• Artificial Intelligence and the Manufacturing of Reality

    The belief in conspiracy theories highlights the flaws humans carry with them in deciding what is or is not real. The internet and other technologies have made it easier to weaponize and exploit these flaws, beguiling more people faster and more compellingly than ever before. It is likely artificial intelligence will be used to exploit the weaknesses inherent in human nature at a scale, speed, and level of effectiveness previously unseen. Adversaries like Russia could pursue goals for using these manipulations to subtly reshape how targets view the world around them, effectively manufacturing their reality. If even some of our predictions are accurate, all governance reliant on public opinion, mass perception, or citizen participation is at risk.

  • How Russia May have Used Twitter to Seize Crimea

    Online discourse by users of social media can provide important clues about the political dispositions of communities. New research suggests it can even be used by governments as a source of military intelligence to estimate prospective casualties and costs incurred from occupying foreign territories. New research shows real-time social media data may have been a source of military intelligence for the Kremlin and potentially other governments.

  • Encryption “Backdoors” Would Weaken Election Security: Election Protection Coalition

    A coalition working on improving elections security sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr Wednesday, criticizing the AG for recent comments he made in he called on tech companies to create a “backdoor” in their devices. The backdoor would allow law enforcement to examine the communications of individuals arrested on suspicion of committing crimes or engaging in terrorism.

  • “Like” at Your Own Risk

    New “Chameleon” Attack Can Secretly Modify Content on Facebook, Twitter. or LinkedIn: That video or picture you “liked” on social media of a cute dog, your favorite team or political candidate can actually be altered in a cyberattack to something completely different, detrimental and potentially criminal.

  • How Iran’s Military Outsources Its Cyberthreat Forces

    Two years ago, I wrote that Iran’s cyberwarfare capabilities lagged behind those of both Russia and China, but that it had become a major threat which will only get worse. It had already conducted several highly damaging cyberattacks. Since then, Iran has continued to develop and deploy its cyberattacking capabilities. It carries out attacks through a network of intermediaries, allowing the regime to strike its foes while denying direct involvement.

  • Letting “A Fox Loose in A Chicken Coop”: U.K. Intel Anxious about Huawei Deal

    High-level officials at the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British equivalent of the U.S. NSA (and Britain’s largest intelligence agency), said they were concerned about the imminent decision by the government of Boris Johnson to allow Huawei access to the U.K.  new telecoms network infrastructure. A high-level GCHQ source told The Times that handing Huawei access the U.K. telecom networks would be akin to “letting a fox loose in a chicken coop.”

  • Researcher Tests “Vaccine” Against Hate

    Amid a spike in violent extremism around the world, a communications researcher is experimenting with a novel idea: whether people can be “inoculated” against hate with a little exposure to extremist propaganda, in the same manner vaccines enable human bodies to fight disease.

  • "Redirect Method": Countering Online Extremism

    In recent years, deadly white supremacist violence at houses of worship in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, and Poway demonstrated the clear line from violent hate speech and radicalization online to in-person violence. With perpetrators of violence taking inspiration from online forums, leveraging the anonymity and connectivity of the internet, and developing sophisticated strategies to spread their messages, the stakes couldn’t be higher in tackling online extremism. Researchers have developed the Redirect Method to counter white supremacist and jihadist activity online.

  • YouTube’s Algorithms Might Radicalize People – but the Real Problem Is We’ve No Idea How They Work

    Does YouTube create extremists? It’s hard to argue that YouTube doesn’t play a role in radicalization, Chico Camargo writes. “In fact, maximizing watchtime is the whole point of YouTube’s algorithms, and this encourages video creators to fight for attention in any way possible.” Society must insist on using algorithm auditing, even though it is a difficult and costly process. “But it’s important, because the alternative is worse. If algorithms go unchecked and unregulated, we could see a gradual creep of conspiracy theorists and extremists into our media, and our attention controlled by whoever can produce the most profitable content.”

  • Homomorphic Encryption Improves Cloud Security

    A new approach to encryption — homomorphic encryption system — could improve user perception of cloud computing services where the users are concerned about private or personal data being exposed to third parties.

  • An Open Source Effort to Encrypt the Internet of Things

    End-to-end encryption is a staple of secure messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal. Such encryption ensures that no one—even the app developer or the device manufacturer—can access the user’s data as it travels the web. “But what if you could bring some version of that protection to increasingly ubiquitous—and notoriously insecure—Internet of Things devices?” asks Lili Hay Newman.

  • Chinese Communist Party’s Media Influence Expands Worldwide

    Over the past decade, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders have overseen a dramatic expansion in the regime’s ability to shape media content and narratives about China around the world, affecting every region and multiple languages, according to a new report. This trend has accelerated since 2017, with the emergence of new and more brazen tactics by Chinese diplomats, state-owned news outlets, and CCP proxies.

  • Combating the Latest Technological Threat to Democracy: A Comparison of Facebook and Twitter’s Deepfake Policies

    Twitter and Facebook have both recently announced policies for handling synthetic and manipulated media content on their platforms. Side-by-side comparison and analysis of Twitter and Facebook’s policies highlights that Facebook focuses on a narrow, technical type of manipulation, while Twitter’s approach contemplates the broader context and impact of manipulated media. 

  • Israeli Court to Hear Case against Spy-Software Company NSO Behind Closed Doors

    On Thursday, a judge at Tel Aviv’s District Court begin hearing arguments as to why Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) should revoke the export license of NSO Group. The firm’s Pegasus software has been used to target journalists and activists in several countries – including in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Why Britain's Spooks Are Wrong to Downplay the Risks of Huawei

    The U.K. wants Huawei’s 5G technology because of what John Hemmings correctly describes as the company’s “laughably cheap prices” (Huawei’s prices are cheap because the company is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government). Hemmings writes that it is this desire for inexpensive technology which leads British decisionmakers – among them Sir Andrew Parker, the outgoing director of MI5, Britain’s spy agency — to ignore the geopolitical context of an increasingly authoritarian China, which is funding Huawei’s expansion across Europe, and also ignore the reason behind China’s promotion of Huawei: The fact that China is the leading source of global cyber espionage.