• Unknowingly loading malicious content from “trusted” sites

    New research from CSIRO’s Data61, the data and digital specialist arm of Australia’s national science agency, questions the “trustability” of websites and in a world first quantifies the extent to which the trust model of today’s World Wide Web is fundamentally broken.

  • Doctored video of Nancy Pelosi shows social media giants ill-prepared for 2020

    Hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed a conference Wednesday, a distorted video of the California Democrat’s conversation began spreading across the internet. The manipulated clip, slowed to make Pelosi sound as if she were slurring her words, racked up millions of views on Facebook the following day. It was posted to YouTube, and on Thursday night was given a boost on Twitter when Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer and former mayor of New York, shared a link with his 318,000 followers. Sam Dean and Suhauna Hussain write in the Los Angeles Times that by Friday, the three social media giants were forced to respond to this viral instance of political fakery. How they dealt with the issue, three years after being blindsided by a wave of fake news and disinformation in the 2016 election cycle, may serve as a harbinger of what’s to come in 2020.

  • The many faces of foreign interference in European elections

    Citizens of the European Union’s 28 member states go to the polls this week to choose their representatives to the European Parliament. Following Russian interference in several high-profile elections over the past three years, European governments are on high alert for signs of such meddling on social media or in electoral IT systems. Recent events in Austria and Italy show that foreign authoritarian actors are finding other under-examined, but equally insidious ways to infiltrate campaigns and harm democracy in Europe.

  • The Kremlin’s “tools of malign political influence” undermine democracy

    Russia’s “sweeping and systematic malign influence operations” support anti-democratic and anti-Western forces in Europe and the United States, using a variety of tools, from corruption to influence operations, said Heather A. Conley, CSIS senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic, and director of the Europe Program, in a testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment, during hearings on “Undermining Democracy: Kremlin Tools of Malign Political Influence.” “The Kremlin undermines and weakens democracies, rendering them unable to respond promptly to Russian military actions or making them beholden to the Kremlin to such a point that a democratic country will support Russia’s interests over its own,” she testified. She highlighted two specific areas in which she is “particularly concerned U.S. citizens and organizations, wittingly or unwittingly, will come under increasing threat of Russian malign influence”: (1) faith-based and ultra conservative
    organizations; and (2) opaque financial support for key U.S. influencers.

  • Cyber-enabled election interference occurs in one-fifth of democracies

    Cyber-enabled election interference has already changed the course of history. Fergus Hanson and Elise Thomas write in The Strategist that whether or not the Russian interference campaign during the US 2016 federal election was enough to swing the result, the discovery and investigation of the campaign and its negative effects on public trust in the democratic process have irrevocably shaped the path of Donald Trump’s presidency.

  • Hacking democracies

    A new report from an Australian think tank offers an in-depth, and sobering, analysis of Russia’s campaign to undermine Western democracies by weaponizing social media, and, to a lesser extent, China’s similar, if lower-key, campaign against neighboring Asian countries. “Democracies need to look at better ways of imposing costs on adversaries,” the report’s authors say.

  • Bolstering cyber resilience

    In December 2015, the first known successful cyberattack on a power grid was carried out in Ukraine, disrupting the electricity supply for hundreds of thousands of customers for several hours. Since then, concerns have grown across the globe about the potential public health, economic and security impacts of widespread power outages in heavily populated regions. Argonne partners with World Economic Forum in important cyber resilience effort.

  • How to break our bad online security habits – with a flashing cyber nudge

    The number of cyberattacks is estimated to have risen by 67 percent over the last five years, with the majority of these data breaches being traced back to human error. The potential risks of such attacks are vast and can have a serious impact on both organizations and individuals. But protecting ourselves against cyber security threats can be extremely complicated.

  • Will the next cyberattack be in the hospital?

    You may not think of hackers targeting hospitals, but this is where our wired world may be most vulnerable, and the results could be deadly. Israeli startup Cynerio aims to stop hackers from targeting medical devices, a potent new danger in our connected world.

  • Hackers working for a “state actor” planted spyware in WhatsApp via missed calls

    Hackers, in all likelihood working for a state, managed to circumvent WhatsApp security by exploiting vulnerability associated with missed calls. The hackers planted an advanced spying software created by Israeli cyber company NSO to infect a few dozen phones. WhatsApp said the attack bore “all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems.”

  • Russia has Americans’ weaknesses all figured out

    What are Americans supposed to think when their leaders contradict one another on the most basic question of national security—who is the enemy? Is Russia the enemy, or was the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election just a slow-motion attack on the president and his supporters? Are Russian fake-news troll farms stirring up resentment among the American electorate, or are mainstream-media outlets just making things up? Jim Sciutto writes in Defense One that U.S. military commanders, national-security officials, and intelligence analysts have a definitive answer: Russia is an enemy. It is taking aggressive action right now, from cyberspace to outer space, and all around the world, against the United States and its allies. But the public has been slow to catch on, polls suggest, and Trump has given Americans little reason to believe that their president recognizes Russia’s recent actions as a threat.

  • Report reveals scale of Russian interference in European democracy

    Evidence of the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency’s long-term interest in European politics and elections has been revealed in two new studies. while Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been well documented, far less has been known about the Internet Research Agency’s European operations, until now.

  • U.S. official: Executive order not needed to ban Huawei in U.S. 5G networks

    “We have grave concerns about the Chinese vendors because they can be compelled by the National Intelligence Law in China as well as other laws in China to take actions that would not be in the interests of the citizens of other countries around the world. Those networks could be disrupted or their data could be taken and be used for purposes that would not be consistent with fundamental human rights in those countries,” says Robert Strayer, deputy assistant secretary of state for cyber and international communications and information policy.

  • Electricity grid cybersecurity will be expensive – who will pay, and how much?

    Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are capable of hacking into the computers that control the U.S. electricity grid. Protecting the grid from hacking would cost tens of billions of dollars. The electricity customers will likely foot most of the bill.

  • Facebook removes more pages, accounts linked to “inauthentic” Russian operators

    Facebook said it has removed more pages and accounts that are believed to have originated in Russia and were involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”