Feeds

Texas profs use AI news-ware to ID terror groups

Pundit-in-a-box tech beats spooks, claim developers

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

American computer academics say they have created an artificial-intelligence-based computer program which can scan news reports to swiftly identify which terrorist group is behind an outrage. They claim the "open source intelligence"* scanner gave good results in the wake of last year's Mumbai attack.

"Our group has written software in the highly flexible Python programming language that allows us to ask who might be the responsible party for a terrorist incident using a certain set of parameters, such as weaponry employed, choice of target and tactics," says Christopher Bronk, who is "Fellow in Technology, Society and Public Policy" at Rice Uni in Texas.

According to the Rice coders, their terrorist-snifferware uses "the latest techniques from artificial intelligence". It trawls through a mighty database of news reports compiled by the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG) at Sam Houston State University.

It seems that as the Mumbai outrages unfolded last year, Rice undergrad Sean Graham began feeding news reports into the mighty program. In a trice, seemingly, it had ID'd the radical group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba as the most likely suspect - as fast or faster than the world's intelligence agencies were able to.

"We designed the software to better assign attribution in terror attacks, and it appears to have worked," said Bronk, a former diplomat and leading light of the US State Department Office of eDiplomacy.

"It allowed us to match signatures and say, with some confidence, what groups had the requisite experience, resources and coordinating factors to pull off the Mumbai attacks."

Bronk collaborated with politics prof Richard Stoll, computing boffin Devika Subramanian and some students to produce the code. His thoughts on the initiative can be read here. ®

Bootnote

*This isn't the IT usage of "open source". Spies and intel wonks like to refer to stuff anyone can access - eg internet news reports - as "open source intelligence", as opposed to classified stuff produced by organisations like the CIA, MI6/SIS, military intelligence etc.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.