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Researchers only beginning to understand this and may now have monkey model.
More giant virus genomes suggest their DNA is mostly random scraps.
Zika, flu, and other known threats, but surprises always expected, expert says.
Putin us on.Presidential Press and Information Office reader comments 130 Share this story The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security today jointly charged that the Russian government was responsible for directing a series of intrusions into the networks of US political organizations and state election boards.
In a “joint security statement,” officials from the two agencies declared they were “confident” that the government of President Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks and the publication of data obtained from them—some of it doctored—specifically to impact the results of the upcoming US elections. In a joint statement, agency officials asserted the following: The U.S.
Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.

The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.

These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. The officials also accused Russia of being behind attacks on some state election board systems. This type of interference, DHS and ODNI officials noted, is “not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there.” And they dismissed any contention that the attacks came from independent actors within Russia or at the direction of lower-level intelligence operatives, stating, “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” There has been ample documentation of past efforts by groups of actors within the Russian Federation to shape public opinion elsewhere, just as there is documentation of Russia’s overall doctrine for conducting information warfare against adversaries outside the bounds of actual war.

An investigation by Adrian Chen for the New York Times Magazine published in 2015 documented how a Russia-based “Internet Research Agency” created fake Twitter profiles and posted misinformation on things ranging from fictional chemical plant accidents to Ebola hoaxes in various locations around the US.

The “agency” apparently hoped to spread panic and misinformation in order to undermine trust in US authorities.

And in other information operations, the Russian government has sought to shape opinion throughout Europe while quashing dissent at home. In a speech at the beginning of an Atlantic Council event in Berlin last year, US Ambassador to Germany John Emerson described Russia’s larger disinformation campaign, saying: The Russian government and the media that it controls are trying to prevent the publication of information that doesn’t conform to Russia's aims and are manipulating the presentation of information to cloak Russia’s actions.

The Kremlin’s disinformation campaign goes far beyond controlling its own media.
It is aimed at nothing less than presenting a parallel version of reality and disseminating it as if it were news.

The Kremlin’s goal is to make people question the value of media at all; to reject the idea of an absolute truth; and to persuade the public that “reality” is relative...

This campaign of obfuscation has become all too familiar since the occupation of Crimea. Emerson noted that some have described Russia’s information warfare model as the “4D” approach: dismiss factual reports, distort the truth with planted information, distract from actions by generating counter-narratives, and dismay those who fail to accept the Russian view with threats of reprisal. The efforts by Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks appear to be aimed at distorting and distracting the American public as elections approach to gain some sort of advantage in its outcome.

But ODNI and DHS officials offered assurances that there was little chance Russia could directly affect the election by hacking voting systems themselves.
In a joint statement, officials said: The USIC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assess that it would be extremely difficult for someone, including a nation-state actor, to alter actual ballot counts or election results by cyber attack or intrusion.

This assessment is based on the decentralized nature of our election system in this country and the number of protections state and local election officials have in place.
States ensure that voting machines are not connected to the Internet, and there are numerous checks and balances as well as extensive oversight at multiple levels built into our election process. Still, DHS is offering state officials assistance in improving the security of their systems, and several states have taken them up on the offer.

Through an Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity Working Group “DHS is providing several services to state and local election officials to assist in their cybersecurity,” officials explained. “These services include cyber ‘hygiene’ scans of Internet-facing systems, risk and vulnerability assessments, information sharing about cyber incidents, and best practices for securing voter registration databases and addressing potential cyber threats.” While DHS and ODNI are confident about the source of the hacks of the DNC and other organizations, the Justice Department shows no indication that it is ready to press a case against individuals in Russia as it did in the case of past intrusions blamed on China.

