• Intel processor vulnerability could expose millions of PCs at risk

    A newly discovered processor vulnerability could potentially put secure information at risk in any Intel-based PC manufactured since 2008. It could affect users who rely on a digital lockbox feature known as Intel Software Guard Extensions, or SGX, as well as those who utilize common cloud-based services, a new report says.

  • New bill to help protect security of U.S. elections

    On Friday, four members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) introduced the Secure Elections Act, which would provide local communities and state governments with the resources needed to strengthen election systems against cyberattacks. “Hostile foreign actors have attempted and will continue to attempt to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy by attacking our electoral process,” said Representative Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina), one of the bill’s sponsors. “It is our responsibility to take every precaution necessary to safeguard our elections and ensure no vote count is ever interfered with.

  • Fake news is not just bad news: It is bad for the bottom line, too

    Note to Mark Zuckerberg: Beware of misinformation. Research makes a case that misinformation is a business risk for social media platforms, and proposes informational methods to alleviate the phenomenon of “fake news.” The research also suggests that Facebook users who help expose falsehoods should be compensated.

  • Hacked satellite could launch microwave-like attacks

    The satellite communications which ships, planes, and the military use to connect to the internet are vulnerable to hackers which, in the worst-case scenario, could carry out “cyber-physical attacks,” turning satellite antennas into weapons which operate, in effect, like microwave ovens. An expert speaking at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, said that a number of popular satellite communication systems are vulnerable to such attacks, which could also leak information and hack connected devices.

  • Closing security hole in popular encryption software

    Cybersecurity researchers have helped close a security vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to steal encryption keys from a popular security package by briefly listening in on unintended “side channel” signals from smartphones.

  • EU develops legislation to tackle online terrorism-promoting content

    The EU is planning to take legal measures to control online content which supports and promotes terrorism. The EU Security Commissioner, Julian King, said voluntary agreements, which are currently in place, had not provided European citizens enough protection against exposure to terrorist-promoting content.

  • We researched Russian trolls and figured out exactly how they neutralize certain news

    Russian “troll factories” have been making headlines for some time. First, as the Kremlin’s digital guardians in the Russian blogosphere. Then, as subversive cyber-squads meddling with U.S. elections. A few statistical analyses of large samples of trolling posts also show that institutionalized political trolling and the use of bots have become a consolidated practice that significantly affect the online public sphere. What has been shrouded in mystery so far, however, is how institutionalized, industrialized political trolling works on a daily basis. We have also lacked a proper understanding of how it affects the state’s relations with society generally, and security processes in particular.

  • Curbing fake news

    Falsified information, in the form of provoking and doctored content, can travel over these platforms unmonitored. Well-crafted content is potent enough for opinion engineering. The problem is more worrisome for mature economies, which are likely to consume more convincing fake news content than real correct information by 2022, as per a Gartner research. As the interest in fake news and other illicit content grows, their implications for society and the individual in turn are grim. In the quest of finding an immediate solution to this, social media giants are experimenting with Artificial Intelligence (AI), which for decades has been used to curb spam emails.

  • Urban water services vulnerable to attacks using a botnet of smart commercial irrigation systems

    Cybersecurity researchers warn of a potential distributed attack against urban water services which uses a botnet of smart irrigation systems. The researchers analyzed and found vulnerabilities in a number of commercial smart irrigation systems, which enable attackers to remotely turn watering systems on and off at will. Botnet attacks can also empty an urban water tower in an hour, and empty flood water reservoir overnight.

  • Serious vulnerabilities discovered in WhatsApp, allowing fake attribution, message manipulation

    WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging application, has more than 1.5 billion users with more than one billion groups and 65 billion messages sent every day. With so much chatter, the potential for online scams, unfounded rumors, and fake news is huge. Cybersecurity firm Check Point Research says that it does not help if threat actors have an additional weapon in their arsenal to use the platform for their malicious intentions.

  • Maryland lawmakers question Russian investment in election technology

    Two lawmakers, Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking that he instruct the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.(CFIUS), which he chairs, to review a Russian oligarch’s financial stake in ByteGrid, a web hosting company which hosts much of Maryland’s election systems. “ByteGrid hosts Maryland’s voter registration system, candidacy and election management system, online ballot delivery system, and unofficial election night results website. Access to these systems could provide a foreign person with ties to a foreign government with information that could be used for intelligence or other purposes adverse to U.S. interests,” the two senators write.

  • As Russians hack the U.S. grid, a look at what’s needed to protect it

    The U.S. electricity grid is hard to defend because of its enormous size and heavy dependency on digital communication and computerized control software. The number of potential targets is growing as “internet of things” devices, such as smart meters, solar arrays and household batteries, connect to smart grid systems. In late 2015 and again in 2016, Russian hackers shut down parts of Ukraine’s power grid. In March 2018, federal officials warned that Russians had penetrated the computers of multiple U.S. electric utilities and were able to gain access to critical control systems. Four months later, the Wall Street Journal reported that the hackers’ access had included privileges that were sufficient to cause power outages. It’s important for electric utilities, grid operators and vendors to remain vigilant and deploy multiple layers of defense.

  • A Mueller-like criminal investigation into Russia’s meddling in U.K. politics needed: MP

    British lawmaker calls for launching a criminal investigation in the U.K., modelled after the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the United States, to explore the reach and extent of Russia’s efforts to interfere in British democracy. Damian Collins, a Conservative MP, said that only a police investigation, with the power to seize documents and subpoena witnesses, could ascertain the scope of any Kremlin-orchestrated campaign to influence the 2016 referendum over Britain’s membership in the EU. Such an investigation, he said, would also ensure that future elections were protected from attack by foreign powers.

  • Making phrase-based passwords more user friendly for better online security

    Although passphrases, or phrase-based passwords, have been found to be more secure than traditional passwords, human factors issues such as typographical errors and memorability have slowed their wider adoption. Researchers have developed and tested two new passphrase systems that seek to address these shortcomings and improve the usability and security of existing passphrase authentication systems.

  • Toward a more secure electrical grid

    Not long ago, getting a virus was about the worst thing computer users could expect in terms of system vulnerability. But in our current age of hyper-connectedness and the emerging Internet of Things, that’s no longer the case. With connectivity, a new principle has emerged, one of universal concern to those who work in the area of systems control. That law says, essentially, that the more complex and connected a system is, the more susceptible it is to disruptive cyber-attacks.