73 research outputs found

    Measuring the cost and impact of cybercrime in Belgium (BCC): D3.1.2 Risk perception monitor report (2 nd wave, 2017)

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    Edward Snowden’s testimony about the PRISM program has clarified the intense and widespread practice of surveillance on the Internet and social media by governments. The leaked documents provided by Snowden indicated how the PRISM program had access to users’ data from various ICT companies, such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. According to the whistleblower, the NSA further “impersonated Facebook in an attempt to trick users into downloading malicious code in its attempt to install malware on millions of computers which gives NSA control over users’ computers” (“NSA posed as Facebook,” 2014). The recent attack of the ransomware dubbed Wanna cry had victimisation rates of more than 200.000 computers in more than 150 computers and 10.000 organizations, it affected several hospitals, governmental agencies and private companies (Liptak, 2017). It took Equifax five months to report a hack into their servers that compromised 143.000.000 social security numbers that allowed hackers to pretend to be any of the victims in any given circumstance, such as the request of a new visa card (Lynley, 2017). These are just some examples to show that citizens, businesses and governments are often targeted and impacted by what has been labelled as cybercrime. The booming of Internet technology (IT) creates many opportunities and permeates almost all aspects of our daily life (World Economic Forum, 2015). Today we live in a networked society with cloud computing, online transactions and other new interactions made possible by internet technology (Bendovschi, 2015). Unfortunately, IT also facilitates existing and new threats such as cybercrime (Tsakalidis & Vergidis, 2017). Cybercrime is an umbrella term for different online threats such as malware, scams, hacking and surveillance It can come as no surprise that cybercrime is growing globally (Interpol, 2017) given that estimated internet penetration of 2016 is up to more than 40% globally, for Belgium that is 88,5% (Internet live stats, 2017). This internet-penetration implies that more and more people are exposed to all the risks and threats that are inherent to the online world, cybercrime is one of them (Verdegem, Teerlinck & Vermote, 2015). This study is part of a systematical investigation in Belgium about the costs and impact of cybercrime. The overall goal of this project is to assess the harms and costs of cybercrime on the government, industry and citizens. The latter insights substantiate and guarantee an evidence-based and effective cybersecurity policy, which, in turn, helps to defend all the involved parties. Different research departments from the KU Leuven and the Ugent are involved in this project: the KU Leuven Centre for IT and IP Law (CiTiP) and the KU Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC) as coordinator of the project, the KU Leuven imec-Distrinet Research Group, the KU Leuven imec-COSIC Research Group and the UGent imec-MICT. The current study focusses on Belgian citizens and their online practices in order to describe the cost and impact of cybercrime. Specifically, we aim to demystify the process to protection and identify core target groups for risk communication by means of quantitative research. Our research consists of two separate but consecutive survey waves (as described in Work Package 3). The first wave of WP3 has been undertaken by imec-MICT as is the second and last wave. The first wave consisted of a large-scale quantitative survey (n=1033) which was conducted in the first quarter of 2015. The current wave consists of a follow-up survey in the last quarter of 2017 (n=1258). These two waves give us the possibility to compare results of the 2015 survey with the 2017 survey and thus compare the online practices of the average Belgian citizen over time. The research leading to these results has received funding from the BRAIN-be research program of the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) under grant agreement number BR/132/A4/BCC. In addition, we would like to thank the different partners in the BCC-project for their input and support. Lastly, we want to thank the respondents who filled in our surveys

    Anti-correlations in the degree distribution increase stimulus detection performance in noisy spiking neural networks