And beyond acknowledging Russia’s role, it’s not clear what sort of action the US can take in response.
A Central Texas police department issued a "breaking news alert" on Facebook, cautioning residents that meth and heroin in the Granite Shoals area "could be contaminated with the life-threatening disease Ebola." Last week's fake Facebook alert urged the public "NOT" to ingest those illicit drugs "until it has been properly checked for possible Ebola contamination" by the police department. The ploy netted one arrest, the Granite Shoals Police Department (GSPD) reported on Facebook.

A woman allegedly brought in her meth so the police department could analyze it for Ebola: This morning, we had our first concerned citizen notify the Granite Shoals Police Department (GSPD) that they believed their methamphetamine may be tainted. Our officers gladly took the item for further testing. Results and booking photos are pending. Please continue to report any possibly tainted methamphetamine or other narcotics to the Granite Shoals Police Department. Public health and safety continue to remain our #1 priority. ‪#‎notkidding‬ For the uninitiated, there are no Ebola-contaminated drugs.

The alert was a hoax played on the citizens of Granite Shoals, a town of about 5,000 northwest of Austin.

But the arrest of 29-year-old Chastity Eugina Hopson is not a joke.
She was accused of possessing under a gram of a controlled substance.

The police department described Hopson's arrest as "the winner of the Facebook post challenge." On Monday, the agency explained on Facebook why it undertook the practical joke.

The post railed against the media. "The news only wants to show law enforcement at our worst times and not at our best," the department wrote.

GSPD said the media also depicts that a law enforcement career "can eat your soul." The post ended this way: So we at the GSPD like to show all parts of the enforcement world on Facebook® and that includes our sense of humor.

