• Election hacking, as we understand it today, is not a cybersecurity issue

    Many lawmakers and analysts argue that the Kremlin’s successful 2016 campaign to undermine American democracy, increase societal conflict and political polarization, and help Donald Trump win the presidency, had to do with weak cybersecurity measures – and that the way to prevent similar efforts by foreign powers to influence U.S. elections is to bolster U.S. cybersecurity. Herb Lin writes that it is not at all obvious that the success of Russian meddling in the 2016 election was primarily the result of failures in the nation’s cybersecurity posture. Rather, much more decisive in Russia’s successful meddling was the Kremlin’s sophisticated disinformation campaign on social media platforms. Even fully funded and well-implemented measures the strengthen the cybersecurity aspects pf American elections will not ameliorate the effects of Russian efforts to increase the polarization of the U.S. electorate. “For this reason, a focus on preventing the hacking of election systems is misleading and dangerous—it distracts us from the real danger to the republic today, which is the toxic nature of political discourse in an internet-enabled information environment that Russia can manipulate in entirely legal ways.”

  • McMaster says U.S. must reveal “insidious” Russian meddling to prevent further attacks

    The president’s national security adviser H. R. McMaster says one of the most important tasks in defending U.S. national security is to reveal Russia’s “insidious” interference in elections worldwide to prevent Moscow from meddling again in the democratic process. “What we have to do is come up with a way to deal with this very sophisticated strategy [of meddling],” McMaster said. “This new kind of threat that Russia has really perfected…the use of disinformation and propaganda and social-media tools to really polarize societies and pit communities against each other, to weaken their resolve and their commitment,” he added. U.S. intelligence officials concluded last January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” targeting the 2016 election, aiming to undermine confidence in U.S. democracy, tarnish the reputation of Democrat Hillary Clinton, and help Republican Donald Trump.

  • Practically all Intel processors produced in the last decade found to have major security flaw

    A major security flaw has been discovered in practically all Intel processors. The flaw will require fixes within Windows, macOS, and Linux. Developers are currently working overtime to fix what they describe as a significant security hole within the Intel chips. Patches are already available within some versions of Linux and some testing versions of Windows. Experts note that the fixes, once in place, will slow down computers and cloud servers considerably.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Nation-state hacking in 2017

    As a Presidential candidate, Donald Trump famously dismissed allegations that the Russian government broke into email accounts belonging to John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, saying it could easily have been the work of a “400 lb hacker” or China. This week, the Trump administration publicly attributed the WannaCry ransomware attack to the Lazarus Group, which allegedly works on behalf of the North Korean government. The public calling-out of North Korean hacking appears to signal a very different attitude towards attribution.

  • Innovative technologies for preventing cyberattacks

    The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has licensed three of its most unusual technologies for preventing cyberattacks to Cynash Inc., a startup company funded by IP Group, an intellectual property commercialization company. Cynash was formed specifically to bring these three cyber protection technologies to market to provide a powerful new approach to the detection and prevention of cyberattacks. Two of the technologies, DigitalAnts and MLSTONES, are inspired by nature and biology. The third, SerialTap, addresses vulnerabilities inherent in remotely controlled physical systems common in infrastructure and manufacturing.

  • 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

  • NSF awards nearly $5.7 million to protect U.S. cyberspace

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently gave the nation’s cybersecurity professionals a boost with the inclusion of four new universities into its CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. NSF awarded nearly $5.7 million, with an expected total of almost $16.6 million over the next five years, to universities in Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, and Texas. The schools will use the money to provide scholarships consisting of full tuition and a stipend up to $34,000 to individuals willing to work after graduation in a cybersecurity position for federal, state, local or tribal governments.

  • 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.

  • The influence and risk of social and political "bots"

    The role and risks of bots, such as automated Twitter accounts, in influencing public opinion and political elections continues to provoke intense international debate and controversy. A new collection of articles focused on “Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data” examines how these bots work, approaches to better detect and control them, and how they may have impacted recent elections around the globe. The collection is published in a special issue of Big Data.

  • Six ways (and counting) that big data systems are harming society

    There is growing consensus that with big data comes great opportunity, but also great risk. But these risks are not getting enough political and public attention. One way to better appreciate the risks that come with our big data future is to consider how people are already being negatively affected by uses of it. We need to learn from these harms. There are a range of individuals and groups developing ideas about how data harms can be prevented. Researchers, civil society organizations, government bodies and activists have all, in different ways, identified the need for greater transparency, accountability, systems of oversight and due process, and the means for citizens to interrogate and intervene in the big data processes that affect them. What is needed is the public pressure and the political will and effort to ensure this happens.

  • Helping secure first responder apps from cyberattacks

    In emergency and disaster situations, mobile devices and apps enable public-safety professionals to receive and share critical information in real-time, which enhances the delivery of life-saving services. As reliance on mobile technology grows, it is important that mobile apps used by public safety are free of malware or vulnerabilities.

  • Spotting Russian bots trying to influence politics

    A team of researchers has isolated the characteristics of bots on Twitter through an examination of bot activity related to Russian political discussions. The team’s findings provide new insights into how Russian accounts influence online exchanges using bots, or automated social media accounts, and trolls, which aim to provoke or disrupt. “There is a great deal of interest in understanding how regimes and political actors use bots in order to influence politics,” explains one researcher. “Russia has been at the forefront of trying to shape the online conversation using tools like bots and trolls, so a first step to understanding what Russian bots are doing is to be able to identify them.”

  • Kaspersky Lab appeals DHS debarment

    Kaspersky Lab yesterday announced that it is seeking an appeal in federal court of U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision on Binding Operational Directive 17-01 banning the use of the company’s products in federal agencies. The company cites reputational and revenue impact of a Binding Operational Directive based on media reports, rumor, and unsubstantiated allegations.