From malware on Google's Android phones to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency trying to understand how stories or narratives impact security and human behaviour, the security world certainly is never boring. Here we take a look at 20 security stories that have shaped the industry in the past few months.
US adopting new cyberattack plan for security warriors
Can the US government and private industry unite to fight off those who are intent on waging cyber anarchy? The Defence Department hopes so and it has devised a plan to help promote that cooperation. Securing the nation's networks will require unprecedented industry and government cooperation, Deputy Defence Secretary William J. Lynn told attendees at the RSA security conference. "Through classified threat-based information, and the technology we have developed to employ it in network defence, we can significantly increase the effectiveness of cybersecurity practices that industry is already carrying out," Lynn said. Lynn noted that more than 100 foreign intelligence agencies have attempted intrusions on US networks.
Stolen US military IDs ideal cover for army of online dating scammers
It's a new twist on an old scam. The Army Times newspaper reported details of the growing trend of fraudsters stealing the identities of US Army soldiers from social network sites and then using that information to set up false profiles on internet dating sites. The profiles are uses to dupe prospective dates out of their money. But there are other consequences too.
"The unwitting soldiers are sometimes victims when their loved ones discover the online profiles and believe their soldiers are looking to cheat. [Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, who uses his blog, 'A Soldier's Perspective,' to expose scammers using the soldier dating con] said the scam is a new twist on the so-called Nigerian 419 advance fee scam, and its popularity is growing, fuelled by soldiers' routine use of social networking sites and the internet's penetration into third-world havens for con men.
"In the past year, the traffic on my site related to the scams I write about has tripled," Grisham said. 'I'll get 30 to 40 comments a day and 20 emails a day asking me to look into whether or not they're being scammed.'"
Thought police? DARPA wants to know how stories influence human mind, actions
Since it sounds like a not-so-basic- science fiction script, you won't be surprised that the scientific masterminds at the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency are behind it. DARPA in a nutshell wants to know about how stories or narratives or whatever one might like to call them influence human behaviour.
"Stories exert a powerful influence on human thoughts and behaviour. They consolidate memory, shape emotions, cue heuristics and biases in judgment, influence in-group/out-group distinctions, and may affect the fundamental contents of personal identity. It comes as no surprise that these influences make stories highly relevant to vexing security challenges such as radicalisation, violent social mobilisation, insurgency and terrorism, and conflict prevention and resolution. Therefore, understanding the role stories play in a security context is a matter of great import and some urgency," DARPA stated.
"Ascertaining exactly what function stories enact, and by what mechanisms they do so, is a necessity if we are to effectively analyse the security phenomena shaped by stories. Doing this in a scientifically respectable manner requires a working theory of narratives, an understanding of what role narratives play in security contexts, and examination of how to best analyse stories - decomposing them and their psychological impact systematically."
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