• Facebook, Twitter Remove Russia-Linked Fake Accounts Targeting Americans

    Social-media giants Facebook and Twitter say they have removed a number of Russia-linked fake accounts that targeted U.S. users from their operations in Ghana and Nigeria. Facebook on 12 March said the accounts it removed were in the “early stages” of building an audience on behalf of individuals in Russia, posting on topics such as black history, celebrity gossip, and fashion.

  • Extremists Use Coronavirus to Advance Racist, Conspiratorial Agendas

    As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus surges globally, extremists continue to use the virus  to advance their bigotry and anti-Semitism, while also promoting conspiracy theories and even boogaloo (the white supremacist term for civil war). As usual, extremists are relying primarily on fringe social media platforms to disseminate their views, but as the virus spreads, it has gotten easier to find xenophobia, anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories on mainstream social media platforms.

  • “Speed and Agility,” “Layered Cyber Deterrence” to Bolster American Cyber Defenses

    The Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) the other day released its report on how to best protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from a cyberattack of significant consequence. In the report, the CSC lays out a comprehensive strategy to restore deterrence in cyberspace and provides extensive policy and legislative actions to enable this strategy. The report lays out more than 75 recommendations to improve the cybersecurity of U.S. critical infrastructure and recommends a strategy of “layered cyber deterrence” that seeks to shape behavior in cyberspace, deny benefits to adversaries who would seek to exploit cyberspace to their advantage, and impose costs against those who would nonetheless choose to target America in and through cyberspace.

  • Next Generation 911 Services Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

    Despite a previous warning by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, who exposed vulnerabilities in 911 systems due to distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), the next generation of 911 systems that now accommodate text, images and video still have the same or more severe issues.

  • U.K.: Tory MPs Rebel against Government’s Huawei’s Plan

    The U.K. government has launched an all-hands-on-deck effort to contain a growing rebellion by Tory MPs who want to ban the use of Huawei’s equipment in the U.K. 5G telecoms network, arguing that allowing the Chinese company, with its close ties to China’s intelligence and military establishments, any access to the country’s communication infrastructure would be like inviting a fox to guard the hen house.

  • Chinese and Russian State-Owned Media on the Coronavirus: United Against the West?

    Beginning in late January, when news emerged of a “novel coronavirus” spreading through China, Beijing’s propaganda apparatus shifted into overdrive. The epidemic has also been heavily covered in externally directed Russian state-backed media outlets, offering an opportunity to compare and contrast the approaches of both countries’ propaganda apparatuses.

  • Better Math to Help Stop Spread of False Rumors about COVID-19

    Think of all the false rumors that went viral about COVID-19—it got so bad, the World Health Organization called it an “infodemic.” Whether it is in hoaxes or a viral conspiracy theory, information travels fast these days. Just how fast and far information moves depends on who shares it, and where, from discussions on social media to  conversations with fellow commuters on your way to work. So, how can our interactions and their infrastructures affect the spread of rumors and information? That’s a question that researchers are beginning to answer with complex math models of social contagion, the concept that social behavior and ideas spread like a pathogen.

  • Novel Cybersecurity Approach to Protect Army Systems

    Networked devices and infrastructure are becoming increasingly complex, making it nearly impossible to verify an entire system, and new attacks are continuously being developed. Researchers have identified an approach to network security that will enhance the effectiveness and timeliness of protection against adversarial intrusion and evasion strategies.

  • Why the 2020 Election Will Be A Mess, Part II: Beyond Russian Disinformation

    In 2016, an effective Russian disinformation campaign helped Donald Trump win the presidential election. What would the next iteration of Russia’s effort look like? Alex Finley, Asha Rangappa, and John Sipher write that an influence campaign “is only one piece of Russia’s larger use of political warfare. Russia’s full active-measures toolkit—one that goes back to the Soviet Union’s KGB—includes subversion, espionage, sabotage, propaganda, deception, provocation, spreading of rumors and conspiracy, weaponization of social media, and even assassination and promotion of violence.” The three authors write that a look at Russia’s actions in Europe and past practice “suggests the United States should prepare for the worst.”

  • U.S. Accuses Russia of Spreading Fear, Panic on Coronavirus

    The United States is accusing Russia of opening up its entire disinformation playbook to prey on growing fears about the spread of the coronavirus. Moscow’s effort, underway for weeks, according to officials, includes the use of state-run media outlets, fake news websites and “swarms” of fake online personas to churn out fabricated information in at least five languages. 

  • “Internet of Things” Could Be an Unseen Threat to Elections

    The app failure that led to a chaotic 2020 Iowa caucus was a reminder of how vulnerable the democratic process is to technological problems – even without any malicious outside intervention. Far more sophisticated foreign hacking continues to try to disrupt democracy, as a rare joint federal agency warning advised prior to Super Tuesday. Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 election has already revealed how this could happen: social media disinformation, email hacking and probing of voter registration systems. The threats to the 2020 election may be even more insidious.

  • Judge Rebukes Barr’s Handling of Mueller Report

    U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton Thursday sharply criticized the way Attorney General William Barr handled the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, saying Barr had made “misleading public statements” to spin the investigation’s findings in favor of President Donald Trump. AP reports that the scolding from the judge was unusually blunt, with the judge saying that “he struggled to reconcile Barr’s public characterizations of the report — which included his statement that Mueller found ‘no collusion’ between the Trump campaign and Russia — with what the document actually said.”

  • No Foreign Meddling in Super Tuesday Primaries: U.S. Officials

    U.S. voters who headed to the polls to cast ballots in Super Tuesday primaries encountered scattered problems, some causing long lines or delays, but nothing that could be attributed to foreign interference, U.S. officials said. As a precaution, U.S. security and intelligence officials warned voters Monday to expect foreign actors to try to sway their views as they prepared to vote in key presidential primaries. The U.S. intelligence community, and the exhaustive Mueller investigation, found incontrovertible evidence that Russia engaged in a broad and successful campaign to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. Earlier Tuesday, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told lawmakers that the threat, whether it manifested during Tuesday’s primary elections or during the general election in November, is growing. “We see an ongoing influence campaign by Russia,” he said, adding “We would not be surprised if other adversaries are not also looking at what they’re doing.”

  • Understanding Russian Subversion

    Since 2014, Russia has undertaken a wide range of subversive activities intended to influence the domestic politics of the United States, its partners, and its allies. A new RAND study synthesizes previous work, discussing what Russian subversion is and the capabilities Russia uses to undertake it today.

  • If We Build It (They Will Break In)

    Attorney General William Barr has staked his ground in the long-running debate over law enforcement access to encrypted communications. Last fall, Barr criticized end-to-end encryption as “enabling dangerous criminals to cloak their communications and activities behind an essentially impenetrable digital shield.” As the debate continues, commentators and policymakers often overlook a historical example of the problems with law enforcement access.