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    Neuronal circuits in the rodent barrel cortex are characterized by stable low firing rates. However, recent experiments show that short spike trains elicited by electrical stimulation in single neurons can induce behavioral responses. Hence, the underlying neural networks provide stability against internal fluctuations in the firing rate, while simultaneously making the circuits sensitive to small external perturbations. Here we studied whether stability and sensitivity are affected by the connectivity structure in recurrently connected spiking networks. We found that anti-correlation between the number of afferent (in-degree) and efferent (out-degree) synaptic connections of neurons increases stability against pathological bursting, relative to networks where the degrees were either positively correlated or uncorrelated. In the stable network state, stimulation of a few cells could lead to a detectable change in the firing rate. To quantify the ability of networks to detect the stimulation, we used a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. For a given level of background noise, networks with anti-correlated degrees displayed the lowest false positive rates, and consequently had the highest stimulus detection performance. We propose that anti-correlation in the degree distribution may be a computational strategy employed by sensory cortices to increase the detectability of external stimuli. We show that networks with anti-correlated degrees can in principle be formed by applying learning rules comprised of a combination of spike-timing dependent plasticity, homeostatic plasticity and pruning to networks with uncorrelated degrees. To test our prediction we suggest a novel experimental method to estimate correlations in the degree distribution

    Algoritmes en Artificiële Intelligentie in een medische context : een studie naar de perceptie, mening en houding van Vlaamse burgers

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    In steeds meer contexten wordt data gebruikt om inschattingen te maken en suggesties te geven. De ontwikkeling van Artificiële Intelligentie (AI) en het gebruik van algoritmes wakkert die dorst naar data enkel maar aan. Zo is gepersonaliseerde content, denk maar aan de suggesties die je krijgt op Netflix of Youtube, niet meer weg te denken uit onze alledaagse online omgeving. In de medische sector bestaan er ook systemen die inschattingen maken op basis van jouw persoonlijke data. Zo zijn er chatbots, zoals ADA health, die aan de hand van persoonsgegevens en een online conversatie een inschatting maken of je ziek bent en hiervoor naar de dokter moet. Andere systemen, zoals IBM Watson, analyseren röntgenfoto’s op basis van wetenschappelijke literatuur en patiëntgegevens om een inschatting te maken of een persoon kanker heeft en welke behandeling het meest is aangewezen. In de context van de huidige COVID-19 pandemie, worden ook steeds vaker persoonlijke gegevens zoals je locatie, je contacten en je gezondheidstoestand verzameld om een inschatting te maken van het risico op besmetting zoals de Canadese COVI app. Ook andere gegevens, zoals je stem, kunnen bijvoorbeeld door de COVID-19 Sounds app gebruikt worden om als mogelijke COVID-19 indicator te dienen. In Vlaanderen zijn er ook steeds vaker contexten waarbij persoonlijke gegevens verzameld en gebruikt worden door organisaties om zo’n inschattingen te maken. De Vlaamse overheid investeert in allerlei AI-opportuniteiten, zo ook in de medische sector. Het is belangrijk bij te dragen aan de verdere digitalisering en hoe artificiële intelligente hier een plaats kent. Evenzeer is het belangrijk de Vlaamse burger een stem te verlenen in dit debat: Hoe staat de Vlaming tegenover slimme medische algoritmes? Welke bedrijven vertrouwen ze met welke gegevens? Welke context vinden ze aanvaardbaar en wat verwachten ze van de overheid in deze situaties? Om hier een antwoord op te formuleren hebben we in Juni 2020 een online survey uitgevoerd bij een representatieve sample van 1082 Vlamingen (representatief op geslacht, leeftijd en opleidingsniveau)

    Expression of hypoxia-induced proteins in ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive cancer of the male breast

