• MisinformationNew Research Center Will Fight Misinformation

    On 3 December, the University of Washington launched the Center for an Informed Public (CIP). The CIP, an interdisciplinary center housed in UW’s Information School, will use applied research to engage with the public through community partners such as libraries to confront the misinformation epidemic. “If we care about common goals — things like safe communities, justice, equal opportunity — we have to care also about facts, truth and accuracy,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “Misinformation can be weaponized. It has been weaponized to divide us and to weaken us.”

  • School safetyDo Lockdown Drills Do Any Good?

    By Jaclyn Schildkraut

    School lockdown drills and exercises are controversial today, due in large part to some troubling examples making headlines. Parents who fear that these experiences could be traumatizing their children say that rather than reduce the harm caused during mass shootings, dramatic approaches cause harm by amplifying students’ fears about the danger of being shot at school. This raises a good question I seek to answer through my research: Is it possible to be prepared without being scared?

  • ArgumentIs It Time for a U.S. Cyber Academy?

    Cybersecurity is a critical threat to national security. American is one of the most technologically advanced, and technologically dependent, nations on Earth. Gregory Conti writes that our adversaries know and exploit this. “To change the tide, we need to create a service academy dedicated to cybersecurity and cyber operations. This idea isn’t new, but the need is critical,” he writes.

  • Perspective: ExtremismNazi Symbols and Racist Memes: Combating School Intolerance

    The number of Americans between the ages of 15 and 21 who saw extremist content online jumped by about 20 percent, to 70.2 percent from 58.3 percent, between 2013 and 2016, according to a new study. As more such material spills from the web to young people and into classrooms nationwide, educators increasingly find themselves under pressure to combat this new front of hate. Many educators say they feel ill-equipped to recognize what students absorb from the web, much less to address it.

  • CybersecurityUAH to Offer H4Di Cybersecurity Course

    The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) says it will be the first in the state to offer the Hacking for Defense (H4Di) cybersecurity class beginning in spring semester 2020. H4Di teaches students to work with the defense and intelligence communities to rapidly address the nation’s emerging threats and security challenges.

  • CybersecurityNational Labs Host DOE CyberForce Competition

    Five teams of college students will square off at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) on 16 November as part of DOE’s fifth CyberForce Competition. The event, held simultaneously at ten of the DOE’s National Laboratories across the United States, will challenge 105 college teams to defend a simulated energy infrastructure from cyberattacks. The CyberForce Competition is designed to inspire and develop the next generation of energy sector cybersecurity professionals by giving them a chance to hone their skills during interactive and realistic scenarios.

  • CounterintelligenceDOD Recognizes Virginia Tech’s Contribution to Counterintelligence

    DOD’s Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency last month awarded Virginia Tech the 2018 Award for Excellence in Counterintelligence to the university. The award, given annually since 2010, recognizes up to four companies or institutions, out of about 10,000, which exhibit the best counterintelligence results and cooperation to support the U.S. government’s efforts to detect and stop foreign entities from stealing national security information.

  • Considered opinion: Truth decayA College Reading List for the Post-Truth Era

    By Michael T. Nietzel

    “We live in a time beset with belittlement of science, hostility toward expertise and attacks on traditional democratic institutions,” Michael T. Nietzel, president emeritus of Missouri State University, writes. “It’s a post-truth period where conspiracy theories and crackpot ideas flourish. If the facts conflict with someone’s sense of identity or political ideology, then the facts are disposable. They can be replaced with notions that feel better or reverberate on social media.” What is the best way to achieve the goal of making young students less susceptible to dangerous s stupidities and toxic conspiracy theories? Nietzel has a suggestion — although he admits it is increasingly rare as an academic expectation: serious reading. He offers seven recent books which champion reason over emotion, distinguish facts from fallacies, and enumerate the dangers of ignoring the truth.

  • Perspective: School shootingsU.S. School Spends $48 Million on Curved Corridors and Hiding Places to Foil Mass Shooters

    A school in the United States has spent $48 million redesigning its buildings with curved corridors, hiding places, and cement barriers in a bid to thwart mass shooters. The project at Fruitport High School in Michigan is aimed at reducing casualties in the event of an attack by hampering the sight lines available to a gunman in corridors. Cement barriers are being installed in hallways for pupils and teachers to take cover. Classroom windows looking on to hallways are being covered with impact-resistant film. Each classroom will also have a corner, called a “shadow zone,” that is not visible from the hallway.

  • VisasForeign-Born PhDs Deterred from Working in Startups Because of Visa Concerns

    Foreign-born Ph.D. graduates with science and engineering degrees from American universities apply to and receive offers for technology startup jobs at the same rate as U.S. citizens, but are only half as likely to actually work at fledgling companies, a study finds.

  • Perspective: RansomwareHackers’ Latest Target: School Districts

    Some hackers demand ransom; others sweep up personal data for sale to identity thieves. But whatever hackers’ motives, school systems around the country have been the targets of their cyberattacks. Nearly two-thirds of school districts in the United States serve fewer than 2,500 students, and many do not have a staff member dedicated solely to cybersecurity.

  • CounterterrorismDHS S&T announces $35M Funding for Terrorism Prevention, Counterterrorism Research

    The rapidly evolving, diverse terrorist threat continually exploits technological advances to adapt the nature and expand the reach of its tactics. DHS S&T announces $35 million funding opportunity for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR). TPCR will support academic-led innovation that supports DHS in staying a step ahead of emerging terrorist tactics.

  • PerspectiveThe U.S. needs an industrial policy for cybersecurity

    Industrial policies are appropriate when market failures have led to the under-provision of a good or service. The cybersecurity industry’s growth has been held back for several reasons, including intractable labor shortages. Vinod K. Aggarwal and Andrew W. Reddie write in Defense One that both the United States and United Kingdom suffer from a documented shortage of skilled programmers and computer scientists working on cybersecurity issues, and the U.S. alone is projected to have a shortage of 1.2 million professionals by 2022, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The market has also been hindered by so-called “information problems,” as firms are often not aware of their own vulnerabilities and avoid sharing information about data breaches given the reputation costs associated with disclosure. So what can the government do about it?

  • Truth decayFinnish students outperform U.S. students on “fake news” digital literacy tasks

    A recent study revealed students at an international school in Finland significantly outperformed U.S. students on tasks which measure digital literacy in social media and online news. The researchers suggest this may be due to the Finnish and International Baccalaureate curricula’s different way of facilitating students’ critical thinking skills compared to the U.S. system and curriculum.

  • School safetyHow Columbine became a blueprint for school shooters

    By Jillian Peterson

    When twelve students and one teacher were killed in Littleton, Colorado twenty years ago, it not only became what at the time was the worst high school shooting in U.S. history. It also marked when American society was first handed a script for a new form of violence in schools. Since the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School, we identified six mass shootings and forty active shooter incidents at elementary, middle or high schools in the United States. In twenty – or nearly half – of those forty-six school shootings, the perpetrator purposely used Columbine as a model.