch Call was named after the city in New Zealand where a horrific terrorist attack killed 51 people and injured 50 at two mosques in March. That massacre was live-streamed on Facebook, spreading quickly on that platform as well as other social media sites and raising concerns about how such content goes viral. Evelyn Aswad writes in Just Security that U.S. isolation amidst close allies with respect to this initiative has led to questions about what were the First Amendment hurdles that prevented the U.S. from joining this pledge, especially given it constitutes a political commitment rather than a legally binding document.

  • Bolstering cyber resilience

    In December 2015, the first known successful cyberattack on a power grid was carried out in Ukraine, disrupting the electricity supply for hundreds of thousands of customers for several hours. Since then, concerns have grown across the globe about the potential public health, economic and security impacts of widespread power outages in heavily populated regions. Argonne partners with World Economic Forum in important cyber resilience effort.

  • When to use the “nuclear option”? Why knocking Russia offline is a bad idea

    On Nov. 6, 2018, the notorious Russian troll farm—the Internet Research Agency or IRA—was silent. In an effort to “prevent the Russians from mounting a disinformation campaign” that would “cast doubt on the results” of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, U.S. Cyber Command conducted a mysterious cyber operation to knock the organization offline. The news about the Cyber Command operation prompted suggestions that America should respond to cyberattacks with more drastic measures. Robert Morgus and Justin Sherman write in Just Security that even putting the important issues associated with offensive cyber operations, “we write to address a fundamental policy question about this type of cyber operation. Would it even serve the deterrent effect some claim it would?”

  • How to break our bad online security habits – with a flashing cyber nudge

    The number of cyberattacks is estimated to have risen by 67 percent over the last five years, with the majority of these data breaches being traced back to human error. The potential risks of such attacks are vast and can have a serious impact on both organizations and individuals. But protecting ourselves against cyber security threats can be extremely complicated.

  • Will the next cyberattack be in the hospital?

    You may not think of hackers targeting hospitals, but this is where our wired world may be most vulnerable, and the results could be deadly. Israeli startup Cynerio aims to stop hackers from targeting medical devices, a potent new danger in our connected world.

  • Whistleblower: Facebook deceived public on extent of extremist content removal

    According to a whistleblower’s complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that was recently revealed in an AP investigation, Facebook has been misleading the public and its shareholders about the efficacy of its content moderation efforts.

  • The mainstreaming of conspiracy theories

    Is paranoia running rampant? Are believers getting the upper hand? The idea that the moon landing was fake is too exotic for most of us. But who truly believes that global warming is a hoax, or that dark forces rule the world? Quite a few people, according to a researcher of conspiracy theories.

  • How are conspiracy theories adopted, and what are their risks?

    Why do people adopt conspiracy theories, how are they communicated, and what are their risks? A new report examines these questions, drawing on research in psychology, information engineering, political science, and sociology.

  • Russia is targeting Europe’s elections. So are far-right copycats.

    Less than two weeks before pivotal elections for the European Parliament, a constellation of websites and social media accounts linked to Russia or far-right groups is spreading disinformation, encouraging discord and amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades. Matt Apuzzo and Adam Satariano write in the New York Times that the activity offers fresh evidence that despite indictments, expulsions and recriminations, Russia remains undeterred in its campaign to widen political divisions and weaken Western institutions. “The goal here is bigger than any one election,” said Daniel Jones, a former F.B.I. analyst and Senate investigator. “It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself. They’re working to destroy everything that was built post-World War II.”

  • Cyberattacks are rewriting the "rules" of modern warfare – and we aren’t prepared for the consequences

    Governments are becoming ever more reliant on digital technology, making them more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Politically-motivated cyber attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace but unlike traditional warfare between two or more states, cyberwarfare can be launched by groups of individuals. On occasion, the state is actually caught in the crosshairs of competing hacking groups. Vasileios Karagiannopoulos and Mark Leiser write in the Conversation that this doesn’t mean that states don’t actively prepare for such attacks. In most cases, cyberwarfare operations have been conducted in the background, designed as scare tactics or displays of power. But the blending of traditional warfare and cyberwarfare seems inevitable and a recent incident added a new dimension.

  • Hackers working for a “state actor” planted spyware in WhatsApp via missed calls

    Hackers, in all likelihood working for a state, managed to circumvent WhatsApp security by exploiting vulnerability associated with missed calls. The hackers planted an advanced spying software created by Israeli cyber company NSO to infect a few dozen phones. WhatsApp said the attack bore “all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems.”

  • Russia has Americans’ weaknesses all figured out

    What are Americans supposed to think when their leaders contradict one another on the most basic question of national security—who is the enemy? Is Russia the enemy, or was the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election just a slow-motion attack on the president and his supporters? Are Russian fake-news troll farms stirring up resentment among the American electorate, or are mainstream-media outlets just making things up? Jim Sciutto writes in Defense One that U.S. military commanders, national-security officials, and intelligence analysts have a definitive answer: Russia is an enemy. It is taking aggressive action right now, from cyberspace to outer space, and all around the world, against the United States and its allies. But the public has been slow to catch on, polls suggest, and Trump has given Americans little reason to believe that their president recognizes Russia’s recent actions as a threat.

  • Report reveals scale of Russian interference in European democracy

    Evidence of the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency’s long-term interest in European politics and elections has been revealed in two new studies. while Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been well documented, far less has been known about the Internet Research Agency’s European operations, until now.

  • Hysteria over Jade Helm exercise in Texas was fueled by Russians, former CIA director says

    Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision in 2015 to ask the Texas State Guard to monitor a federal military exercise prompted significant criticism. A former CIA director said Wednesday that the move emboldened Russians to next target elections.

  • U.S. official: Executive order not needed to ban Huawei in U.S. 5G networks

    “We have grave concerns about the Chinese vendors because they can be compelled by the National Intelligence Law in China as well as other laws in China to take actions that would not be in the interests of the citizens of other countries around the world. Those networks could be disrupted or their data could be taken and be used for purposes that would not be consistent with fundamental human rights in those countries,” says Robert Strayer, deputy assistant secretary of state for cyber and international communications and information policy.