• Energy-efficient encryption for the internet of things

    Most sensitive web transactions are protected by public-key cryptography, a type of encryption that lets computers share information securely without first agreeing on a secret encryption key. Public-key encryption protocols are complicated, and in computer networks, they’re executed by software. But that won’t work in the internet of things, an envisioned network that would connect many different sensors — embedded in vehicles, appliances, civil structures, manufacturing equipment, and even livestock tags — to online servers. Embedded sensors that need to maximize battery life can’t afford the energy and memory space that software execution of encryption protocols would require. Special-purpose chip reduces power consumption of public-key encryption by 99.75 percent, increases speed 500-fold.

  • Russian Tumblr trolls posed as black activists to stoke racial resentment ahead of 2016 U.S. election

    Internet trolls working for the Russian government posed as black activists on Tumblr to share political messages before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, BuzzFeed reports. As was the case with the fake accounts created by Russian government operatives on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the fake Tumblr accounts aimed to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election by spreading messages which stoked racial and ethnic resentment and intensified political polarization. A digital forensic analysis tied the fake Tumblr accounts to the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), a hacking and disinformation organization employed by the Kremlin to disseminate fake news and commentary on social media as part of the broad Kremlin campaign to weaken Western democracies and undermine organizations such as NATO and the EU.

  • Faraday rooms, air gaps can be compromised, and leak highly sensitive data

    Faraday rooms or “cages” designed to prevent electromagnetic signals from escaping can nevertheless be compromised and leak highly sensitive data, according to new studies. Air-gapped computers used for an organization’s most highly sensitive data might also be secluded in a hermetically-sealed Faraday room or enclosure, which prevents electromagnetic signals from leaking out and being picked up remotely by eavesdropping adversaries. Researchers from Ben-Gurion University showed for the first time that a Faraday room and an air-gapped computer that is disconnected from the internet will not deter sophisticated cyber attackers.

  • Digital dark age fears stoked by Davos elite doing little to address cybersecurity

    Business leaders who recently convened in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum fretted over the various catastrophes that could hit the globe hard and – given the recent spate of cyberattacks – cybersecurity was high up on the agenda. The end result was the launch of a Global Center for Cybersecurity (GCC) with a clear mission to “prevent a digital dark age.” The GCC undoubtedly offers a reasonable proposition to nation states, by urging them to collaborate on overcoming cyber threats in a coordinated way. But for such a noble goal to work, it requires deeper resolve to deliver and a level of national commitment unprecedented over previous efforts. Given the increased global uncertainty, we are yet to have faith.

  • Some real “bombshell news” in the Mueller investigation

    Former Trump team legal spokesperson Mark Corallo, in the summer of 2016, had concerns that White House communications director Hope Hicks may be considering obstructing justice after a comment she made in a conference call about emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians with ties to the Kremlin. “Mark Corallo is a pro’s pro who went to work for the Trump legal team completely on board and who wanted to help the president … well, make America great again. When he left after two months with some reports that he was troubled by what he was seeing … that was a deeply ominous sign,” Jim Geraghty writes in National Review. “If Corallo ends up offering sort of critical testimony, this is not because he’s a Judas or because he’s part of the establishment or some sort of ‘Deep State’ sellout. It’s because he saw stuff that genuinely struck him as either illegal or unethical or both and he’s not the kind of person who’s willing to lie under oath about it.”

  • Putin's postmodern war with the West; disinformation vaccination; firewalling democracy, and more

    · Putin’s postmodern war with the West

    · Firewalling democracy: Federal inaction on a national security priority

    · Twitter has notified at least 1.4 million users that they saw Russian propaganda during the election

    · The disinformation vaccination

    · Fear and loathing in Russia’s Catalonia: Moscow’s fight against federalism

    · What was Russia’s spy chief doing in Washington last week? Probably playing the Trump administration … again.

    · Keeping DOJ and FBI safe from a partisan president and Congress

    · Why the Russia probe demolished one lobbying firm but spared another

    · Electronic warfare trumps cyber for deterring Russia

  • Wanted: A firewall to protect U.S. elections

    As the FBI and Congress work to unravel Russia’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election and learn whether anyone in Donald Trump’s campaign supported the effort, one thing has become clear: U.S. elections are far more vulnerable to manipulation than was thought. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security warning and offer last year to help state election officials protect voter registration rolls, voting machines, and software from tampering was coolly received, perhaps out of skepticism or innate distrust of federal interference in a domain historically controlled by the states. Now, as federal and state officials are partnering to examine voting and election security, a new initiative at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) is working to shore up another at-risk component of the U.S. election system: political campaigns.

