• U.S. social media strategy can use Twitter more effectively to weaken ISIS influence

    Opponents of ISIS and Syria are six times greater in number on Twitter than ISIS supporters, but those sympathetic to the group are more active on the social media platform, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The researchers, analyzing more than twenty-three million tweets posted in Arabic over a 10-month period, found that, on average, supporters of ISIS produce 50 percent more tweets than opponents on a typical day, although there is evidence that ISIS opponents are increasing their activity.

  • DHS S&T awards $1.3 million to small businesses for cybersecurity R&D

    DHS S&T has awarded $1.3 million to thirteen small businesses for the development of new cyber security technology. Each business was awarded approximately $100,000 in preliminary funding through the DHS S&T Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The SBIR proposal solicitation, released in December 2015, included four topics developed by Cyber Security Division program managers.

  • Germany to search refugees' phones to establish identity, spot suspicious connections

    German interior minister Thomas de Maizière will next week announce a new German anti-terror steps, which, among other things, will require refugees and asylum-seekers arriving in Germany without a passport to surrender their smartphones – and all the passwords and security pin numbers associated with the phones – so German security agencies could check the owners’ social media accounts. The security services in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands already routinely examine refugees’ mobile phones to establish a refugee’s identity.

  • New hacking technique stealthily changes memory of virtual servers

    For the first time ever a team of Dutch hacking experts managed to alter the memory of virtual machines in the cloud without a software bug, using a new attack technique. With this technique an attacker can crack the keys of secured virtual machines or install malware without it being noticed.

  • Sophisticated espionage platform covertly extracts encrypted government communications

    Kaspersky Lab announced the other day that its researchers have discovered what they described as a “nation-state threat actor” — named ProjectSauron — who was targeting state organizations. “The cost, complexity, persistence, and ultimate goal of the operation, stealing confidential and secret information from state-sensitive organizations, suggest the involvement or support of a nation state,” Kaspersky Lab says. ProjectSauron “gives the impression of being an experienced and traditional actor who has put considerable effort into learning from other extremely advanced actors,” and “ adopting some of their most innovative techniques and improving on their tactics in order to remain undiscovered.”

  • Android apps can secretly track users’ whereabouts

    Three years ago, the FTC dimmed hopes for the Brightest Flashlight app for Android, slapping its developer with charges of consumer deception, because the app was transmitting users’ locations and device IDs to third parties without telling the users or getting their permission. Permissions, though, are only a small part of the Android-app privacy story. New research shows that Android apps can be manipulated to reach inside your mobile phone to track your whereabouts and traffic patterns, all without your knowledge or consent.

  • Serious security threat to many Internet users identified

    Researchers have identified a weakness in the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) of all Linux operating systems since late 2012 that enables attackers to hijack users’ Internet communications completely remotely. Such a weakness could be used to launch targeted attacks that track users’ online activity, forcibly terminate a communication, hijack a conversation between hosts, or degrade the privacy guarantee by anonymity networks such as Tor.

  • If two countries waged cyber war on each another, here’s what to expect

    Imagine you woke up to discover a massive cyberattack on your country. All government data has been destroyed, taking out healthcare records, birth certificates, social care records and so much more. The transport system isn’t working, traffic lights are blank, immigration is in chaos, and all tax records have disappeared. When countries declare war on one another in future, this sort of disaster might be the opportunity the enemy is looking for. Given the current level of international tension and the potential damage from a major cyberattack, this is an area that all countries need to take very seriously. Better to do it now rather than waiting until one country pays the price. For better and worse, the world has never been so connected.

  • Dominating cyberspace through advanced network security, capabilities

    As the cyber domain continues to expand, the U.S. military and government have begun to place greater emphasis on cyber operations. As cyber operations have increased, the need for enhanced monitoring, security, and access technologies to promote advanced cyberspace operations have increased as well. The Defense Strategies Institute (DSI) has designed a forum in order to promote conversation that seeks to advance network security and cyber capabilities.

  • Fake ATM spotted by DefCon attendees

    One of the curious features at the DefCon 24 even in Las Vegas is a fake ATM in the show’s venue. The fake ATM kiosk was placed in the lobby of the Riviera Hotel Casino sometime before the conference opened. As is appropriate at an event of sharp-eyed cybersecurity specialists and white hackers, the scam was uncovered when people noticed something wrong with the machine.

  • Hacking hotel magnetic-stripe based key cards is easy

    If you travel a lot for business or pleasure, and stay at hotels at the places you visit, you may not like the information presented at the DefCon 24 event in Las Vegas. A security expert will tell the attendees that the magnetic-stripe based key cards guests are given to enter their rooms have major weaknesses which could allow an attacker to modify these cards to enter guests rooms.

  • Live-streaming crime incidents a challenge U.S. privacy law

    In July, the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile went viral on social media. The aftermath of the Castile shooting was first shared via Facebook Live, which is a type of mobile streaming video technology (MSVT) that allows users to stream live video to followers, similar to Periscope and Meerkat. The two incidents focus attention on the legal rights of people to record and live stream and any potential right to be free from being recorded and streamed in public places.

  • Exploring automotive cybersecurity vulnerabilities at Def Con 24

    In 2015, more than 16.5 million vehicles were sold in the United States. The Car Hacking Village helps researchers interested in the safety and security of the more than one billion vehicles on the road around the world. The Car Hacking Village made its debut at the Def Con 23 Conference last year in Las Vegas. This year, the Village returns to Def Con 24 in Vegas on 4 August.

  • U.S. Cyber Challenge hacking competition announces winners

    Last Friday morning, seven teams competed in the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) Capture-the-Flag (CTF) competition at Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City, Utah. After four hours of hacking into systems and answering trivia questions, Team Dragon came out on top.

  • “Our president should be chosen by American citizens, not by foreign adversaries or interests”

    Thirty-one members of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, a bipartisan group of homeland security and counterterrorism experts, last week have issued a statement on the recent Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack. “[T]his is an attack not on one party but on the integrity of American democracy. And it may not be the end of such attacks. It is not unthinkable that those responsible will steal and release more files, and even salt the files they release with plausible forgeries,” members of the group write. “This is unacceptable. Our president should be chosen by American citizens, not by foreign adversaries or interests.”