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NSA broadens funding for 4 universities to advance the science of cybersecurity

NSA broadens funding for 4 universities to advance the science of cybersecurity

The National Security Agency is expanding funding for several universities to continue scientific research into cyber security.

The intelligence agency awarded contracts to North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 and recently announced that these three universities along with the University of Maryland would receive additional funding.

NSA’s initial 2012 funding to the three universities lasts through June 2014, reports Federal Computer Week. The most recent funding for all four universities will enable them to conduct unclassified research for one year, FCW said, adding the government then has the right to exercise two one-year option periods to continue research. Each university will receive $1 million to $2.5 million for the first year, for a total of about $8.2 million, said FCW, and results from each lablet will be published by the Science of Security Virtual Organization.

Basic research by these lablets, or small labs, will focus on five problem areas including scalability and composability, policy-governed secure collaboration, security metrics, resilient architectures, and understanding and accounting for human behavior.

The NSA, the private sector and other organizations have been pushing to develop a science of security, which is essentially a rigorous scientific foundation to help advance cybersecurity. In other words, scientific research is conducted on how security systems are designed, built, used and maintained so that security challenges can be better understood and addressed, versus an ad hoc or patchwork approach to identify and remove specific threats with limited scope.

Over the last three years, the NSA said it has funded almost 300 departments at universities to develop lablets and create a research community into the science of security.

For more:
– go to the NSA announcement

Mexican Cartel Allegedly Hired MS-13 To Carry Out Torture Operation In Minnesota

Mexican Cartel Allegedly Hired MS-13 To Carry Out Torture Operation In Minnesota

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is a long way away from the home turf of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, but that didn’t stop three cartel enforcers from making their way up the region in an attempt to hunt down two teenagers they accused of stealing drugs and money from a stash house.

The three enforcers were allegedly sent from Los Angeles to St. Paul on orders from the Sinaloa cartel to find the people who stole 30 pounds of methamphetamine and $200,000 from a stash house in St. Paul. The two teens that the cartel hit men snagged were tortured, had their lives and that that of their families threatened and were told to find the missing drugs or come up with $300,000 to compensate the cartel, according to court documents obtained by the (Minneapolis)Star Tribune newspaper.

Read more.

Interesting news in the wake of El Chapo’s capture.

Former director of Venezuelan spy agency shot dead in Caracas

http://intelnews.org/2014/04/30/01-1465/#more-10990

The former director of Venezuela’s primary intelligence agency has been found shot dead. Venezuelan officials said Eliézer Otaiza was shot dead sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning in Baruta, a suburb in the outskirts of capital Caracas. His bullet-ridden vehicle was later found abandoned in another part of the same barrio.

Venezuela’s Minister of the Interior, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, told reporters on Tuesday that Otaiza’s body was discovered on Saturday, but that it took nearly two days for him to be identified due to the absence of identification documents on the body. At the time of his assassination, Otaiza headed the Libertador Bolivarian Municipality in Caracas which numbers over two million residents. Earlier in his career, however, Otaiza led an elite unit of the personal guard corps of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The latter also appointed him director of the National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP), later renamed Bolivarian Intelligence Service, which is today Venezuela’s foremost intelligence organization. Otaiza was known as a stalwart supporter of Venezuela’s populist president, even in the early 1990s, when Chavez was still in opposition. In February of 1992, when Chavez led a failed military coup aimed at ousting President Carlos Andres Perez, Otaiza had been unable to participate on account of his absence from Venezuela. But he played a leading role in another pro-Chavez military mutiny in November of that year, when he led a small military force attempting to storm the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. He was shot several times in the chest but survived thanks to a bulletproof vest he was wearing. Venezuelan government media said Otaiza played “an important part in the events leading to the Bolivarian revolution”, and remained a strong supporter of Chavez throughout the president’s life.

Otaiza was last seen leaving a friend’s house in Caracas late on Friday night. Minister Torres, who also leads the Bolivarian Intelligence Service, said on Tuesday that Otaiza’s body was found bearing at least four bullet wounds. Police said no clear motive for his assassination has been established at this time. But they added that the circumstances around the killing had been deemed “suspicious” and announced that an official investigation into the case had been ordered by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

‘A Partner for Russia’: Europe’s Far Right Flirts with Moscow

‘A Partner for Russia’: Europe’s Far Right Flirts with Moscow

The cooperation between the European far right and Russia has been developing for some time. A report published by the Budapest-based Political Capital Institute in March, called “The Russian Connection: The Spread of Pro-Russian Policies on the European Far Right,” notes that Moscow has shown an interest in Eastern European right-wing parties for several years now. The paper notes that, while admiration for Russia is not universal in Europe’s ultra-conservative scene, there is a widespread “ideological and political affinity” between the far right and Russia.”

Finally, something that makes some sense out of all of the almost pro-Putin rhetoric I’ve been seeing from the likes of people like Alex Jones and other right-wing media, and especially some progressive conspiracy circles. This also explains why RT has peddled conspiracy in the past. It serves Russia to thwart the Eastern Establishment. I never really understood why a lot of the right-leaning media was almost taking the side of Putin, blaming the west for planting agents in the uprising, exposing the fraudulent activist video put out by the CFR, and generally advocating that Crimea had, in fact, voted to be part of Russia. The power politics are rather complicated, but I will say again that it makes sense when people on the right (i.e., those who are anti-UN, anti-NGO, anti-liberal establishment, etc.) have similar interests as Russia in undermining Western objectives.

NIST drops random number generator under suspicion of NSA tampering

For those of you who don’t know, certain forms of analysis require the usage of random number generators. A basic example of this can be found in even in the most widespread of programs like Microsoft Excel.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has discovered weaknesses in a number generating algorithm, and it is essentially blaming the NSA for creating backdoors to these generators. Randomness is crucial for different types of analysis/modeling. If your numbers are not random, it will adversely affect your analysis. Accusations like these are not new, however. NIST will no longer be using the algorithm – the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator.

Another interesting tidbit from the article:

NIST advised in September against using the DUAL_EC_DRBG module, shortly after news reports based on leaks from Edward Snowden appeared to confirm earlier suggestions dating from the algorithm’s 2006 publication that the NSA inserted a backdoor into it.

 

NIST drops random number generator under suspicion of NSA tampering

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