• Anonymizing Personal Data “Not Enough to Protect Privacy”: Study

    Current methods for anonymizing data leave individuals at risk of being re-identified, according to new research. Researchers demonstrated that allowing data to be used — to train AI algorithms, for example — while preserving people’s privacy, requires much more than simply adding noise, sampling datasets, and other de-identification techniques.

  • Making it Easier to Program and Protect the Web

    Behind the scenes of every web service, from a secure web browser to an entertaining app, is a programmer’s code, carefully written to ensure everything runs quickly, smoothly, and securely. MIT Professor Adam Chlipala builds tools to help programmers more quickly generate optimized, secure code.

  • Why the Ghost Keys ‘Solution’ to Encryption is No Solution

    The use of applications such as Signal, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger for communications secured by end-to-end encryption has exploded over the past few years. Today, regular users of these and similar services number in the billions around the world. The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI have claimed repeatedly that the extensive use of such services hampers their ability to conduct investigations, because they cannot access encrypted communications. Officials in other countries have put forward a proposal they say would provide the needed access. But due to the fundamentals of public key encryption, this regime would end up raising most of the same concerns as other encryption back-door proposals floated in recent years.

  • Trump’s New Favorite Channel Employs Kremlin-Paid Journalist

    If the stories broadcast by the Trump-endorsed One America News Network sometimes look like outtakes from a Kremlin trolling operation, there may be a reason. One of the on-air reporters at the 24-hour network is a Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik.

  • FaceApp Makes Today’s Privacy Laws Look Antiquated

    Cameras are everywhere, and data brokers are vacuuming up information on individuals. But regulations have not kept pace. You should stop using FaceApp, because there are few controls on how your data, including your face data, will be used. But the problems that FaceApp poses aren’t unique. Walking around anywhere can get your face included in facial-recognition databases. How that information can be mined, manipulated, bought, or sold is minimally regulated—in the United States and elsewhere.

  • Managing and Mitigating Foreign Election Interference

    President Donald Trump has repeatedly shown that he does not take the issue of Russian interference in elections seriously, most recently at the G-20 summit in Japan when he issued a “wink-wink” warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin when pressed on the issue by reporters. This is no laughing matter. While much of the media coverage has focused on Russian interference in U.S. elections, this is not just an American problem. As our new report on online foreign influence efforts (FIEs) demonstrates, this is a global problem. Since 2013, Russia has conducted at least 38 distinct influence campaigns targeting 19 different countries—and Russia isn’t alone: 53 distinct online FIEs were launched by Russia and other countries between 2013 and the end of 2018, and several remain ongoing today. Russia is by far the most active state conducting FIEs. About 72 percent of the campaigns were conducted solely by Russia, which had 29 distinct operations ongoing in 2017.

  • Americans Could Be a Bigger Fake News Threat than Russians in the 2020 Presidential Campaign

    Russians and others won’t stay out of 2020. But they’ll be able to amplify US-created disinformation and have more time to disrupt 2020 in other ways. While much of the public and media attention has focused on foreign attempts to influence the results of U.S. elections, the fact is actors like Russia and Iran are not the only players we need to worry about for 2020. If anything, domestic actors are poised to be the bigger information threat.

  • DHS Warns of Russian Efforts to Divide America over Pineapple Pizza -- Sort of

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning that Russian agents could seek to further divide Americans by exploiting U.S. passions over whether pineapple belongs on pizza. It’s a cheesy, playful warning — but it’s trying to deliver a serious message. Posted online Wednesday by the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the tongue-in-cheek warning aims to help Americans identify and protect against propaganda campaigns from Russia and other foreign adversaries.

  • China Cyber Attacks on AFSPC Contractors ‘Stealing Us Blind’

    “Cyber keeps me up at night,” says Brig. Gen. DeAnna Burt, director of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) operations and communications, because China’s cyber warriors are routinely breaching defense and space contractor networks and stealing data on a regular basis. “For every defense contractor in this room, the thing that keeps me up at night is how we manage data on your systems or your sub’s systems,” she warned. “We have had breaches … the Chinese and others stealing things from cleared defense contractors.”

  • A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington

    The Committee on the Present Danger, a long-defunct group that campaigned against the dangers of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, has recently been revived with the help of Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, to warn against the dangers of China. “These are two systems that are incompatible,” says Bannon. “One side is going to win, and one side is going to lose.”

  • Republican Voters Are More Likely to Believe in Bigfoot and the Illuminati, While Democratic Voters Are More Likely to Believe in Aliens

    A new Business Insider poll found that Republican voters were statistically more likely to believe in the Illuminati and creatures like Bigfoot, compared to Democratic voters. Democratic voters, meanwhile, were more likely than Republican voters to believe that extraterrestrials have visited earth. Those who self-report believing in chemtrails tend to identify as liberal. Flat-earthers are evenly distributed across the political aisle.

  • Tackling Emerging Cyber-Social Threats

    DoD has awarded a $2.4 million grant to researchers to support the development of research infrastructure to assess social media and blogs in real time and respond to the growing weaponization of online discourse in influencing peacekeeping, and tactical, operational, and strategic operations.

  • FBI, FTC asked to examine whether FaceApp is a Kremlin’s data-collection tool

    FaceApp is a selfie app designed by a Russian programmer, which uses AI-like techniques to apply various changes to faces, making them look older or younger, adding accessories and even changing their race. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) sent a letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the data-collecting and data-retention mechanisms of the Russia-based app — and whether the “personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government.”

  • Gaining Competitive Advantage for the U.S. in the Gray Zone

    The United States is entering a period of intensifying strategic competition with several rivals, most notably Russia and China. U.S. officials expect this competition to be played out primarily below the threshold of armed conflict, in what is sometimes termed the gray zone between peace and war. The United States is ill prepared and poorly organized to compete in this space, but the United States can begin to treat the ongoing gray zone competition as an opportunity more than a risk.

  • How Cyber Weapons Are Changing the Landscape of Modern Warfare

    In the weeks before two Japanese and Norwegian oil tankers were attacked, on 13 June, in the Gulf of Oman—acts which the United States attributes to Iran—American military strategists were planning a cyberattack on critical parts of that country’s digital infrastructure. On 20 June, the United States launched a cyberattack aimed at disabling Iran’s maritime operations. Then, in a notable departure from previous Administrations’ policies, U.S. government officials, through leaks that appear to have been strategic, alerted the world, in broad terms, to what the Americans had done.