• These Hackers Made an App That Kills to Prove a Point

    Two years ago, researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts discovered disturbing vulnerabilities in Medtronic’s popular MiniMed and MiniMed Paradigm insulin pump lines. An attacker could remotely target these pumps to withhold insulin from patients, or to trigger a potentially lethal overdose. And yet months of negotiations with Medtronic and regulators to implement a fix proved fruitless. So the researchers resorted to drastic measures. They built an Android app that could use the flaws to kill people.

  • U.S. Government Agencies Want to Know More about Russian Trolling

    Two Clemson researchers have been compiling and analyzing the tactics and strategy of social media accounts created by a Russian agency whose goal is to interfere in the U.S. electoral process. The Russians’ “troll factory” is housed in St. Petersburg in the now-famous government-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA). “What the IRA is attempting to do through social media channels is create a one-sided agenda through a marketing campaign,” one researcher said. “It’s not espionage, it’s essentially a guerrilla marketing campaign.” DHS, the U.S. Cyber Command, and other U.S. government agencies want to more about the researchers’ findings.

  • U.S. Offensive Cyber Operations against Economic Cyber Intrusions: An International Law Analysis

    The United States is likely to struggle to make a convincing argument that economic cyber intrusions carried out against it breach international law. Consequently, in most cases the United States would not be able to resort to countermeasures in response. It must therefore show that its offensive cyber operations do not themselves breach international law.

  • The Roots of Labour’s Anti-Semitism Lie Deep within the Populist Left

    By Jonathan Freedland

    “Anti-Semitism is populism in perhaps its purest and most distilled form. It says that politics is indeed a battle between the virtuous masses and a nefarious, corrupt elite – and that that elite is ‘the Jews’. That’s why anti-Semitism carries so many of populism’s distinguishing features, from the fear of an enemy within, to its insistence that the media is bent on distorting reality,” Jonathan Freedland writes. Earlier this year a global study “found that a distinguishing feature of those with a populist worldview is a willingness to believe conspiracy theories, whether on the climate crisis, vaccines, or aliens from outer space. Anti-Semitism is nothing if not an all-encompassing conspiracy theory, suggesting that Jews are the secret rulers of the world.”

  • Russia’s Election Hackers Are Back—and Targeting George Soros

    The Russian intelligence agency behind 2016’s election attacks is training its sights on billionaire financier George Soros. The move comes hot on the heels of a surge in U.S.-focused hacking by Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate with similarities to 2016 in targeting and methodology. The Kremlin’s targeting of Soros and his organization carries echoes of 2016, when the GRU dumped 2,500 files stolen from the Open Society Foundations for the debut of “DC Leaks”, the fake leak site the spies created for their 2016 election interference campaign. 

  • Four Ways Blockchain Could Make the Internet Safer, Fairer, and More Creative

    The internet is unique in that it has no central control, administration or authority, but in recent years internet services such as search engines and social media platforms have increasingly been provided by a small number of very large tech firms. The internet is slowly turning into something like the current financial system, which centrally monitors all transactions and uses that data to predict what people will buy in future. Bitcoin, which surfaced on the internet in 2008, sought to break the influence that large, private bodies have over what we do online. The researchers had finally solved one of the biggest concerns with digital currencies – that they need central control by the companies that operate them, in the same way traditional currencies are controlled by a bank. People researching Bitcoin – and blockchains which undergird it — may have overlooked one of its most useful applications – making the internet better for everyone who uses it.

  • Trump Is Rattling Sabers in Cyberspace — but Is the U.S. Ready?

    While U.S. cyber defenses are improving, some experts worry about how the nation would recover from an even larger strike — such as one on the scale of the suspected Russian cyber-assault that blacked out power to more than 200,000 Ukrainians in 2015. The worst-case scenario, say experts, is that the U.S. gets into an escalating round of hacking attacks with some hostile power that spins out of control — with no plan for what to do next.

  • Cyberattack Attribution and the Virtues of Decentralization

    In the midst of rising tensions between the United States and Iran over tanker attacks and Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone, reports emerged that U.S. Cyber Command had launched a responsive cyber operation against a group linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. As cyber operations by both states heat up, non-governmental actors may play pivotal roles, not just as potential victims and collateral damage from states’ actions, but also as accusers of states.

  • What the Measles Epidemic Really Says about America

    The critic Susan Sontag observed that disease can serve as a metaphor—a reflection of the society through which it travels. Now, a virus is offering insights into the country’s psychic and civic condition. Two decades ago, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. Yet in the first five months of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 1,000 cases—more than occurred from 2000 to 2010. Three cultural conditions have contributed to the resurgence of measles in the United States. One is historical forgetting: contemporary America suffers from a dangerous lack of historical memory. The second is diminished trust in government. As distrust of government has grown, so too has distrust of vaccines. The third is a population that suffers from overconfidence in its own amateur knowledge. This third condition is especially dangerous: It’s one thing to Google a food to see whether it’s healthy. It’s quite another to dismiss decades of studies on the benefits of vaccines because you’ve watched a couple of YouTube videos.

  • A Political Murder and Far-Right Terrorism: Germany’s New Hateful Reality

    The death threats started in 2015, when Walter Lübcke defended the refugee policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel.On June 2, Mr. Lübcke was fatally shot in the head on his front porch, in what appears to be Germany’s first far-right political assassination since the Nazi era.

  • As Feds Struggle, States Create Their Own Anti-election Propaganda Programs

    As the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, individual states are ramping up education efforts to counter the threat posed by foreign disinformation campaigns to US elections. A lack of action at the federal level has prompted many states to craft their own programs designed to counter foreign efforts to undermine American democracy and educate the next generation of voters in schools.

  • Conspiracy Theories Make Inroads in Venezuelan Politics

    Despite how predictable (and tiresome) it has become, the Maduro government’s repetitive use of elaborate plots and attributing Machiavelian-styled traits to its adversaries doesn’t come out of pure laziness; conspiracy theories have not just found their way into our political discussion for quite some time now, they’ve won acceptance.

  • Twitter Takes Down Louis Farrakhan’s 2018 Anti-Semitic Tweet after Policy Change

    Twitter said Tuesday that it was requiring anti-Semitic hate preacher and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to delete a 2018 anti-Semitic tweet that compared Jews to termites. The move came as the social media giant introduced new rules prohibiting “language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.”

  • YouTube removes audio copies of neo-Nazi books

    James Mason’s neo-Nazi manifesto, Siege, has inspired a generation of neo-Nazis since it was first published as a single volume in 1992. The book sparked a violent online subculture called Siege Culture, devoted to Mason’s calls for independent terror cells to carry out a race war. YouTube has now taken down uploads of both Siege and the neo-Nazi book The Turner Diaries.

  • “They Can't Stop All of Us”: Over 400,000 People Planning to Raid Area 51 All at Once

    Area 51, an Air Force base in Nevada where many conspiracy theorists have long believed the U.S. government holds top secret information about extraterrestrial life. They also allege the area to have been the site of frequent UFO sightings.