Why Scientists Should Stop Misusing Science To Influence The Election

Earlier this month, the editors of Scientific American, published an all-out, endorsement of Joe Biden for President—something unprecedented in the journal’s 175 year history. Then, last week, all of the New England Journal of Medicine’s editors signed a scathing review of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 emergency, calling for Trump to be voted out of office.

In truth, both editorials offer several valid criticisms of the administration on scientific grounds. And to be clear: The present article is not making any counter-endorsement of Donald Trump—far from it.

Rather, we pose an important question: Are high-profile scientists crossing a dangerous line by using their trusted platforms to influence the election? Based on behavioral science, we believe they are and their actions come at the risk of diminishing the public’s trust in

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Microsoft takes down hacking network with potential to disrupt election

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Microsoft obtained a court order to disrupt the largest botnet in the world.


Angela Lang/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

A group of tech companies dismantled a powerful hacking tool used by Russian attackers just three weeks before the US presidential election. On Monday, Microsoft announced actions against Trickbot, a Russian botnet that’s infected more than a million computers since 2016 and that’s behind scores of ransomware attacks. 

Cybersecurity experts have raised concerns about ransomware attacks casting doubt on election results. While a ransomware attack wouldn’t change votes and could only lock up machines, the chaos stirred by a cyberattack could create uncertainty about the outcome of the results. 

Election officials in most states have offline backup measures in the event of a ransomware attack, but have a harder time tackling the disinformation that comes with getting hacked.

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Court Orders Seizure of Ransomware Botnet Controls as U.S. Election Nears | Technology News

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Microsoft said Monday it had used a court order to take control of computers that were installing ransomware and other malicious software on local government networks and threatening to disrupt the November election.

The maker of the Windows operating system said it seized a series of internet protocol addresses hosted by U.S. companies that had been directing activity on computers infected with Trickbot, one of the most common pieces of malware in the world.

More than a million computers have been infected with Trickbot, and the operators use the software to install more pernicious programs, including ransomware, for both criminal groups and national governments that pay for the access, researchers said.

Trickbot has shown up in a number of public governments, which could be hurt worse if the operators encrypt files or install programs that interfere with voter registration records or the display and public reporting

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Cyber Command has sought to disrupt the world’s largest botnet, hoping to reduce its potential impact on the election

The effort is part of what Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of Cyber Command, calls “persistent engagement,” or the imposition of cumulative costs on an adversary by keeping them constantly engaged. And that is a key feature of CyberCom’s activities to help protect the election against foreign threats, officials said.

“Right now, my top priority is for a safe, secure, and legitimate 2020 election,” Nakasone said in August in a set of written responses to Washington Post questions. “The Department of Defense, and Cyber Command specifically, are supporting a broader ‘whole-of-government’ approach to secure our elections.”

Trickbot is malware that can steal financial data and drop other malicious software onto infected systems. Cyber criminals have used it to install ransomware, a particularly nasty form of malware that encrypts users’ data and for which the criminals then demand payment — usually in cryptocurrency — to unlock.

Brian Krebs, who writes the

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The Case for Buying Asia Stocks Over U.S. Ones as Election Nears

Japan Stocks Look to Cap Fourth Weekly Gain After Rate Decisions

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

An expected surge in election-related volatility in the U.S. stock market is paving the way for Asian shares to make a run at besting their American peers.

Since hitting an all-time low relative to the S&P 500 on Sept. 2, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index has outperformed the U.S. benchmark by almost five percentage points. That nascent trend is expected to persist at least through the November poll and potentially beyond, according to strategists.

Asia-Pacific stocks languishing close to record relative low vs U.S.

“There is a better than average chance that Asian stocks will outperform U.S. stocks over the course of the next month,” said Eoin Murray, head of investment for international business at Federated Hermes. “The volatility rise will be more pronounced in U.S. risk assets, and will pervade more globally but with less strength.”

