• An App for Safe Handling of Drones

    Nearly every day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents come across drones that may have been used to facilitate the movement of illicit drugs or people across the southern border. These drones usually carry smuggled narcotics and often contain surveillance cameras; however, they could easily be modified to carry other threats or hazards.

  • 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.

  • Ban Use of Affective Computing in Federal Law Enforcement

    Affective computing uses algorithms to analyze bodies, faces, and voices to infer human emotion and state of mind. Even though there clearly needs to be more research done on this technology, law enforcement agencies are starting to experiment with it to extract information, detect deception, and identify criminal behavior. Alex Engler says that President Biden should ban affective computing before it starts to threaten civil liberties.

  • Imaging Tool under Development Reveals Concealed Detonators — and Their Charge

    A Sandia Lab researcher is working on building a new kind of neutron-based imaging system which will enable people to safely examine sealed metal boxes when opening them could be dangerous, whether this is because inside is an explosive weapon or a malfunctioning, high-voltage fire set at a missile range.

  • Ensuring Reliability of Air Cargo Screening Systems

    DHS, which is responsible for ensuring the security of air cargo transported to the United States, says the threat from explosives in air cargo remains significant. A new GAO report addresses how DHS secures inbound air cargo, and the extent to which TSA’s field assessment of a CT screening system included key practices for design and evaluation.

  • Deterring Terrorist Attacks in Sports Megaevents

    Large sports events – the Olympic Games, the Superbowl, the Soccer World Cup – are ideal targets for terrorists. What is the best method to identify the most effective defense measures to minimize the chances of a terrorist attack during a sports mega-event?

  • Pegasus Project Shows the Need for Real Device Security, Accountability and Redress for those Facing State-Sponsored Malware

    It is no surprise that people around the world are angry to learn that surveillance software sold by NSO Group to governments has been found on cellphones worldwide. People all around the world deserve the right to have a private conversation. Communication privacy is a human right, a civil liberty, and one of the centerpieces of a free society. And while we all deserve basic communications privacy, the journalists, NGO workers, and human rights and democracy activists among us are especially at risk, since they are often at odds with powerful governments.

  • Spyware: Why the Booming Surveillance Tech Industry Is Vulnerable to Corruption and Abuse

    The latest revelations about NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware are the latest indication that the spyware industry is out of control, with licensed customers free to spy on political and civilian targets as well as suspected criminals. We may be heading to a world in which no phone is safe from such attacks.

  • Bringing the Jury to the Crime Scene Via a 3D Headset

    Delivering the correct verdict on car accident and murder cases is contingent on good spatial awareness, but short of being at the scene of the crime, jurors confined to the court room may be more prone to errors. Thanks to the advent of virtual reality (VR), jurors now have a better chance of making the right decision.

  • Growing Unease in Israel over Pegasus Case

    Israel is worried that the Pegasus spyware revelations may turn a PR black eye into a diplomatic crisis. Israel never exhibited any qualms about dealing with and selling arms to pretty unsavory regimes, but such deals were typically kept secret. The fact that the Israeli Ministry of Defense authorized the NSO Group to sell the Pegasus spyware to regimes which then used it to spy on opposition figures, civil society activists, and journalists – and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, to track Jamal Khashoggi and kill him — has raised questions about what did the government know and when did it know it.

  • Drone Popularity, Potential Risk Soar, So Too Should Preparedness

    Benign hobbyists often use drones, but these small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) can be exploited for any number of illegal activities, thereby posing a significant threat to facilities related to critical infrastructure and national security.

  • Journalists, Activists among 50,000 Targets of Israeli Spyware: Reports

    Israeli cyber firm NSO Group claims that its Pegasus surveillance malware is sold to governments so they can better track terrorists and criminals, but many of the 45 governments deploying the surveillance software use it to track journalists, opposition politicians, and civil society activists. Some of these governments are authoritarian (for example, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, UAE, Saudi Arabia). Other are democracies (for example, India, Mexico, South Africa). The only EU member country to deploy the surveillance malware is Hungary, which places it in violation of the EU’s strict privacy and surveillance regulations.

  • New Material Could Mean Lightweight Armor, Protective Coatings

    Researchers identified a new material that may lead to lightweight armor, protective coatings, blast shields, and other impact-resistant structures.

  • Interactive Police Line-Ups Improve Eyewitness Accuracy

    Lineups are used around the globe to help police identify criminals. Typically these involve witnesses examining an image of the suspect alongside ‘fillers’ – individuals who look similar, but who weren’t involved in the crime.A new interactive lineup software enables witnesses to rotate and view lineup faces from different angles.Researchers found that witnesseswere more likely to accurately pick out the criminal from the lineup.

  • Handwriting Examiners in the Digital Age

    People are writing more than ever with their keyboards and phones, but handwritten notes have become rare. Even signatures are going out of style. Most credit card purchases no longer require them, and if they do, you can usually just scratch one out with your fingernail. The age-old art of handwriting is in decline. This marks a profound shift in how we communicate, but for one group of experts — forensic handwriting examiners — it also raises an existential question.