USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup


United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, July 19 - 25, 2012

Table of Contents

Iran Threatens Cyber-attackers with "Teeth-breaking"
The United States will face a "teeth-breaking" response if it continues to carry out cyber attacks against Iran, an Iranian official said on Wednesday. Iran has previously accused the United States and its allies of trying to sabotage its disputed nuclear program by using computer worms like Stuxnet, which caused centrifuges at the country's main enrichment facility to fail in 2010. Last month, Iran said it had detected plans by the United States, Israel and Britain to launch what it said was a massive cyber strike.
See the full article (Reuters, Isabel Coles, 7/25/12)
[Return to top]

Russia Is Stockpiling Drones to Spy on Street Protests
Small surveillance drones are starting to be part of police departments across America, and the FAA will soon open up the airspace for more to come. Across the ocean, Russia seems hell-bent on outdoing its former Cold War enemy. Russia's leading manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles has provided the Russian government with more than 70 unmanned systems, each containing several aircraft. These small drones are perfect to monitor dissatisfied Russians marching down the streets.
See the full article (Wired, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, 7/25/12)
[Return to top]

Iranian Nuclear Facilities are Hit by AC/DC Virus
Two of Iran's uranium-enrichment plants were struck by a cyberattack earlier this week that shut down computers and blared AC/DC songs. After shutting down the network, the attackers played the song "Thunderstruck" by the hard rock band AC/DC at maximum volume. Iran has been subject to past attacks intended primarily to hamper its uranium-enrichment program, which Western powers and the International Atomic Energy Agency say it is not authorized to develop.
See the full article (Washington Post, Olga Khazan, 7/25/12)
[Return to top]

The Battle for Water - Water Scarcity Leads to Conflict? Not a Foregone Conclusion
Rather than causing conflict in a previously peaceful situation, climate change can act as a 'trigger' or 'multiplier' in situations where the basis for conflict already exists due to economic, social, cultural or historical factors. Countries threatened by resource scarcity may believe they need to act pre-emptively to secure resources from their 'enemies'. Instead of assuming the inevitability of conflict, it is possible to see water scarcity as an opportunity for cooperation.
See the full article (AlertNet, Steven Heywood, 7/24/12)
[Return to top]

Drone Operations over Somalia Pose Danger to Air Traffic, U.N. Report Says
The skies over Somalia have become so congested with drones that the unmanned aircraft pose a danger to air traffic and potentially violate a long-standing arms embargo against the war-torn country, according to United Nations officials. In a recently completed report, U.N. officials describe several narrowly averted disasters in which drones crashed into a refu­gee camp, flew dangerously close to a fuel dump and almost collided with a large passenger plane over Mogadishu, the capital.
See the full article (Washington Post, Craig Whitlock, 7/24/12)
[Return to top]

Why Cyberwar Isn't the Warfare You Should Worry About
News reports describing the U.S. role in developing the Stuxnet computer virus, and similar allegations about the existence of a second computer virus, named Flame, have sparked a much-needed debate of cyberwarfare and cybersecurity. President Obama contributed to the discussion last week with a call for greater attention to the latter in the Wall Street Journal. Certainly there is reason to harden U.S. infrastructure against cyber attack. In doing so, however, we should avoid cyber hysteria.
See the full article (Foreign Policy, Tom Mahnken, 7/23/12)
[Return to top]

Satellite Spots Syria's Iranian-Made Drones
Since at least February, the Syrian government has been using Iranian-built drones to track and target Free Syrian Army rebels in their strongholds, including Homs and Hamah. Now some fresh commercial satellite imagery provides new details about the unmanned aerial vehicles' possible tactics and capabilities. The first glimpse by outsiders of drones in Syria came in February, when someone uploaded a video to YouTube depicting what appeared to be a UAV flying over the rebel-controlled town of Kafr Batna.
See the full article (Wired, David Axe, 7/23/12)
[Return to top]

How TileMill is Mapping Support of the International Justice System
The Campaign for Global Justice, launched this week on International Justice Day, which celebrates the creation of the International Criminal Court 10 years ago, asks people to demand justice for the victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The map, integrated on the campaign homepage, tells the story of where these crimes -- and their perpetrators -- are located as well as countries' support of the international justice system and payment toward reparations.
See the full article (PBS, Dave Johnson, 7/19/12)
[Return to top]

Did we miss anything?



Share this: FacebookDeliciousDiggMySpaceStumbleUponGoogleMicrosoftYahoo! BookmarksLinkedIn| Forward this to a Friend