• U.K. raises terror threat level after London terrorist attack

    British police is searching for those responsible for an IED explosion on a London subway train. Twenty-nine people were injured in the attack. Counterterrorism experts said the IED may have malfunctioned, thus averting a larger catastrophe. British prime minister Theresa May raised the country’s terror threat level to critical, meaning an attack is expected soon.

  • Lax policies governing dual-use research, scientists unaware of research’s biosecurity implications

    The National Academies of Sciences has examined policies and practices governing dual-use research in the life sciences – research that could potentially be misused to cause harm – and its findings identify multiple shortcomings. While the United States has a solid record in conducting biological research safely, the policies and regulations governing the dissemination of life sciences information that may pose biosecurity concerns are fragmented. Evidence also suggests that most life scientists have little awareness of biosecurity issues, the report says, stressing the importance of ongoing training for scientists.

  • Map shows how to disable dangerous bioweapon

    The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) ranks tularemia as one of the six most concerning bioterrorism agents, alongside anthrax, botulism, plague, smallpox and viral hemorrhagic fever. And Russian stockpiles of it likely remain. American scientists studying F. tularensis recently mapped out the complex molecular circuitry that enables the bacterium to become virulent. The map reveals a unique characteristic of the bacteria that could become the target of future drug development.

  • Hezbollah leader declares victory for Syrian regime

    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the Syrian government has won the war in Syria. Speaking at a religious event, Nasrallah said that opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had failed and that now “the path of the other project has failed and wants to negotiate for some minor gains. We have won in the war [in Syria]”. He went on to say that “what remains are pockets of resistance.”

  • Shin Bet says 200 terrorist attacks prevented in 2017

    Nadav Argaman, head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s General Security Service, told government ministers that Israel has prevented 200 terrorist attacks from more than 70 local terrorist cells since the beginning of 2017. Argaman said the security reality in the West Bank was “fragile” and “characterized by heightened sensitivity to incidents of a religious hue … with emphasis on the methods of stabbing, ramming and shooting.”

  • Why al-Qaida is still strong sixteen years after 9/11

    Sixteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, al-Qaida conducted the most destructive terrorist attack in history. An unprecedented onslaught from the United States followed. One-third of al-Qaida’s leadership was killed or captured in the following year. The group lost its safe haven in Afghanistan, including its extensive training infrastructure there. Its surviving members were on the run or in hiding. Though it took nearly ten years, the United States succeeded in killing al-Qaida’s founding leader, Osama bin Laden. Since 2014, al-Qaida has been overshadowed by its former ally al-Qaida in Iraq, now calling itself the Islamic State. In other words, al-Qaida should not have survived the sixteen years since 9/11. So why has it?

  • Antifa says it’s fighting Fascists. It just might be helping to re-elect Donald Trump.

    There’s no consensus of what Antifa, a contraction of “anti-fascist,” stands for, or whether their tactics will achieve their stated goals. The historian Ronald Radosh writes that the German communists used the slogan “After Hitler, Us,” and directed their energy and propaganda not against the Nazis, but against the mainstream socialists. “It didn’t end well,” says Radosh. Antifa emulates many of the actions of the German communists in the 1930s, villifying centrists and liberals who reject antifa’s commitment to violence.

  • Saudi government funded a “dry run” for 9/11: Court documents

    The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. paid two Saudis to conduct a “dry run” of the 9/11 attacks, documents submitted by lawyers for plaintiffs in a terrorism case against the Saudi government show. The complaint stated that the Saudi government paid two nationals, posing as students in the United States, to take a flight from Phoenix to Washington in November 1999 in order to test out flight deck security. The two Saudi nationals, whose tickets were paid for by the Saudi embassy, took a flight from Phoenix to Washington, but their persistent questions of the crew about cockpit security, and their several attempts to enter the cockpit, led the pilots to make an emergency landing in Ohio, and the two Saudis were escorted off the plane by FBI agents. The two men were released after an initial interrogation by the FBI.

  • Colombia agrees to cease-fire with leftist ELN guerrilla group

    Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced on Monday that his government will sign a cease-fire deal with the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) after months of peace talks with the rebel group.

    The cease-fire will take effect on 1 October and would last until 12 January, in order to allow the government of Colombia and the small insurgent group time to negotiate a permanent deal. The ELN and its larger sister guerilla group, the FARC, launched their violent war against the Colombian state in 1964. Both groups share responsibility for about 260,000 civilian deaths, 23,000 kidnapped and disappeared civilians, and the forced internal displacement of 6.7 million Colombians.

  • Radiation analysis software from Sandia Lab helps emergency responders

    When law enforcement officers and first responders arrive at an emergency involving radiation, they need a way to swiftly assess the situation to keep the public and environment safe. Having analysis tools that can quickly and reliably make sense of radiation data is of the essence. Sandia National Laboratories developed a tool called InterSpec, available for both mobile and traditional computing devices, can rapidly and accurately analyze gamma radiation data collected at the scene.

  • Gregory Falco: Protecting urban infrastructure against cyberterrorism

    While working for the global management consulting company Accenture, Gregory Falco discovered just how vulnerable the technologies underlying smart cities and the “internet of things” — everyday devices that are connected to the internet or a network — are to cyberterrorism attacks. His focus is on cybersecurity for urban critical infrastructure, and the internet of things, or IoT, is at the center of his work. A washing machine, for example, that is connected to an app on its owner’s smartphone is considered part of the IoT. There are billions of IoT devices that don’t have traditional security software because they’re built with small amounts of memory and low-power processors. This makes these devices susceptible to cyberattacks and may provide a gate for hackers to breach other devices on the same network.

  • Can the U.S. defend itself against North Korean missiles?

    Regardless of the specifics of the Sunday test, one thing is clear: North Korea will achieve — within months, not years, and if it has not achieved this already – the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental United States and detonate it over a major American city. Does the United States have the means to protect itself against a North Korean nuclear attack?

  • Detecting carriers of dirty bombs

    The threat of terrorism in Europe has been on the rise in recent years, with experts and politicians particularly worried that terrorists might make use of dirty bombs. Researchers have developed a new system that will be able to detect possible carriers of radioactive substances, even in large crowds of people. This solution is one of the defensive measures being developed as part of the REHSTRAIN project, which is focused on security for TGV and ICE high-speed trains in France and Germany.

  • Biosecurity and synthetic biology: it is time to get serious

    Synthetic biology has only been recently recognized as a mature subject in the context of biological risk assessment — and the core focus has been infectious diseases. In the case of biosecurity, we’re already dependent on biology [with respect to food, health etc.] but we still have an opportunity to develop biosecurity strategies before synthetic biology is ubiquitous. There is still an opportunity to act now and put norms and practices in place because the community is still relatively small. “If scientists are not taking care of biosecurity now, other people will start taking care of it, and they most likely will start preventing researchers from doing good science.”

  • What is the online equivalent of a burning cross?

    White supremacy is woven into the tapestry of American culture, online and off. Addressing white supremacy is going to take much more than toppling a handful of Robert E. Lee statues or shutting down a few white nationalist websites, as technology companies have started to do. We must wrestle with what freedom of speech really means, and what types of speech go too far, and what kinds of limitations on speech we can endorse. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled, in Virginia v. Black, that “cross burning done with the intent to intimidate has a long and pernicious history as a signal of impending violence.” In other words, there’s no First Amendment protection because a burning cross is meant to intimidate, not start a dialogue. But what constitutes a burning cross in the digital era?