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    AIMS: The aim of this study was to determine the role of hypoxia in male breast carcinogenesis by evaluating the expression of the hypoxia-related proteins, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) and glucose transporter-1 (Glut-1), in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the male breast in relation to invasive cancer (IC). METHODS: Tumour tissue blocks of 18 cases of pure DCIS, 58 DCIS cases adjacent to IC (DCIS-AIC) and the 58 IC cases were stained by immunohistochemistry for HIF-1α, CAIX and Glut-1, and expression frequencies and patterns (diffuse and/or perinecrotic) were noted. RESULTS: HIF-1α overexpression was observed in 61.1% (11/18) of pure DCIS, in 37.9% (22/58) of DCIS-AIC and in 36.2% (21/58) of IC cases (not significant (n.s.)). CAIX overexpression was observed in 16.7% (3/18) of pure DCIS, in 37.9% (22/58) of DCIS-AIC and in 24.1% (14/58) of IC cases (n.s.). Glut-1 overexpression was observed in 61.1% (11/18) of pure DCIS, in 75.9% (44/58) of DCIS-AIC and in 62.1% (36/58) of IC cases (n.s.). Expression of hypoxia-related proteins was seen around necrosis in a little over one-third of DCIS cases, and often coincided with expression in adjacent IC when present. All these observations indicate that the hypoxia response is already at its maximum in the preinvasive DCIS stage. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, male DCIS frequently shows activated hypoxia response, comparable to male IC. This indicates that the activated hypoxia response previously seen in male IC is not a late bystander but likely a genuine carcinogenetic event

    A two-minute walking test with a smartphone app for persons with multiple sclerosis:Validation study

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    BACKGROUND: Walking disturbances are a common dysfunction in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). The 2-Minute Walking Test (2MWT) is widely used to quantify walking speed. We implemented a smartphone-based 2MWT (s2MWT) in MS sherpa, an app for persons with MS. When performing the s2MWT, users of the app are instructed to walk as fast as safely possible for 2 minutes in the open air, while the app records their movement and calculates the distance walked. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to investigate the concurrent validity and test-retest reliability of the MS sherpa s2MWT. METHODS: We performed a validation study on 25 persons with relapsing-remitting MS and 79 healthy control (HC) participants. In the HC group, 21 participants were matched to the persons with MS based on age, gender, and education and these followed the same assessment schedule as the persons with MS (the HC-matched group), whereas 58 participants had a less intense assessment schedule to determine reference values (the HC-normative group). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were determined between the distance measured by the s2MWT and the distance measured using distance markers on the pavement during these s2MWT assessments. ICCs were also determined for test-retest reliability and derived from 10 smartphone tests per study participant, with 3 days in between each test. We interviewed 7 study participants with MS regarding their experiences with the s2MWT. RESULTS: In total, 755 s2MWTs were completed. The adherence rate for the persons with MS and the participants in the HC-matched group was 92.4% (425/460). The calculated distance walked on the s2MWT was, on average, 8.43 m or 5% (SD 18.9 m or 11%) higher than the distance measured using distance markers (n=43). An ICC of 0.817 was found for the concurrent validity of the s2MWT in the combined analysis of persons with MS and HC participants. Average ICCs of 9 test-retest reliability analyses of the s2MWT for persons with MS and the participants in the HC-matched group were 0.648 (SD 0.150) and 0.600 (SD 0.090), respectively, whereas the average ICC of 2 test-retest reliability analyses of the s2MWT for the participants in the HC-normative group was 0.700 (SD 0.029). The interviewed study participants found the s2MWT easy to perform, but they also expressed that the test results can be confronting and that a pressure to reach a certain distance can be experienced. CONCLUSIONS: The high correlation between s2MWT distance and the conventional 2MWT distance indicates a good concurrent validity. Similarly, high correlations underpin a good test-retest reliability of the s2MWT. We conclude that the s2MWT can be used to measure the distance that the persons with MS walk in 2 minutes outdoors near their home, from which both clinical studies and clinical practice can benefit