  • Critical infrastructure firms face crackdown over poor cybersecurity

    An EU-wide cybersecurity law is due to come into force in May to ensure that organizations providing critical national infrastructure services have robust systems in place to withstand cyberattacks. The legislation will insist on a set of cybersecurity standards that adequately address events such as last year’s WannaCry ransomware attack, which crippled some ill-prepared NHS services across England. But, after a consultation process in the U.K. ended last autumn, the government had been silent until now on its implementation plans for the forthcoming law. A set of 14 guiding principles were drawn up, with the NCSC providing detailed advice including helpful links to existing cybersecurity standards. However, the cyber assessment framework, originally promised for release in January this year, won’t be published by the NCSC until late April – a matter of days before the NIS comes into force. Nonetheless, the NIS directive presents a good drive to improve standards for cybersecurity in essential services, and it is supported by sensible advice from the NCSC with more to come. It would be a shame if the positive aspects of this ended up obscured by hype and panic over fines.

  • Cyber incidents doubled in 2017

    The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) has just released its Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report. OTA’s annual analysis found that cyber incidents targeting businesses nearly doubled from 82,000 in 2016 to 159,700 in 2017. Since the majority of cyber incidents are never reported, OTA believes the actual number in 2017 could easily exceed 350,000. The report analyzes data breaches, ransomware targeting businesses, business email compromise (BEC), distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), and takeover of critical infrastructure and physical systems over the course of a year.

  • Hybrid warfare: Russia is “arch exponent” of the disappearing “distinct states of ‘peace’ and ‘war’”: U.K. military chief

    The West’s adversaries “have become masters at exploiting the seams between peace and war. What constitutes a weapon in this grey area no longer has to go ‘bang’. Energy, cash - as bribes - corrupt business practices, cyber-attacks, assassination, fake news, propaganda and indeed military intimidation are all examples of the weapons used to gain advantage in this era of ‘constant competition,’ and the rules-based international architecture that has assured our stability and prosperity since 1945 is, I suggest therefore, threatened,” Sir Nicholas Carter, the British Army chief of staff, said last week. “The deduction we should draw from this is that there is no longer two clear and distinct states of ‘peace’ and ‘war’; we now have several forms. Indeed the character of war and peace is different for each of the contexts in which these ‘weapon systems’ are applied,” he added. “The arch exponent of this [new approach to war] is Russia…. I believe it represents the most complex and capable state-based threat to our country since the end of the Cold War. And my fellow Chiefs of Staff from the United States, France, and Germany shared this view.”

  • Artificial intelligence is the weapon of the next Cold War

    As during the Cold War after the Second World War, nations are developing and building weapons based on advanced technology. During the Cold War, the weapon of choice was nuclear missiles; today it’s software, whether it is used for attacking computer systems or targets in the real world. Russian rhetoric about the importance of artificial intelligence is picking up – and with good reason: As artificial intelligence software develops, it will be able to make decisions based on more data, and more quickly, than humans can handle. As someone who researches the use of AI for applications as diverse as drones, self-driving vehicles and cybersecurity, I worry that the world may be entering – or perhaps already in – another cold war, fueled by AI. In a recent meeting at the Strategic Missile Academy near Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that AI may be the way Russia can rebalance the power shift created by the U.S. outspending Russia nearly 10-to-1 on defense each year. Russia’s state-sponsored RT media reported AI was “key to Russia beating [the] U.S. in defense.” With Russia embracing AI, other nations that don’t or those that restrict AI development risk becoming unable to compete – economically or militarily – with countries wielding developed AIs. Advanced AIs can create advantage for a nation’s businesses, not just its military, and those without AI may be severely disadvantaged. Perhaps most importantly, though, having sophisticated AIs in many countries could provide a deterrent against attacks, as happened with nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

  • Novel solution to better secure voice over internet communication

    Researchers have developed a novel method to better protect Crypto Phones from eavesdropping and other forms of man-in-the-middle attacks. Crypto Phones consist of smartphone apps, mobile devices, personal computer or web-based Voice over Internet Protocol applications that use end-to-end encryption to ensure that only the user and the person they are communicating with can read what is sent. In order to secure what is being communicated, Crypto Phones require users to perform authentication tasks.

  • Downtime of a top cloud service provider could cost U.S. economy $15 billion

    Businesses in the United States could lose $15 billion if a leading cloud service provider would experience a downtime of at least three days. A new study finds that if a top cloud provider went down, manufacturing would see direct economic losses of $8.6 billion; wholesale and retail trade sectors would see economic losses of $3.6 billion; information sectors would see economic losses of $847 million; finance and insurance sectors would see economic losses of $447 million; and transportation and warehousing sectors would see economic losses of $439 million.

  • World Economic Forum launches new cybersecurity center “to prevent a digital dark age”

    Without collaboration and robust defenses, cyberattacks could cripple economies, nation states, and societies. The World Economic Forum says that urgent action is needed to create safe operating environment for new technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, self-driving cars, and the Internet of Things. The Forum has launched a new Global Center for Cybersecurity, which will offer a platform for governments, companies, and international organizations to diminish the impact of malicious activities on the web.

  • House bill will hold Putin, others accountable for election meddling

    Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) introduced H.R. 4884, the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act, a House companion to S. 2313 which was introduced by U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) earlier this month. The DETER Act would impose sanctions against Russia should it meddle again and requests a presidential strategy for deterring future interference by China, Iran, North Korea, or any other foreign government.