To quote Jimmy Buffet, Changes in Latitude Changes in Attitude, “If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.” Look for more posts to come that include suspects we are seeking information on, safety updates, interactions with citizens, In The Line of Duty Deaths, and things that make us laugh.
I hope this will allow you to see who we are, humans, just like you. We have families, friends, lives, laugh, cry, and bleed all the same. Sgt. (Chris) Decker ‪#‎BlueLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎AllLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎HumanizingTheBadge
Admiral Michael Rogers is preparing a coalition of government, military and commercial interests to fight a global cyber war if necessary. BALTIMORE, Md. -- The chief warrior in the U.S. battle against the world's cyber-bad guys is just as worried about having his personal data breached as any of us. Also, like many of us, he admits to being a bit bewildered about how governments, enterprises and individuals can fend off insider attacks, DDoS event, zero-day exploits, malware and other security issues that have become as common as drinking water in this Age of Internet. But Admiral Michael S. Rogers (at left in photo with Jeffrey Wells), Chief of the U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Administration, is convinced that through effective working partnerships among government agencies, the military, law enforcement and key players in the private sector, long-term solutions will be found in the ongoing efforts to secure personal and business data and keep it out of the hands of cyber-criminals.  Rogers on Oct. 29 addressed attendees at the two-day Cyber Maryland Conference here at the Baltimore Convention Center. About 1,000 stakeholders were registered. eWEEK was on hand both to cover the event and to moderate a panel discussion on IoT security. Because more than 250 companies and service providers are located in the Maryland-Virginia-Washington D.C. region, it is fast becoming global Ground Zero for the cyber-security business. Cyber Maryland Initiative Providing Leadership in Security Sector Silicon Valley also has its indigenous security companies, but it also has so many other IT-related players that it simply cannot specialize the way Maryland can. Gov. Martin O'Malley, who also spoke at the Oct. 29-30 event, started the Cyber Maryland coalition initiative five years ago. Cyber Maryland promotes partnerships among government agencies, security software and services providers, educational institutions and security experts in an effort to drive innovation -- and create jobs -- in the sector. "Securing the IoT is a huge issue for all of us," Rogers said during a fireside-type chat with conference co-organizers Darin Andersen, founder and chairman of the San Diego-based CyberTECH, and Jeffrey Wells, Executive Director of Cyber Development in Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development.  "Literally every person on earth is a sensor. We have billions of devices. It's a daunting task. "We talked about BYOD a year ago, and we're still talking about it. From a cybersecurity perspective, that's a fundamental challenge -- plus, it's a society issue. I don't think we fully understand this yet -- the second and third order of effects [of securing the IoT], involving all this connectivity, all those devices and the public and the private interests. It brings amazing opportunities but also potential tremendous vulnerability. We've got to work our way through this," Rogers said. Advantages of Having All Those Connected Devices Are Great None of us is going to walk away from the conveniences these devices provide, Rogers said. "People on average have 3 to 5 or more connected devices; we will see many more in the future. How are we going to make this work, how are we going to secure them all? That's for all of us to work toward," Rogers told the audience. As for the ever-present threats posed by numerous malevalent forces around the world, Rogers acknowledged that there is much more work yet to be done but that he believes the cyber force he is building at the federal and military levels is up to holding its own. Then he integrated into the talk a hot news issue -- the idea of the Ebola virus -- that provided more food for thought. "What if we had an Ebola-like challenge in the Internet?" Rogers said. "Not something actually infectious, but what if we had something equivalent to that in digital form, that could replicate on a global scale, with the potential ability to impact our information flow? That's pretty amazing to me but we've got to think about it."
Helping a bird flu virus infect mammals is off the table pending review.
The question of how much data an individual should share was a key theme of Tim Berners-Lee's keynote speech at IP Expo in London. Addressing a packed conference room, the father of the web said opening up data for clinical trials is the only way to solve big problems and, in the event of a road accident, he would want any doctor to access his records. According to Berners-Lee, it is quite possible to build a system for the NHS where patient data can be shared in an accountable way.  In combating viruses like the Ebola outbreak, he said researchers were limited to looking at data from past trials. This information is restricted to the records of patients who participated.  "We need to make systems more open, because medical research on patient data is really important," he said. But he argued organisations should not probe for information, calling for the appropriate use of data – which extends to government access. Commenting on the US Patriot Act and spy agencies tapping internet traffics, Berners-Lee said: "I think surveillance is inevitable but not acceptable. We need a system built where there is an agency that watches the watchers." He also warned there needed to be a change in attitude. "Big data leaves a lot to be desired. We have to move on to a world with different attitudes," he said. Data alerts Berners-Lee described a possible way data updates could be shared in the same way shared electronic calendars work. While calendar synchronisation is rather crude, he argued it should be possible to build data collaboration tools that would allow important information to be shared among individuals.  Such tools would allow the public to dissect political debates, enabling them to make more informed decisions around important issues, or help researchers combat Ebola, he added. Web ethics Given the use of the web for distributing unsavoury material and viruses, as well as a vehicle for terrorists to spread fear, Berners-Lee defended the openness of the platform he created. When questioned on the ethics of the web, he said it reflected humanity.  "We see gruesome things and people will try to exploit it, but the web is not there to judge. It would be terrible if we had a web where you could only do nice things," he said. Big data leaves a lot to be desired. We have to move on to a world with different attitudes Tim Berners-Lee Some people argue the only way to protect the web is to make a walled garden of safe content, but Berners-Lee disagreed. "The world I see is predicated on an open neutral network," he said.  While the web is often criticised for being insecure, he argued it would not have succeeded if security was watertight. Looking at the global adoption of email, which is analogous to how the web has spread, Berners-Lee said: "It would have been really interesting if the email protocol needed a public key. It would not have taken off."  "We have to fit in security after the fact, but it would not have worked any other way," he added. He did not agree with the right to be forgotten on the internet, since it went against freedom of speech. While libel and slander legislation are there to protect people when the information about them in the public domain is wrong, he said: "The idea information that is true is expunged from public record is repugnant." Email Alerts Register now to receive ComputerWeekly.com IT-related news, guides and more, delivered to your inbox. By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy Read More Related content from ComputerWeekly.com RELATED CONTENT FROM THE TECHTARGET NETWORK