USIP's Science, Technology & Peacebuilding Roundup

United States Institute of Peace


Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding

Weekly News Roundup, September 8 - 14, 2011

Table of Contents

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which includes a special section on Internet and social media.**

State-sponsored Spies Collaborate with Crimeware Gang
Hackers sponsored by the Chinese government and other nations are collaborating with profit-driven malware gangs to infiltrate corporate networks storing government secrets and other sensitive data, researchers say. Crimeware operators often cooperate with government-backed spies perpetrating the kinds of APTs, or advanced persistent threats, that have pillaged Google, RSA Security, and other US companies.
See the full article (The Register, Dan Goodin, 9/13/11)
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New Study Quantifies Use of Social Media in Arab Spring
In the 21st century, the revolution may not be televised - but it likely will be tweeted, blogged, texted and organized on Facebook, recent experience suggests. "Our evidence suggests that social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising," said Philip Howard, the project lead and an associate professor in communication at the University of Washington.
See the full article (Newswise, 9/12/11)
Click to read about USIP's upcoming event "Sifting Fact from Fiction: The Role of Social Media in Conflict" on September 16 at 9:00am. You can also watch the live webcast!
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North Korean Jammer Forces Down U.S. Spy Plane
North Korea tends to get a little cranky when its neighbor to the South drills with the American military. Now, South Korea's military says the North's electronic interference has done more than just bug folks trying to get satellite-guided directions to their favorite bibimbap spot. North Korea's jamming pushed an American military aircraft out of the skies. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo reported Friday that North Korea's GPS jamming forced an American spy plane to make an emergency landing during joint U.S.-South Korean exercise in March
See the full article (Wired, Adam Rawnsley, 9/12/11)
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Supercomputer Predicts Revolution
Feeding a supercomputer with news stories could help predict major world events, according to US research. A study, based on millions of articles, charted deteriorating national sentiment ahead of the recent revolutions in Libya and Egypt. While the analysis was carried out retrospectively, scientists say the same processes could be used to anticipate upcoming conflict. The system also picked up early clues about Osama Bin Laden's location.
See the full article (BBC, 9/9/11)
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The Psychology of 9-11, Ten Years Later
Immediately after the September 11 attacks, many first responders and other victims received psychological care. Ira Flatow and guests look at the psychological effects of 9-11, and what researchers have learned since then about caring for victims of psychological trauma.
See the full article (NPR, Ira Flatow, 9/9/11)
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Cyber Hijackers Pose Threat to Planes, Vehicles
The horrific Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks involved weaponized airliners that were hijacked using brutal, low-tech tactics. But the rapid advances in technology of the last 10 years may mean that tomorrow's threats to planes and automobiles could come not from armed terrorists, but from stealthy hackers. The connection between terrorist organizations and cybercriminals exists, say experts, not only in online underground marketplaces where hacking tools are sold, but also in areas of recruitment and training.
See the full article (MSNBC, John R. Quain, 9/8/11)
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Payback Feels Right, But Leads to More Terrorism: Robert Wright
We've killed the No. 3 guy in al-Qaeda at least three times, and we finally even killed the No. 1 guy. Yet al-Qaeda itself seems to be multiplying. Where did we go wrong? Much of the answer may lie in evolutionary psychology. The human brain was designed by natural selection to deal with threats effectively, but it was designed to do that in a particular environment -- a small hunter- gatherer society.
See the full article (Bloomberg, Robin Wright, 9/8/11)
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