• The “European Approach” to fighting disinformation: Lessons for the United States

    The European Commission published a communication on 26 April to the European Council and Parliament outlining the “European Approach” to combatting disinformation. The report provides an important opportunity for reflection across the transatlantic space, as the United States seeks to inoculate its democracy from ongoing hostile foreign interference activities. Takeaways from the “European Approach” to fighting disinformation can help U.S. policymakers develop more targeted policy measures, and identify potential shortcomings in the U.S. response.

  • Cybersecurity teams which do not interact much perform best

    Scientists recently found that the best, high-performing cybersecurity teams have relatively few interactions with their team-members and team captain. While this result may seem counterintuitive, it is actually consistent with major theoretical perspectives on professional team development.

  • Syracuse University team wins 2018 National Cyber Analyst Challenge

    A team of Syracuse University students was awarded first place and $20,000 in the National Cyber Analyst Challenge (NCAC) at Temple University in Philadelphia in April. At NCAC, students are given six hours and a large set of network traffic data to identify the origins of a cyberattack and its potential damage, and then make a seven-minute presentation of their findings and recommendations to a panel of C-suite-level judges from industry.

  • Protecting sensitive data in the Cloud by disguising access patterns

    Computer scientists is working to defend against the next potential cyber risk – cloud storage. The scientists say cloud users can encrypt sensitive data and information, but how they access the data may make it vulnerable.

  • Tool measures individuals’ likelihood to fall for internet scams

    Researchers have developed an online questionnaire which measures a range of personality traits to identify individuals who are more likely to fall victim to internet scams and other forms of cybercrime. The psychometric tool asks participants to answer a range of questions in order to measure how likely they are to respond to persuasive techniques.

  • European Commission to call out Russia for “information warfare”

    The European Commission is set to single out Russia directly for what it calls Moscow’s “information warfare” as part of EU efforts to fight back against online disinformation campaigns considered a threat to European security. The draft of a communique seen by RFE/RL states that “mass online disinformation campaigns are being widely used by a range of domestic and foreign actors to sow distrust and create societal tensions, with serious potential consequences for our security.”

  • World’s biggest DDoS-for-hire service taken down

    The administrators of the DDoS marketplace webstresser.org were arrested on 24 April 2018 as a result of Operation Power Off, a complex investigation led by the Dutch Police and the UK’s National Crime Agency with the support of Europol and a dozen law enforcement agencies from around the world. The webstresser.org was considered the world’s biggest marketplace to hire Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) services, with over 136 000 registered users and 4 million attacks measured by April 2018.

  • Deterring foreign interference in U.S. elections

    A new study analyzes five million political ads on hot-button issues which ran on Facebook in the run-up to the 2016 election. Voters in swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were disproportionately targeted with ads featuring divisive issues like guns, immigration, and race relations. The divisive ads were purchased by 228 groups – 121 of these groups had no publicly trackable information.

  • Bitcoin more vulnerable to attack than expected

    Calculations by researchers show that Bitcoin is more vulnerable to attack than people had always assumed. If some Bitcoin users were to form a group that controls 20 percent of the currency’s computing power, they could launch an attack and, within a few days, force all other users to accept a new standard for Bitcoin.

  • How cybercriminal spend their illicit gains

    A new study, drawing on first hand interviews with convicted cybercriminals, data from international law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and covert observations conducted across the Dark Web, reveals the socio-economic and spending differences among cybercriminals. Annual earning level of successful cybercriminals push them into some of the higher income brackets.

  • Ten legislative proposals to defend America against foreign influence operations

    More than a year after Russia’s broad hacking and disinformation campaign of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and with midterm elections looming on the horizon, Congress and the Trump administration have not taken any clear action to increase U.S. defenses against the foreign interference threat. There are important steps we can, and must, take to defend our institutions against adversaries who seek to undermine them. Many of Russia’s tactics have exploited vulnerabilities in our societies and technologies, and loopholes in our laws. Some of the steps necessary to defend ourselves will involve long-term work, others will require clear action by the Executive Branch to ensure Americans are united against the threat we face, and steps to both deter and raise the costs on such actions.

  • Accelerating detection of zero-day vulnerabilities

    Today, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), government off-the-shelf (GOTS), and free and open-source (FOSS) software support nearly all aspects of DoD, military, and commercial operations. Securing this diverse technology base requires highly skilled hackers who reason about the functionality of software and identify novel vulnerabilities. To address the challenges facing our abilities to scale and accelerate vulnerability detection, DARPA last week announced the Computers and Humans Exploring Software Security (CHESS) program.

  • New strategies for countering Russian social media influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia is waging a social media campaign in the Baltics, Ukraine, and nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments, as well as NATO and the European Union. “Nowhere is this threat more tangible than in Ukraine, which has been an active propaganda battleground since the 2014 Ukrainian revolution,” said the lead author of a new RAND report. “Other countries in the region look at Russia’s actions and annexation of Crimea and recognize the need to pay careful attention to Russia’s propaganda campaign.”

  • It’s not just Facebook: Countering Russia’s social media offensive

    Russian influence operations exploit the vulnerabilities of social media platforms to disseminate false narratives and amplify divisive content in order to undermine democracies, divide societies, and weaken Western alliances. In conducting these operations, the Kremlin employs a variety of tools across the social media space, including fake accounts/personas, political advertisements, bot networks, and traditional propaganda outlets. Additionally, Russian influence operations utilize a range of social media platforms, each with a different role, to distract public discussion, foment social unrest, and muddle the truth.

  • Algorithm identifies fake users on many social networks

    Researchers have developed a new generic method to detect fake accounts on most types of social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. The new method is based on the assumption that fake accounts tend to establish improbable links to other users in the networks.