Fears about a contested election result and President Donald Trump’s decision not to push for further stimulus

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Twitter Adds Major Changes Ahead of 2020 Election Day

Illustration for article titled Twitter Takes One More Crack at Preserving Democracy

Photo: Olivier DOULIERY / AFP (Getty Images)

Twitter on Friday announced changes that it hopes will limit the spread of disinformation surrounding the 2020 election, even if the bullshit is coming from inside the White House.

The tweaks are among the most aggressive by a major social media platform to muffle election-related misinformation to date. But with the future of American democracy hanging on a Donald Trump tweetstorm and mere weeks until Election Day, we’re all just going to have to cross our fingers that this does anything at all.

The first change to Twitter’s platform includes adding warning “prompts” to tweets with “misleading information” when users try to retweet them; users will also be encouraged to quote tweet—i.e., add their own commentary to a “disputed” tweet—rather than simply retweet the misleading information without additional context. Twitter won’t stop you from simply retweeting misinformation, but it hopes

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Twitter tightens limits on candidates ahead of US election

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Twitter is imposing tough new rules that restrict candidates from declaring premature victory and tighten its measures against spreading misinformation, calling for political violence and spreading thoughtless commentary in the days leading up to and following the Nov. 3 U.S. election.

The social platform will remove tweets that encourage violence or call for people to interfere with election results. Tweets that falsely claim a candidate has won will be labeled to direct users to the official U.S. election results page on Twitter.

Twitter said Friday it is will also make it more difficult to retweet posts it has labeled to highlight the presence of misleading information — whether about COVID, civic integrity or for including manipulated photos or videos. Beginning next week, people who want to retweet such posts will see a prompt pointing them to credible information about the topic before they are able to

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Twitter bans calls for polling disruptions and early victory declarations to curb election abuse

Twitter’s moves, like those announced recently by Facebook, are aimed mainly at combating efforts to manipulate the political landscape at critical moments in the hotly contested national vote. The policy changes are the culmination of years of reforms intended to prevent a repeat of 2016′s electoral debacle on social media, when disinformation, false news reports and Russian interference rampaged virtually unchecked across all major platforms.

“Twitter has a critical role to play in protecting the integrity of the election conversation, and we encourage candidates, campaigns, news outlets and voters to use Twitter respectfully and to recognize our collective responsibility to the electorate to guarantee a safe, fair and legitimate democratic process this November,” company officials said in a blog post published at noon Friday. The authors were Vijaya Gadde, the Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead at Twitter, and Kayvon Beykpour, its product lead.

The moves are likely to

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The Technology 202: Facebook’s new ad limits highlight pressure to prepare for chaotic election aftermath

The social network says the move is intended to limit misinformation and abuse of its service, following broad criticism that it has not done enough to stamp out falsehoods on its platform. Facebook hasn’t said how long the ad suspension will last, but in an internal memo to its sales staff that was obtained by the Washington Post, executives told staff to tell advertisers the ban would last a week.

The changes less than a month before Election Day underscore how tech companies are scrambling to address a fast-changing political environment. 

Tech companies have been making key changes to rein in disinformation since Russia used their platforms in 2016 to divide and sow discord among Americans. But critics say many of those steps to limit foreign influence haven’t gone far enough to address disinformation emanating from within the United States – often from the megaphone of the president. 

Social media

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As election draws closer, the NBA continues calls to vote

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Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) reacts after no foul was called against the Miami Heat during the second half in Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

AP

Udonis Haslem is honest about it: Elections simply have not been overly important to him.

That is, until now.

He’s been a registered voter since 2004, so it’s not like he’s been unaware of the process or how it works. But it’s also been far from a passion project for Haslem, the Miami Heat forward who serves as a team captain and tries to set an example for every other player in the locker room. So, this year, that meant getting involved in the election process.

“Growing up in my household, voting was never a conversation,” Haslem said. “Voting was never a conversation when I went

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