• CybersecurityCybersecurity expert: Iranian hacking is a “coordinated, probably military, endeavor”

    On the heels of a report this week documenting Iran’s increasingly aggressive hacking attacks around the globe, a cybersecurity expert assessed that the advanced nature of the attacks suggests a “coordinated, probably military, endeavor.” A report released this week, by FireEye, a cybersecurity firm, noticed increased and increasingly advanced cyber-espionage efforts by groups that have been tied to Iran, and to the nation’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

  • TerrorismSuspect held in NYC attempted terrorist attack

    A 27-year old Bangladeshi immigrant who lived in Brooklyn was detained by the police Monday morning after detonating an explosive device in the New York City subway tunnel during the morning commute. The suspect, Akayed Ullah, was injured in the 7:20 a.m. attempted attack, as were three passers-by. The explosion occurred in a passageway near 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, in midtown Manhattan near Times Square. The injuries were not life-threatening.

  • WMDDHS establishes the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office

    Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen last week announced the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. DHS says that the CWMD Office will elevate and streamline DHS efforts to prevent terrorists and other national security threat actors from using harmful agents, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material and devices to harm Americans and U.S. interests.

  • Hemispheric securityFormer Argentinian president ordered arrested for covering up Iran’s role in terror attack

    An Argentinian judge on Thursday ordered the arrest of the country’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of covering up Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing at the Buenos Aires Jewish center that killed 85 people and wounded 300. The former president, who now serves as a senator, is accused of signing a 2012 deal with Iran that would have allowed senior Iranian officials implicated in the attack to be investigated in their own country, rather than in Argentina.

  • The Russia connectionLawmakers request additional documents from DHS re: Kaspersky investigation

    U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter Tuesday to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requesting documents and information related to the DHS directive to all government agencies to identify and remove Kaspersky Lab software from their computer systems.

  • Border securityWith border arrests down, some question Trump administration's push for more agents

    By Julián Aguilar

    The Department of Homeland Security’s announced this week a near-record decline in the number of people caught trying to enter the country illegally. Yet the Trump administration still wants to hire thousands of more border agents.

  • GunsAnalyzing recent research on causes of gun violence

    In 2015, over 36,000 people died from gunfire in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with roughly two-thirds of those deaths being classified as suicide. America’s gun-murder rate is 25 times that of the other high-income nations, and the gun-suicide rate is eight times as high. Despite these numbers, the last extensive analysis of research into the origins of gun violence, conducted in 2004, was inconclusive. Consensus is growing in recent research evaluating the impact of right-to-carry concealed handgun laws, showing that they increase violent crime, despite what older research says.

  • TerrorismThe Manchester bombing: unknown unknowns and “hindsight bias”

    By Dan Lomas

    The May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing could have been prevented, a report by the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has revealed. David Anderson QC’s report suggests there were opportunities to reopen the case, raising the possibility the attack could have been stopped. Newspaper headlines, however, are misleading, neglecting the nuance in Anderson’s report that the decision to ignore or misinterpret the intelligence on Abedi was “understandable” in the circumstances, overlooking the complex nature of counter-terror investigations. So, could the Manchester bombing really have been prevented?

  • InfrastructureTransportation, water infrastructure funding, finance in U.S. not as dire as some believe

    Transportation and water infrastructure funding and finance in the United States are not nearly as dire as some believe, but a national consensus on infrastructure priorities, accompanied by targeted spending and selected policy changes, is needed, according to a new study.

  • SurveillanceGermany considering requiring home, car alarm systems to be equipped with back doors

    The German government will next week discuss sweeping new surveillance powers aimed to improve public safety. The proposal to be discussed would require operators of car and house alarm systems to help police and security services in their efforts to spy on potential terrorists or criminals.

  • IranU.S. National Security Adviser McMaster: 80 percent of pro-Assad forces in Syria are Iranian proxies

    Speaking at the 2017 Reagan National Defense Forum in California, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster said that “about 80 percent of Assad fighters are Iranian proxies in Syria to establish a land bridge over into the Mediterranean,” as he warned of the “prospect of Iran having a proxy army on the borders of Israel.” McMaster stated, “What the Iranians have done across the Middle East is fuel and accelerate cycles of violence so that they can take advantage of chaos and weak states to make them dependent on Iran for support.”

  • Religious violenceWhy the president’s anti-Muslim tweets could increase tensions

    By Michael Pasek and Jonathan Cook

    Last week, President Trump retweeted to his nearly 44 million followers a series of videos purporting to show Muslims assaulting people and destroying Christian statues. These videos, originally shared by an extremist anti-Muslim group in the U.K., were shown to be inaccurate and misleading. Our research may shed light on why President Trump shared anti-Muslim videos with his followers. As the White House press secretary said, his decision was a direct response to a perceived threat posed by Muslims. However, religious threat is not a one-way street. Attacking Muslims is not likely to stop religious conflict, but instead increase religious tension by fostering a spiraling tit-for-tat of religious threat and prejudice that increases in severity over time. This type of cyclical process has long been documented by scholars. If people who feel discriminated against because of their religion retaliate by discriminating against other religions, religious intolerance is only going to snowball. If President Trump really wants to stop religious violence, social psychology suggests he should refrain from it himself.

  • The Russia connectionU.K. government agencies told to remove Kaspersky software from their systems

    In another example of a Western government taking decisive action to limit the ability of Russian government hackers to steal sensitive information, The U.K. cyber security agency on Friday has advised U.K. government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab’s products from their systems.

  • Synthetic biologyThe Gene Drive Files: Who is in charge of bioengineering research?

    Synthetic biology, also called “gene drives” or “bioengineering” – a field that uses technologies to modify or create organisms or biological components – can be used to benefit mankind, but may also be used by terrorists and nation-states to develop design pathogens which could be unleased to kill tens of millions of people. Critics of gene drives are alarmed by the fact that the U.S. military has been the main funder of synthetic biology research in the United States. Given the possible security vulnerabilities related to gene drives developments, a new report by the National Academies of Sciences proposes a framework to identify and prioritize potential areas of concern associated with the field. “While biotechnology is being pursued primarily for beneficial and legitimate purposes, there are potential uses that are detrimental to humans, other species, and ecosystems,” says one of the report’s authors. A nonprofit monitoring synthetic biology research releases new documents ahead of a key UN scientific conference on bioengineering.

  • PrivacyCourt recognizes first amendment right to anonymity even after speakers lose lawsuits

    By Aaron Mackey

    Anonymous online speakers may be able to keep their identities secret even after they lose lawsuits brought against them, a federal appellate court ruled last week. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Signature Management Team, LLC v. John Doe is a victory for online speakers because it recognized that the First Amendment’s protections for anonymous speech do not end once a party suing the anonymous speaker prevails. The ruling, however, is not all good news for anonymous speech. The test announced by the court sets unmasking as the default rule post-judgment, placing the burden on the anonymous party to argue against unmasking.