• PrivacySharing Personal Information on Social Media Is Risky

    An innocent, seemingly fun and engaging social media trend has been popping up on news feeds. In an act of solidarity with high school seniors who were finishing out their final semester at home due to the coronavirus stay-at-home order, Facebook users were sharing their own senior class photos in nostalgic posts. While it is a nice sentiment and the presence of cameras in nearly every cellphone has made it easy to take and exchange pictures, there are certain security considerations one should keep in mind.

  • PerspectiveThe Kremlin’s Disinformation Playbook Goes to Beijing

    The coronavirus pandemic is exposing a growing competition between democratic and authoritarian governments. Jessica Brandt and Torrey Tausing write that as the U.S. and Europe struggle to contain the virus at home, Russia and China are seizing the moment to enhance their international influence through information operations.

  • DisinformationTriad of Disinformation: How Russia, Iran, & China Ally in a Messaging War against America

    By Clint Watts

    China has long deployed widespread censorship, propaganda, and information manipulation efforts within its borders, but information operations directed at foreign audiences have generally focused on framing China in a positive way. In the last two months, however, Beijing, showing itself willing to emulate Russia’s approach to information campaigns, has conducted a much more ambitious effort not only to shape global perspectives about what’s occurring inside China, but to influence public opinion about events outside its borders.

  • SurveillanceGermany: Revised Domestic Surveillance Bill Submitted to Bundestag

    A draft law to reform Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency is to be re-submitted to parliament after long debate. It will allow German domestic intelligence and law enforcement to conduct electronic surveillance of telephone calls and SMS text services, including encrypted “chats” via services such as WhatsApp and Telegram, but will  not allow the use of cyber “Trojan” trawling tools.

  • Truth decayAustralian Investigators Debunk 5G-COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory

    One of the more bizarre conspiracy theories recently created is the one claiming a connection between 5G technology and the virus. Believers argue that that either 5G was responsible for coronavirus, due to the construction of 5G networks in Wuhan, or for “poisoning cells” which created coronavirus. An Australian parliamentary investigation has now debunked this particular piece of misinformation.

  • Truth decayHow “Truth Decay” Is Harming America’s Coronavirus Recovery

    How is it possible that Americans are polarized along party lines even on something as seemingly apolitical as a virus? Alex Ward writes in Vox that one big reason is what Jennifer Kavanagh, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, calls “truth decay.” Simply put, Americans no longer rely on facts and data as much as they should. That’s a problem at any time, but it’s especially troubling during a pandemic, when people need the best, most reliable information to stay safe.

  • Truth decayFacebook Studies Reveal Science Mistrust Winning on Vaccine Messaging

    Lisa Schnirring writes in CIDRAP that Facebook groups which fuel mistrust of health guidance, such as those that air anti-vaccine views, have gained the upper hand over groups with reliable information from health agencies, a team led by George Washington University reported yesterday in Nature.

  • Truth decayBattling the “Pandemic of Misinformation”

    By Christina Pazzanese

    When a disease outbreak grabs the public’s attention, formal recommendations from medical experts are often muffled by a barrage of half-baked advice, sketchy remedies, and misguided theories that circulate as anxious people rush to understand a new health risk. The current crisis is no exception. Ubiquity of social media has made it easier to spread or even create COVID-19 falsehoods, making the work of public health officials harder.

  • The Russia connectionGermany Has “Hard Evidence” of Russian Cyberattack on Parliament

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel says there is “hard evidence” of the involvement of “Russian forces” in a 2015 cyberattack on the German parliament in which documents from her own parliamentary office were reportedly stolen. Last week that federal prosecutors in Germany had issued an arrest warrant for a suspected officer with Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency.

  • DisinformationForeign countries’ Efforts to Influence U.S. Public's Understanding of COVID-19

    The ongoing worldwide coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been immune to the problem of rampant disinformation—intentionally misleading information or propaganda. The European External Action Service of the European Union recently stated that “despite their potentially grave impact on public health, official and state-backed sources from various governments, including Russia and—to a lesser extent—China, have continued to widely target conspiracy narratives and disinformation both at public audiences in the EU and the wider neighborhood.” Thomas Rid, author of Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare, discuss how disinformation has impacted the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • ExtremismAnti-Semitic Incidents in U.S. Hit All-Time High in 2019

    The American Jewish community experienced the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents last year since tracking began in 1979, with more than 2,100 acts of assault, vandalism and harassment reported across the United States. The record number of incidents came as the Jewish community grappled with violent and lethal anti-Semitic attacks against communities in Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, and a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn.

  • Digital forensicsStudents Take Witness Stand in Virtual Courtroom

    USC students took the stand as part of the capstone project in their advanced digital forensics class at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. In years past, students in the class traveled to a real courtroom, but this year the COVID-19 pandemic pushed them to a digital venue: a videoconference on Zoom.

  • PerspectiveVirus Conspiracists Elevate a New Champion

    A discredited scientist who blames her professional downfall on Dr. Anthony Fauci, is the new hero of the anti-vaccinators, the conspiracy group QAnon, activists from the Reopen America movement, and some right-wing media. They support her claims that Dr. Fauci, Bill Gates, and other “establishment” figures inflated the danger of the coronavirus in order to make money by selling more vaccines.

  • China syndromeU.S. to Accuse China of Hacking COVID-19 Vaccine Research

    By Masood Farivar

    For months, U.S. officials have been warning about a spike in cyberattacks during the coronavirus pandemic, but they’ve stopped short of pointing fingers at any one country. Now, as the all-out global race for a coronavirus vaccine accelerates and hackers home in on related scientific research, U.S. officials are preparing to single out a long-standing cyber adversary: China.

  • PrivacyEnhancing Privacy Protections for Android Applications

    From navigation to remote banking, mobile device users rely on a variety of applications to streamline daily tasks, communicate, and dramatically increase productivity. While exceedingly useful, the ecosystem of third-party applications utilizes a number of sensors – microphones, GPS, pedometers, cameras – and user interactions to collect data used to enable functionality. Troves of sensitive personal data about users are accessible to these applications and as defense and commercial mobile device users become increasingly reliant on the technology, there are growing concerns around the challenge this creates for preserving user privacy.