• U.S. Intelligence Community Pivots to Better Confront Beijing

    CIA director William Burns Thursday announced the creation of a new China Mission Center to make sure the agency’s resources and existing efforts are working together to face the growing threat.

  • Rush to Stop “Havana Syndrome”

    In 2016, dozens of diplomatic staff at the U.S. and Canadian embassies in Havana began experiencing a sudden onset of health troubles with no apparent cause. It was suspected they had been exposed to a high-intensity burst of energy or sound waves. Known as Havana syndrome, today there are at least 200 CIA, State Department, and Pentagon personnel stationed overseas who have been affected. But cause, suspects unclear as scores of U.S. spies, diplomats, security staff hit by mysterious neurological injuries overseas.

  • Havana Syndrome Fits the Pattern of Psychosomatic Illness – but That Doesn’t Mean the Symptoms Aren’t Real

    I am an emeritus professor of neurology who studies the inner ear, and my clinical focus is on dizziness and hearing loss. When news of these events broke, I was baffled. But after reading descriptions of the patients’ symptoms and test results, I began to doubt that some mysterious weapon was the cause. The available data on Havana syndrome matches closely with mass psychogenic illness – more commonly known as mass hysteria. So what is really happening with so–called Havana syndrome?

  • EU: Russia Involved in “Ghostwriter” Cyberattacks

    The European Union has warned the Kremlin that it could “consider taking further steps” over Moscow’s complicity in recent cyberattacks targeting the bloc’s members.

  • Detecting Forged Video Evidence

    Video evidence is commonly used to prove what happened during an event. However, with the emergence and rapid development of CGI (computer-generated images), deep fakes, and video manipulation, there is a pressing need for tools to detect forgeries that would otherwise undermine the value of video evidence.

  • Germany Warns Russia over Cyberattacks Related to 26 September Election

    Berlin blames Russian government hackers for a recent wave of cyberattacks related to Germany’s 26 September general election. “These attacks could serve as preparations for influence operations such as disinformation campaigns connected with the parliamentary election,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse said.

  • Catalan Separatists Sought Russia’s Help

    Catalan separatists who, in 2019, were trying to break away from Spain and establish an independent Catalonia, sought, and received, Russian help for their efforts. The separatists’ effort to enlist Russia followed a 2017 referendum in Catalonia, which the pro-independence forces won after the anti-separatists boycotted it. The EU and the Spanish government declared the referendum illegal.

  • Afghanistan, Policy Choices, and Claims of Intelligence Failure

    Was the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan the result of an intelligence failure? David Priess, who served as a CIA analyst in the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, writes that to make this judgment, we need answers to many questions. But even if the written records, such as the PDBs, are declassified, “unless and until Joe Biden opens his mind and soul, we are unlikely to understand if he internalized the core judgments in any intelligence documents or briefings.”

  • Cybersecurity Experts Worried by Chinese Firm’s Control of Smart Devices 

    From rooftop to basement and the bedrooms in between, much of the technology making consumer products smart comes from a little-known Chinese firm, Tuya Inc. of Hangzhou.More than 5,000 brands have incorporated Tuya’s technology in their products. Cybersecurity experts are worried, and they urge Washington to limit or ban Tuya from doing business in the United States, in part because a broad new Chinese law requires companies to turn over any and all collected data when the government requests it.

  • Chinese Hackers Used Cyber-Disguising Technology against Israel: Report

    Beginning in January 2019, UNC215, a Chinese government digital spy group, had hacked into Israeli government networks after using remote desktop protocols (RDPs) to steal credentials from trusted third parties.

  • What is Pegasus? Explaining How the Spyware Invades Phones and What It Does When It Gets In

    Pegasus is a spyware that can stealthily enter a smartphone and gain access to everything on it, including its camera and microphone. Pegasus is designed to infiltrate devices running Android, Blackberry, iOS and Symbian operating systems and turn them into surveillance devices.

  • Responsible Cyber Offense

    There is responsible conduct in cyberspace, and there is irresponsible conduct. Perri Adams, Dave Aitel, George Perkovich, and JD Work write that “If the SolarWinds operation was a case of somewhat responsible hacking within the bounds of acceptable state action (even if Russia is far from a responsible actor in cyberspace), the Exchange operation, by contrast, demonstrates how an irresponsibly conducted espionage operation can escalate into collateral damage and instability.” They write that, despite critical preventive efforts, “offensive operations will continue apace in the foreseeable future—conducted by the United States, its allies and its adversaries. The choice is whether and how to engage in them responsibly and minimize cost to societies.”

  • Haiti Assassination Revives Concerns over “Private Armies”

    Most of the 20-plus suspects arrested in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse as part of an attempted coup appear to be from outside the country, with no known connection to the nation’s politics or military. The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has renewed concerns over the shadowy, unregulated trade of professional militaries — companies staffed by veteran fighters from armed forces around the world that provide private security to the ultra-rich and powerful, various nations, and sometimes to warlords, arms traders, and aspiring dictators.

  • Israel Tries to Limit Fallout from the Pegasus Spyware Scandal

    Israel has been trying to limit the damage the Pegasus spyware scandal is threatening to do to France-Israel relations. The Moroccan intelligence service used the software, made by an Israeli company with close ties to Israel’s defense and intelligence establishments, to spy on dozens of French officials, including fourteen current and former cabinet ministers, among them President Emmanuel Macron and former prime minister Edouard Phillipe. It would not be unreasonable for the French intelligence services to assume that there was a measure of Israeli spying on France involved here, with or without the knowledge of the Moroccans. Macron, in a phone conversation with Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett, pointedly asked for an explanation.

  • U.S. Leads Coalition Accusing China of Hacking

    On 19 July, the United States joined other countries in condemning the hacking by Chinee government hackers of Microsoft Exchange email server software. Despite the condemnations, there have not been any sanctions against China for its role in the breach, leading critics to charge that the Biden’s response was weak and “not proportionate to the severity of the breach.” Abby Lemert and Eleanor Runde write that “Part of the problem is that escalatory retaliation carries special risks to a highly digitized society like the United States. Accordingly, some commentators assess that Biden’s response is properly calibrated to the risks.”