• Subtle visual cues in online forums nudge users to reveal more than they would like

    Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but icons may be even more powerful in nudging people to disclose more information online, according to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers. In a study, researchers found that people using an online sexual health forum featuring computer graphics, called icons, that implied a sense of crowd size and connectivity, revealed more sensitive information than visitors to a site without those visual cues.

  • New Australian law would compel tech firms to hand over encrypted data

    Australia’s parliament earlier today (Thursday) passed a controversial measure which will force tech firms to give police access to the encrypted communications of suspected terrorists and criminals. The law, fiercely opposed by big tech firms, has engendered heated debate over national security and privacy at a time law enforcement agencies are struggling with how to access encrypted information to monitor illegal activities. The passage of the law may have global implications for encrypted communications. Critics say the law may unleash unintended consequences.

  • Hezbollah’s goal with tunnel threat was to cut off northern city of Metulla, start war

    The terror tunnels that extend from Lebanon into Israel by Hezbollah were part of the Iranian-backed terrorist group’s strategy to cut off the northern Israeli city of Metulla and start a war, a senior IDF officer said. According to the officer from Israel’s Northern Command, Hezbollah planned to use the tunnels to send forces into Israel and block the entrance to Route 90, cutting Metulla off from the rest of Israel that lies to its south.

  • White nationalist groups are really street gangs, and law enforcement needs to treat them that way

    Law enforcement has a classification problem, and it’s making America more dangerous. For the last two decades, local police and the FBI have categorized the criminal activities of white power groups as isolated incidents or hate-related. We believe that’s wrong and leads to a lack of understanding of the power of these groups and the direction they are taking. It also leads to the under-policing of these groups.

  • American terrorists: Why current laws are inadequate for violent extremists at home

    For Americans, and for the U.S. government, terrorism is a foreign-linked threat, not a domestic danger. Groups which perpetrate violent acts at home are regarded as criminal groups, and law enforcement agencies treat and investigate them as such. The “terrorism” label is not used. Jason Blazakis, who for many years ran the office at the State Department in charge of terrorist designations, argues that this distinction needs to be changed. He offers a method for designating domestic terrorist groups, and for putting them on par with foreign-linked terrorists.

  • Israel announces discovery of first Hezbollah terror tunnel, launches Operation Northern Shield

    The Israeli military announced that it had located a terror tunnel, constructed by Hezbollah, that extended 40 meters (131 feet) into Israel, as it launched Operation Northern Shield, a campaign to eliminate the threat of terror tunnels along Israel’s northern border.

  • British spy chief warns Russia against covert activity after nerve-agent attack

    The head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service has warned the Kremlin not to underestimate the West following a nerve-agent attack on a retired double agent in England that he attributed to covert Russian activity. Alex Younger, head of the Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6, made the remarks on December 3 in a rare public speech – saying that Russia is in a state of “perpetual confrontation” with the West.

  • GOP tells FBI that NRCC computers were subject of major cyber hack during 2018 midterms

    The Republican Party has told the FBI that its computer network was the victim of a major cyber hack during the 2018 midterms campaign. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said it believes that thousands of sensitive emails were exposed as a result of the attack.

  • Don’t believe the hype about post-Brexit security threats – on either side

    A no-deal Brexit would leave both the EU and U.K.“at greater risk of terror attacks,” security minister Ben Wallace has warned in a speech in London. He went on to add that threats that “begin in Europe” can “quickly reach the shores of the U.K..” These fears are overblown, as intelligence ties with the U.S. and others are compartmentalized from wider diplomatic and political tensions.

  • Weapons experts: Satellite images confirm Netanyahu’s claims about Iran’s nuclear warehouse

    Satellite images obtained over the summer confirm charges made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September that Iran had a secret nuclear warehouse in Tehran, a team of weapons inspectors wrote in a paper.

  • Reflecting on the past to counter future terrorism

    Warfare in the future will increasingly be about manipulating perceptions, whether by hostile states or non-state actors, according to terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins. The creation of fear and anxiety by terrorists, and foreign meddling in U.S. politics, are components of contemporary conflict. A major challenge facing the U.S. is how to get better at countering foes while strengthening national institutions, and U.S. democracy depends on it, Jenkins said.

  • Complex systems help explain how democracies are destabilized

    Complex systems theory is usually used to study things like the immune system, global climate, ecosystems, transportation or communications systems. But with global politics becoming more unpredictable – highlighted by the U.K.’s vote for Brexit and the presidential elections of Donald Trump in the United States and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil – it is being used to examine the stability of democracies. “There is little work on the circumstances under which instability of democracy might happen. So, we lack the theory to show us how a democracy destabilizes to the point it is not describable as a democracy anymore,” says a researcher.

  • Findings of European survey on anti-Semitism are “frightening”

    A leading scholar of the Holocaust termed the results of a recent survey of anti-Semitism in Europe “frightening,” CNN reported Tuesday. Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of history at Emory University and author of numerous books on the Holocaust, assessed the results of the poll of more than 7,000 Europeans in seven nations conducted on behalf of CNN.

  • Did Manafort meet Assange?

    Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told. Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when Manafort was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House. It is unclear why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

  • Trump regularly briefed on Manafort-Muller discussions

    A lawyer for Paul Manafort repeatedly briefed President Donald Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators after Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel. This highly unusual arrangement intensified tensions between Trump’s team and the special counsel’s office after prosecutors discovered it. Muller’s office discovered that Manafort’s lawyers were regularly updating the Trump team after Manafort began cooperating with Muller’s office two months ago. Some legal experts speculated that it was an attempt by Manafort to secure a presidential pardon even as he worked with the special counsel in hopes of a lighter sentence.