    MicroRNAs as possible indicators of drug sensitivity in breast cancer cell lines

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    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. In this way they might influence whether a cell is sensitive or resistant to a certain drug. So far, only a limited number of relatively small scale studies comprising few cell lines and/or drugs have been performed. To obtain a broader view on miRNAs and their association with drug response, we investigated the expression levels of 411 miRNAs in relation to drug sensitivity in 36 breast cancer cell lines. For this purpose IC50 values of a drug screen involving 34 drugs were associated with miRNA expression data of the same breast cancer cell lines. Since molecular subtype of the breast cancer cell lines is considered a confounding factor in drug association studies, multivariate analysis taking subtype into account was performed on significant miRNA-drug associations which retained 13 associations. These associations consisted of 11 different miRNAs and eight different drugs (among which Paclitaxel, Docetaxel and Veliparib). The taxanes, Paclitaxel and Docetaxel, were the only drugs having miRNAs in common: hsa-miR-187-5p and hsa-miR-106a-3p indicative of drug resistance while Paclitaxel sensitivity alone associated with hsa-miR-556-5p. Tivantinib was associated with hsalet-7d-5p and hsa-miR-18a-5p for sensitivity and hsa-miR-637 for resistance. Drug sensitivity was associated with hsa-let-7a-5p for Bortezomib, hsa-miR-135a-3p for JNJ-707 and hsa-miR-185-3p for Panobinostat. Drug resistance was associated with hsa-miR-182-5p for Veliparib and hsa-miR-629-5p for Tipifarnib. Pathway analysis for significant miRNAs was performed to reveal biological roles, aiding to find a potential mechanistic link for the observed associations with drug response. By doing so hsa-miR-187-5p was linked to the cell cycle G2-M checkpoint in line with this checkpoint being the target of taxanes. In conclusion, our study shows that miRNAs could potentially serve as biomarkers for intrinsic drug resistance and that pathway analyses can provide additional information in this contex

    MiRNA expression profiling of 51 human breast cancer cell lines reveals subtype and driver mutation-specific miRNAs

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    Introduction: Breast cancer is a genetically and phenotypically complex disease. To understand the role of miRNAs in this molecular complexity, we performed miRNA expression analysis in a cohort of molecularly well-characterized human breast cancer cell lines to identify miRNAs associated with the most common molecular subtypes and the most frequent genetic aberrations. Methods: Using a microarray carrying LNA™ modified oligonucleotide capture probes), expression levels of 725 human miRNAs were measured in 51 breast cancer cell lines. Differential miRNA expression was explored by unsupervised cluster analysis and was then associated with the molecular subtypes and genetic aberrations commonly present in breast cancer. Results: Unsupervised cluster analysis using the most variably expressed miRNAs divided the 51 breast cancer cell lines into a major and a minor cluster predominantly mirroring the luminal and basal intrinsic subdivision of breast cancer cell lines. One hundred and thirteen miRNAs were differentially expressed between these two main clusters. Forty miRNAs were differentially expressed between basal-like and normal-like/claudin-low cell lines. Within the luminal-group, 39 miRNAs were associated with ERBB2 overexpression and 24 with E-cadherin gene mutations, which are frequent in this subtype of breast cancer cell lines. In contrast, 31 miRNAs were associated with E-cadherin promoter hypermethylation, which, contrary to E-cadherin mutation, is exclusively observed in breast cancer cell lines that are not of luminal origin. Thirty miRNAs were associated with p16INK4 status while only a fe

    Reliability and accuracy of single-molecule FRET studies for characterization of structural dynamics and distances in proteins

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    Single-molecule Förster-resonance energy transfer (smFRET) experiments allow the study of biomolecular structure and dynamics in vitro and in vivo. We performed an international blind study involving 19 laboratories to assess the uncertainty of FRET experiments for proteins with respect to the measured FRET efficiency histograms, determination of distances, and the detection and quantification of structural dynamics. Using two protein systems with distinct conformational changes and dynamics, we obtained an uncertainty of the FRET efficiency ≤0.06, corresponding to an interdye distance precision of ≤2 Å and accuracy of ≤5 Å. We further discuss the limits for detecting fluctuations in this distance range and how to identify dye perturbations. Our work demonstrates the ability of smFRET experiments to simultaneously measure distances and avoid the averaging of conformational dynamics for realistic protein systems, highlighting its importance in the expanding toolbox of integrative structural biology
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