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  1. Operating systems play a crucial role in computer systems, serving as the fundamental infrastructure that supports a wide range of applications and services. However, they are also prime targets for malicious actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise system security. This is a crucial area that requires active research; however, OS vulnerabilities have not been actively studied in recent years. Therefore, we conduct a comprehensive analysis of OS vulnerabilities, aiming to enhance the understanding of their trends, severity, and common weaknesses. Our research methodology encompasses data preparation, sampling of vulnerable OS categories and versions, and an in-depth analysis of trends, severity levels, and types of OS vulnerabilities. We scrape the high-level data from reliable and recognized sources to generate two refined OS vulnerability datasets: one for OS categories and another for OS versions. Our study reveals the susceptibility of popular operating systems such as Windows, Windows Server, Debian Linux, and Mac OS. Specifically, Windows 10, Windows 11, Android (v11.0, v12.0, v13.0), Windows Server 2012, Debian Linux (v10.0, v11.0), Fedora 37, and HarmonyOS 2, are identified as the most vulnerable OS versions in recent years (2021–2022). Notably, these vulnerabilities exhibit a high severity, with maximum CVSS scores falling into the 7–8 and 9–10 range. Common vulnerability types, including CWE-119, CWE-20, CWE-200, and CWE-787, are prevalent in these OSs and require specific attention from OS vendors. The findings on trends, severity, and types of OS vulnerabilities from this research will serve as a valuable resource for vendors, security professionals, and end-users, empowering them to enhance OS security measures, prioritize vulnerability management efforts, and make informed decisions to mitigate risks associated with these vulnerabilities. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Solomon, Latasha ; Schwartz, Peter J. (Ed.)
    In recent years, computer vision has made significant strides in enabling machines to perform a wide range of tasks, from image classification and segmentation to image generation and video analysis. It is a rapidly evolving field that aims to enable machines to interpret and understand visual information from the environment. One key task in computer vision is image classification, where algorithms identify and categorize objects in images based on their visual features. Image classification has a wide range of applications, from image search and recommendation systems to autonomous driving and medical diagnosis. However, recent research has highlighted the presence of bias in image classification algorithms, particularly with respect to human-sensitive attributes such as gender, race, and ethnicity. Some examples are computer programmers being predicted better in the context of men in images compared to women, and the accuracy of the algorithm being better on greyscale images compared to colored images. This discrepancy in identifying objects is developed through correlation the algorithm learns from the objects in context known as contextual bias. This bias can result in inaccurate decisions, with potential consequences in areas such as hiring, healthcare, and security. In this paper, we conduct an empirical study to investigate bias in the image classification domain based on sensitive attribute gender using deep convolutional neural networks (CNN) through transfer learning and minimize bias within the image context using data augmentation to improve overall model performance. In addition, cross-data generalization experiments are conducted to evaluate model robustness across popular open-source image datasets. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 12, 2024
  3. Sensor-powered devices offer safe global connections; cloud scalability and flexibility, and new business value driven by data. The constraints that have historically obstructed major innovations in technology can be addressed by advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), cloud, quantum computing, and the ubiquitous availability of data. Edge AI (Edge Artificial Intelligence) refers to the deployment of AI applications on the edge device near the data source rather than in a cloud computing environment. Although edge data has been utilized to make inferences in real-time through predictive models, real-time machine learning has not yet been fully adopted. Real-time machine learning utilizes real-time data to learn on the go, which helps in faster and more accurate real-time predictions and eliminates the need to store data eradicating privacy issues. In this article, we present the practical prospect of developing a physical threat detection system using real-time edge data from security cameras/sensors to improve the accuracy, efficiency, reliability, security, and privacy of the real-time inference model. 
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  4. Pham, Tien ; Solomon, Latasha ; Hohil, Myron E. (Ed.)
    Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) is the capability of explaining the reasoning behind the choices made by the machine learning (ML) algorithm which can help understand and maintain the transparency of the decision-making capability of the ML algorithm. Humans make thousands of decisions every day in their lives. Every decision an individual makes, they can explain the reasons behind why they made the choices that they made. Nonetheless, it is not the same in the case of ML and AI systems. Furthermore, XAI was not wideley researched until suddenly the topic was brought forward and has been one of the most relevant topics in AI for trustworthy and transparent outcomes. XAI tries to provide maximum transparency to a ML algorithm by answering questions about how models effectively came up with the output. ML models with XAI will have the ability to explain the rationale behind the results, understand the weaknesses and strengths the learning models, and be able to see how the models will behave in the future. In this paper, we investigate XAI for algorithmic trustworthiness and transparency. We evaluate XAI using some example use cases and by using SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanations) library and visualizing the effect of features individually and cumulatively in the prediction process. 
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  5. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe pneumonia-like symptoms and is still pose a significant threat to global public health. A key component in the virulence of MERS-CoV is the Spike (S) protein, which binds with the host membrane receptor dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4). The goal of the present investigation is to examine the effects of missense mutations in the MERS-CoV S protein on protein stability and binding affinity with DPP4 to provide insight that is useful in developing vaccines to prevent coronavirus infection. We utilized a saturation mutagenesis approach to simulate all possible mutations in the MERS-CoV full-length S, S Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) and DPP4. We found the mutations in MERS-CoV S protein residues, G552, C503, C526, N468, G570, S532, S451, S419, S465, and S435, affect protein stability. We identified key residues, G538, E513, V555, S557, L506, L507, R511, M452, D537, and S454 in the S protein RBD region are important in the binding of MERS-CoV S protein to the DPP4 receptor. We investigated the effects of MERS-CoV S protein viral mutations on protein stability and binding affinity. In addition, we studied all DPP4 mutations and found the functional substitution R336T weakens both DPP4 protein stability and S-DPP4 binding affinity. We compared the S protein structures of MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 viruses and identified the residues like C526, C383, and N468 located in equivalent positions of these viruses have effects on S protein structure. These findings provide further information on how mutations in coronavirus S proteins effect protein function. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
  7. null (Ed.)
    Cyber-threats are continually evolving and growing in numbers and extreme complexities with the increasing connectivity of the Internet of Things (IoT). Existing cyber-defense tools seem not to deter the number of successful cyber-attacks reported worldwide. If defense tools are not seldom, why does the cyber-chase trend favor bad actors? Although cyber-defense tools monitor and try to diffuse intrusion attempts, research shows the required agility speed against evolving threats is way too slow. One of the reasons is that many intrusion detection tools focus on anomaly alerts’ accuracy, assuming that pre-observed attacks and subsequent security patches are adequate. Well, that is not the case. In fact, there is a need for techniques that go beyond intrusion accuracy against specific vulnerabilities to the prediction of cyber-defense performance for improved proactivity. This paper proposes a combination of cyber-attack projection and cyber-defense agility estimation to dynamically but reliably augur intrusion detection performance. Since cyber-security is buffeted with many unknown parameters and rapidly changing trends, we apply a machine learning (ML) based hidden markov model (HMM) to predict intrusion detection agility. HMM is best known for robust prediction of temporal relationships mid noise and training brevity corroborating our high prediction accuracy on three major open-source network intrusion detection systems, namely Zeek, OSSEC, and Suricata. Specifically, we present a novel approach for combined projection, prediction, and cyber-visualization to enable precise agility analysis of cyber defense. We also evaluate the performance of the developed approach using numerical results. 
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