• Experts: “Russian public media spread Catalan pro-independence propaganda”

    A year ago, a British parliament committee – the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee – began an investigation into fake news, exploring evidence that media outlets with ties to the Russian government have tried to destabilize the EU and NATO by disseminating disinformation. The members of the committee – five from the Conservative Party, five from the Labor Party, and one from the Scottish National Party – have already taken evidence from dozens of experts, scholars, and journalists on the subject of fake news. The experts appearing before the committee noted that there have been a similar pattern between Russian government’s interference and meddling activities with the Brexit referendum campaign, and Russian meddling activities pushing for Catalan independence.

  • Gaps in FDA food recall process

    A new report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was lacking when it came to following food recall protocols. Timeliness, or lack thereof, was the theme of the HHS’s report.

  • Aussies tipped FBI to Russia’s meddling; the latest 2018 election-hacking threat; Putin’s political provocateurs, and more

    · Report: ex-Trump aide told Australians of Russian “dirt” on Clinton

    · Book review: In “Collusion,” Guardian reporter makes case for Russian manipulation of Trump

    · Putin’s political provocateurs: “Meddling” created blueprint for 21st-century subversion

    · “Whoever controls cyberspace will control the world”: Russian hackers waging cyber war on Ukraine “training” for Western targets

    · What we learned about Trump, Russia, and collusion in 2017

    · The latest 2018 election-hacking threat: 9-month wait for government help

    · Should we believe a Russian hacker who claims he hit the DNC for a rogue operative in the FSB?

    · What Russian journalists uncovered about Russian election meddling

    · Forgetting the past: The U.S. response to Russian disinformation

    · Pressure builds to improve election cybersecurity

  • Terrorism: Numbers, trends, outlook

    This is the end of 2017, but the complete, authoritative numbers relating to terrorism in 2016 are finally in. These numbers show that for the second year in a row, the total number of deaths caused by terrorism has declined. The reduction in deaths is encouraging, but despite this 2016 was the third deadliest year since 2000. While the intensity of terrorism in many countries has decreased, it continues to spread to an increasing number of countries.

  • Redneck Revolt says it aims to protect minorities, promote social justice -- with guns

    A far-left militant group calling itself the Redneck Revolt says it aims to put “the red back in redneck” – “red” as in communist red – and use aggressive tactics to promote social justice and protects minorities. Armed members of Redneck Revolt can often be seen providing protection to minority groups such as Black Lives Matter and to other left-leaning groups conducting marches and demonstrations. Redneck Revolt insists that the group should not be compared to another leftist militant group — the Anti-fa group. Members of Redneck Revolt explain the difference as mainly one of tactics: Anti-fa are willing to engage in property destruction, cover their faces in “black bloc,” and occasionally punch Nazis on the street. “We don’t do that,” a member of Redneck Revolt said firmly. “We do everything within the law.”

  • For the first time, an Argentinian judge rules Nisman was murdered

    For the first time, an Argentinian judge ruled that Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor investigating Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires and the agreement made by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with Iran, was murdered. Judge Julián Ercolini’s ruling comes in the same month that Kirchner, former foreign minister Hector Timerman, and several of Kirchner’s colleagues were indicted for treason over Nisman’s allegations that her and her team covered up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing.

  • Three new war crimes recognized by ICC

    On Thursday 14 December, in New York, the Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) added three new war crimes to the Rome Statute: the use of biological and toxin weapons; the use of weapons causing injuries by fragments which in the human body escape detection by X-rays; and the use of laser weapons causing permanent blindness.

  • Hackers can guess your phone PIN using its sensor data

    Instruments in smart phones such as the accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensors represent a potential security vulnerability, according to researchers. Using a combination of information gathered from six different sensors found in smart phones and state-of-the-art machine learning and deep learning algorithms, the researchers succeeded in unlocking Android smart phones with a 99.5 per cent accuracy within only three tries, when tackling a phone that had one of the 50 most common PIN numbers

  • Lawmakers from states targeted by Russian hackers urge action to protect U.S. elections

    Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) the other day, along with members of Congress from 18 of the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016, called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to take immediate action to protect state voting systems from cyberattacks and to bolster state election infrastructure.

  • New simulator tool allows testing the explosive vulnerabilities of aircraft

    Each day, more than twenty-six thousand commercial flights transport passengers and cargo to destinations around the world. S&T’s Commercial Aircraft Vulnerability and Mitigation (CAVM) program supports testing and evaluation efforts to assess potential vulnerabilities and evaluate countermeasures that can mitigate the impact of explosives on commercial aircraft. Newer generations of commercial aircraft fuselages are being made with composite materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic, so CAVM needs to develop a sustainable and representative testing solution in order to all evaluations of new composite aircraft structures to explosive-based threats could continue as needed.

  • U.S. ends 3-year ban on research involving enhanced-lethality viruses

    The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) yesterday announced it was ending its three-year moratorium on funding of gain-of-function research, that is, research which aims to make extremely dangerous viruses even more dangerous in order to find a vaccine or cure for them. The U.S. government instituted the ban in 2014, against the backdrop of rising worries that these “gain-of-function” studies would allow scientists to increase the ability of the infectious disease to spread by enhancing its pathogenicity, or its ability to cause disease. Scientists who supported continuing research involving enhancing the transmissibility of infectious disease were not helped by a series of safety mishaps at federal research facilities.

  • FAA declares seven nuclear research facilities no-drone zones

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a request from the Department of Energy (DOE) to declare seven DOE’s nuclear research facilities no-drone zones. Starting 29 December, drone operators would not be allowed to fly their UAVs within 400 feet of these facilities: The FAA said it is currently considering more “no-drone zone” requests from federal agencies.

  • South Florida faces increasing inland flood threat

    As South Florida raises groundwater levels to fight saltwater intrusion, the threat of inland flooding will only increase, according to newly published research results. Although high groundwater levels in South Florida are a major contributor to inland floods, especially during the wet season or extreme rain events, traditional flood models don’t account for the groundwater beneath our feet, scientists have found.

  • New counter-terror rules give GPs bizarre incentives to refer mental health patients as radicalization threat

    Mental health trusts in England are now to play a vital role in processing the huge number of citizens referred under the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as Prevent. A new policy announced in November by the Home Office means urgent psychiatric care will now be provided by mental health trusts to those people with psychological problems who are referred to Prevent. But this will remove them from a pipeline of support under a program called Channel, aimed at those suspected of radicalizing. No one could possibly object to the provision of mental health care to those in need. But on deeper inspection, the integration of mental health trusts within the Prevent strategy reveals profound confusion within counter-terrorism policies. And the move could give health professionals perverse incentives to actually refer patients with mental health needs to Prevent – because they think it might get them help quicker.

  • Obama administration ended program targeting Hezbollah drug smuggling to secure nuke deal with Iran

    The Obama administration obstructed a campaign by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to monitor and prosecute Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, in order to solidify the 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic, according to a news report. The campaign, called Project Cassandra, launched in 2008, was aimed at disrupting Hezbollah’s weapons and drug trafficking practices, which included smuggling cocaine into the United States. Over the years, the Lebanese-based terror organization had morphed from a Middle East-focused military and political group into an international crime syndicate.