• Crime fightingDHS funds national consortium to develop better methods for fighting criminal activity

    The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been named a priority partner in a new DHS-funded national consortium. SHS S&T S&T) will award the consortium a $3.85 million grant for its first operating year in a 10-year grant period to create the Center of Excellence for Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA). The center’s research will focus on criminal network analysis, dynamic patterns of criminal activity, forensics, and criminal investigative processes.

  • The Russian connectionRussia’s broad cyber campaign to undermine Western democracies

    Russia was successful in its disinformation and hacking campaign to help Donald Trump win the November 2016 U.S. presidential election, but the Alliance for Securing Democracy notes that the Russian subversion of the U.S. electoral process was only one of many such attempts, and that it offers an example for the challenges global democracy faces. Russia has interfered in the affairs of at least twenty-seven European and North American countries since 2004, using cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns to subvert and undermine the political systems of these countries.

  • CybersecurityU.S. government’s cybersecurity readiness lagging compared to almost every other industry

    SecurityScorecard the other day released its annual U.S. State and Federal Government Cybersecurity Report. The study paints a grim picture of the overall cyber health of the U.S. government entities. In the midst of investigations into a potential 2016 election hacking, regular major malware events, and an overall increase in the number of sophisticated cyberattacks, the report highlights that the government sector is lagging compared to almost every other industry. The state of U.S. government cyber health places mission-critical services and infrastructure at risk.

  • Presidential war powersThe gift Bush and Obama gave Trump: Expanded war-making powers

    Thanks to the military interventions by the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, the former presidents have effectively expanded executive authority for Donald Trump to go to war, a new study says. The study of U.S. military interventions between 2001 and 2016 found considerable similarities in the way Bush and Obama navigated around consultation and authorization protocols with Congress and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

  • CybersecurityApplied cybersecurity research for better protection of critical national infrastructure sectors

    DHS S&T awarded a five-year Other Transaction Agreement (OTA), with a maximum value of $70 million, to Arlington, Virginia-based Cyber Apex Solutions, LLC, to facilitate applied research of prototype cyberdefenses for critical national infrastructure sectors.

  • CybersecurityBug-bounty program to strengthen DHS cyber defenses

    Congress is considering a bill would establish a bug bounty pilot program – modeled off of similar programs at the Department of Defense and major tech companies – in order to strengthen cyber defenses at DHS by utilizing “white-hat” or ethical hackers to help identify unique and undiscovered vulnerabilities in the DHS networks and data systems.

  • DHSOffering Sheriff David Clarke a position at DHS “is not only dangerous but highly shameful”: ADL

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed deep concern over reports that Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is likely being considered for an appointment as an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).“The fact that Sheriff Clarke may be assuming a key role at DHS is not only dangerous but highly shameful,” ADL said. “An individual representing such extremist ideologies should not be given this type of leadership role and we urge the Trump administration not to go forward with this appointment.”

  • CybersecurityDHS S&T’s Transition to Practice program unveils 2017 cohort

    Eight new cybersecurity technologies developed by researchers at federally funded laboratories and academic research centers are ready for the commercial market. DHS S&T’s Transition to Practice (TTP) program will showcase its 2017 cohort 16 May in Washington. D.C.

  • CybersecurityNew executive order on cybersecurity highlights need for deterrence, protection of key industries

    By Frank J. Cilluffo and Sharon L. Cardash

    President Trump’s new executive order on cybersecurity for federal computer networks and key elements of the country’s infrastructure – such as the electricity grid and core communications networks – builds meaningfully on the work of the Obama administration. Cybersecurity is ultimately an exercise in risk management. Given the range of possible threats and the pace at which they may appear, it is impossible to protect everything, everywhere, all the time. But it is possible to make sure that the most valuable resources (such as particular networks and systems, or specific data) are properly protected by, at minimum, good cyber-hygiene – and ideally, more. Overall, the order is a solid document, with guidance that is both measured and clear. Key to its success – and ultimately to the country’s security in cyberspace – will be the relationship the government builds with private industry. Protecting the country won’t be possible without both groups working in tandem.

  • CybersecurityCyber Security R&D Showcase coming in July

    The 2017 Cyber Security R&D Showcase and Technical Workshop is scheduled for 11-13 July at Washington, D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel. In all, fifteen research areas will be featured: mobile security, cyber-physical system security, software assurance, data privacy, identity management, distributed denial of service defense, next generation cyber infrastructure, technology transition, cyber risk economics, cybersecurity research infrastructure, modeling of internet attacks, support for law enforcement, moving-target defense, cloud security and insider threats. During the conference, attendees can choose from more than 115 technical presentations representing a combined $250 million of federally funded R&D.

  • Border securityEfforts to prevent alternative methods of border crossing need better monitoring: GAO

    As DHS has increased the security of overland smuggling routes, transnational criminal organizations have adapted their techniques to smuggle drugs and humans through alternative methods. These methods include cross-border tunnels, ultralight aircraft, panga boats, and recreational maritime vessels. GAO says that while these methods account for a small proportion of known smuggling, they can be used to transport significant quantities of drugs or for terrorist activity.

  • European extremistsGerman populist, far-right party fails to bar scholar from criticizing it

    A court in Dresden, Germany, earlier today (Friday) dismissed a law suit against Steffen Kailitz, a well-known political scientist, bringing to an end months of legal skirmish over comments he made about the populist, far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). NPD officials had asked the court to issue an injunction to block Kailitz from saying that the party planned racially motivated crimes against the state.” Kailitz, in an article last April, also wrote that the NPD wants to “expel 8 to 11 million people from Germany, including several million German nationals with immigrant backgrounds.”

  • Water securityWhy farmers and ranchers think the EPA Clean Water Rule goes too far

    By Reagan Waskom and David J. Cooper

    President Trump issued an executive order 28 February directing federal agencies to revise the Clean Water Rule, a major regulation published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015. Framers and ranchers are particularly worried that the Clean Water Rule could expand federal regulations that impact their private property rights. However, regulatory agencies and the regulated community need to know the limits of the Clean Water Act’s reach so they can take appropriate measures to protect water resources. If the rule is scrapped, we still will need to know which water bodies require protection under the law. If the Trump administration withdraws or weakens the Clean Water Rule, it is likely to leave regulators interpreting case by case whether tributaries and adjacent waters are covered, as they have been doing since 2006, and land and water owners guessing about what they can do with their resources. So in the end, repealing the rule won’t answer the underlying question: how far upstream federal protection extends.

  • PrivacyTech coalition fights DHS proposal to collect social media passwords

    Earlier this week, the Center for Democracy & Technology announced the creation of a coalition of tech companies, NGOs, and privacy advocates to oppose efforts by DHS to collect social media passwords from individuals entering the United States. The coalition focuses on visa applicants who might be compelled to share their passwords under new DHS policies.

  • National securityMichael Flynn's top aide fired from NSC after security clearance is denied

    A top aide to Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, was on Friday fired from his position as senior director for Africa at the National Security Council (NSC) after the CIA rejected his application for a high-level security clearance. Flynn himself is in hot water for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about discussions he — Flynn — had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on 29 December, in which he told the Russian ambassador not to worry about the sanctions the Obama administration had imposed on Russia that same day for its cyber-meddling in the presidential election, because Trump, after being sworn in, would lift these sanctions – as well as the sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea and invading Ukraine.