• Mass shootingsAnxiety surrounding mass shootings closes ideological divides -- briefly

    People who feel anxious surrounding mass shootings tend to abandon their political ideology on typically divided issues, according to a study. Yet policymakers — especially those seeking gun law reforms trying to stem the number of mass shootings — in recent years have largely failed to capitalize on attitudes surrounding this type of anxiety.

  • Truth decayHow to fight information manipulations: 50 recommendations

    French government think tanks have issued 50 recommendations to combat “information manipulations.” The recommendations are part of an exhaustive new study published by the Center for Analysis, Planning and Strategy (CAPS) — attached to the ministry of foreign affairs — and the Institute for Strategic Research of the Military School (IRSEM) — attached to the ministry of the armed forces. It warns that information manipulation, defined as “the intentional and massive distribution of false or biased news for hostile political purposes,” aims to “undermine the foundations of our democracy” and thereby constitute a threat to national security.

     

  • Cloak & daggerName your poison: Exotic toxins fell Kremlin foes

    The suspected poisoning of anti-Kremlin activist Pyotr Verzilov in Moscow — just a few months after nerve-agent poisonings in Britain that led to one death and left three others severely ill — conjures up memories of other Kremlin foes who have fallen victim to toxic attacks in the Vladimir Putin era and previously.

  • The Russia connectionMore evidence dossier did not start Russia investigation

    ABC News’ latest reporting corroborates the now well-known fact: The Christopher Steele’s dossier was not the impetus for the FBI’s Russia investigation.

  • TransportationRevisiting federal safety regulations for liquid petroleum gas distribution systems

    Current federal safety regulations for small distribution systems used for propane and other liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs) should be improved for clarity, efficiency, enforceability, and applicability to risk, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • TerrorismU.S. again names Iran as leading terrorism sponsor

    The United States has once again named Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, accusing it of fueling conflicts and undermining governments throughout the Middle East. An annual survey on global terrorism, released by the State Department on 19 September, said Iran and its proxies are responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in the region.

  • Extremism onlineIdentifying extremists online even before they post dangerous content

    The number and size of online extremist groups using social networks to harass users, recruit new members, and incite violence is rapidly increasing. New research has found a way to identify extremists, such as those associated with the terrorist group ISIS, by monitoring their social media accounts, and can identify them even before they post threatening content.

  • Extremism onlineBroadcasting the reactionary right on YouTube

    A new report presents data from approximately 65 political influencers across 81 channels to identify the “Alternative Influence Network (AIN)”; an alternative media system that adopts the techniques of brand influencers to build audiences and “sell” them political ideology.

  • The Russia connectionSwiss confirm Russians tried to hack lab analyzing Skripal samples

    The Swiss government has confirmed reports that Dutch authorities had arrested and expelled two suspected Russian spies earlier this year after the two allegedly tried to hack a Swiss laboratory that conducts chemical weapons tests. The alleged target was the Spiez Laboratory, which analyzed samples from the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.

  • The Russia connectionBerlin hospital says “highly plausible” Russian activist was poisoned

    German doctors treating Pyotr Verzilov have said that the anti-Kremlin activist was probably poisoned, and a Moscow newspaper reports a possible connection with the killing of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) in July. The developments on September 18 deepened the mystery surrounding the sudden illness of Verzilov, a member of the punk protest band Pussy Riot and the dissident art troupe Voina who was flown to Berlin for treatment three days earlier.

  • African securityU.S.-provided security sector assistance in Africa largely failed

    The United States has sought to combat security threats in Africa – whether terrorism or, in a previous era, communism – principally by providing security sector assistance (SSA) to partner governments on the continent. Two new studies suggest that U.S.-provided SSA in Africa has largely failed to achieve its goals.

  • CybersecurityS&T awards $11.6 million to defend against network, internet disruptions

    Five research organizations were awarded separate contracts totaling $11,511,565 to develop new methods to identify and attribute Network/Internet-scale Disruptive Events (NIDEs), the DHS S&T announced last week.

  • Election securitySecuring Americans’ votes

    To protect the integrity and security of U.S. elections, all local, state, and federal elections should be conducted using human-readable paper ballots by the 2020 presidential election, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences. In addition, every effort should be made to use paper ballots in the 2018 federal election. Ballots that have been marked by voters should not be returned over the Internet or any network connected to it, because no current technology can guarantee their secrecy, security, and verifiability, the report says.

  • The Russia connectionU.K. charges Russians in novichok case, May says “not a rogue operation”

    British prosecutors have announced charges against two Russian men they believe poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a deadly nerve agent, and Prime Minister Theresa May says the government has concluded the suspects were officers of Russia’s military intelligence agency.

  • The Russia connectionTwitter, Facebook face senators again

    The Senate Intelligence Committee is set to hear from two top social media executives today (Wednesday) on what they have been doing to combat the spread of propaganda and disinformation online and how they are prepared to help secure the integrity of upcoming elections. The committee will hear from Twitter Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg – but one chair, reserved for Google cofounder Larry Page, may remain empty. The committee extended the invitation to Google CEO Sundar Pichai as well as Larry Page, who is CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, but the company wanted to send senior vice president Kent Walker instead. The committee made it clear it is not interested in hearing from Walker.