• CybersecurityA chip that checks for sabotage, flags defects

    With the outsourcing of microchip design and fabrication a worldwide, $350 billion business, bad actors along the supply chain have many opportunities to install malicious circuitry in chips. These Trojan horses look harmless but can allow attackers to sabotage healthcare devices; public infrastructure; and financial, military, or government electronics. Researchers are developing a unique solution: a chip with both an embedded module that proves that its calculations are correct and an external module that validates the first module’s proofs.

  • GunsU.S. has given 1.4 million guns to Iraq, Afghanistan -- but doesn’t know where, by whom these weapons are currently being used

    The United States has given more than 1.4 million guns to Iraqi and Afghan forces, as part of the more than $40 billion worth of U.S. Department of Defense arms and munitions contracts since 9/11. The Pentagon has only partial, and not necessarily accurate, information not only about the total number of firearms involved, but how, where, and by whom these weapons are currently being used. Journalists have offered evidenced that many firearms openly available for purchase on black markets and on social media throughout the Middle East were originally provided by the Pentagon to U.S. associates in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Terrorism risk insuranceManaging terrorism risk more complicated today

    Managing terrorism risk today requires a combination of strategies and tactics that protect people, property, and finances. On the financial side, the choice is whether to retain or transfer the risk via insurance. But the changing pattern of terrorism risk has some companies questioning whether they are adequately insured for business interruption and related losses. And they wonder how to prepare for potential losses from cyber terrorism and other events. 

  • DisastersWorst flooding since 1998 leaves $33 billion economic toll in China

    The new Global Catastrophe Recap report, covering July 2016 disasters, reveals that much of China endured substantial seasonal “Mei-Yu” rainfall that led to a dramatic worsening of flooding along the Yangtze River Basin and in the country’s northeast. Total combined economic losses were estimated at $33 billion. Meanwhile, the United States recorded six separate outbreaks of severe convective storms and flash flooding from the Rockies to the East Coast. Total combined economic losses were minimally estimated at $1.5 billion. Only 2 percent of China damage is covered by insurance, compared to nearly 70 percent for U.S. storms.

  • DefCon 24Hacking hotel magnetic-stripe based key cards is easy

    If you travel a lot for business or pleasure, and stay at hotels at the places you visit, you may not like the information presented at the DefCon 24 event in Las Vegas. A security expert will tell the attendees that the magnetic-stripe based key cards guests are given to enter their rooms have major weaknesses which could allow an attacker to modify these cards to enter guests rooms.

  • Chemical detectionBlock MEMS awarded $9.8M contract for standoff detection of chemical threats

    Block MEMS, a developer of Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL)-based infrared detection systems, has been awarded a $9.8 million contract from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop a system that can detect trace quantities of chemicals at standoff distances of at least 100 ft.

  • Energy dependence80% of EU oil imports now supplied by non-European companies

    Non-European companies supply four-fifths of Europe’s oil imports, with Russian firms supplying more than one-third (36 percent) of imported crude, a new study on Europe’s foreign oil dependency has found. Just two of the top ten oil suppliers to the EU are European, and most of our imported oil is supplied from unstable countries.

  • TerrorismU.S. terror victims file suit against Facebook for failing to block Palestinian incitement

    The families of five Americans recently killed or injured by Palestinian terrorists have filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing the terrorist group Hamas to incite violence on its network. The plaintiffs are seeking $1 billion in punitive damages under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows American citizens who are victims of overseas terrorist attacks to sue in U.S. federal courts.

  • Muslims in EuropeBanning Muslim face veil at the work place not discriminatory: Austria’s Supreme Court

    Rejecting employees’ requests to wear a veil at work is not discriminating against them, Austria’s highest courts has ruled. In the landmark decision, Austria’s Supreme Court (OGH) ruled that if items of clothing prevent communication, an employer may legally ban them at the work place. The question of whether or not Muslim women should be allowed to wear the Islamic veil at the work place or public schools – or even at public — is the subject of intense debate in Europe, and many states have legislated against it.

  • RansomwareEnding extortion: Researchers develop a way to stop ransomware

    Ransomware — what hackers use to encrypt your computer files and demand money in exchange for freeing those contents — is an exploding global problem with few solutions. The FBI issued a warning in May saying the number of attacks has doubled in the past year and is expected to grow even more rapidly this year. It said it received more than 2,400 complaints last year and estimated losses from such attacks at $24 million last year for individuals and businesses. Researchers have developed a way to stop ransomware dead in its tracks.

  • Travel guidanceBahamas warns young men traveling to U.S. to “exercise extreme caution” around police

    The government of the Bahamas late last week has issued a travel guidance to young Bahamian men travelling to the United States on holiday, warning them to “exercise extreme caution” when interacting with the U.S. police officers. “Do not be confrontational and cooperate” with the police, the Foreign Ministry’s travel guidance says.

  • Emerging threatsU.S. suffered at least $8 billion climate-related disasters so far this year

    We are only halfway through 2016 and the United States has already seen eight weather and climate-related disasters* that have each met or exceeded $1 billion in damages. These eight disasters resulted in the loss of thirty lives, and caused at least $13.1 billion. Since 1980 the United States has sustained 196 weather and climate disasters in which overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. The total cost of these 196 events exceeds $1.1 trillion.

  • GridUnderstanding California electricity crisis may help prevent future crises

    Between 2000 and 2001, California experienced the biggest electricity crisis in the United States since the Second World War. Exactly how it happened, however, is complex. New research now reveals insights into the market dynamics at play, potentially helping regulators standardize the market and prevent future crises.

  • BrexitDon’t believe the Brexit prophecies of economic doom

    By Isaac Tabner

    The shock and horror at the Brexit vote has been loud and vociferous. Some seem to be reveling in the uncertainty that the referendum result has provoked. But there are plenty of reasons to reject the consensus that Brexit will be costly to the U.K.’s economy. Even though markets appear stormy in the immediate aftermath of the vote, the financial market reaction to date has more characteristics of a seasonal storm than of a major catastrophe. There will undoubtedly be winners and losers from the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU. But indexes for volatility are already lower than they were in February this year, suggesting that markets are not abnormally worried about the outlook, and U.K. government borrowing costs are at an all-time low. This is further reason to reject the pre-referendum consensus that Brexit would bring economic doom.

  • European securityBrexit: Europe’s new nationalism is here to stay

    By Simon Toubeau

    The British referendum that has delivered a vote for “Brexit” is the latest, dramatic indication that the atavistic nationalistic impulses of the twentieth century – impulses which the construction of the EU was supposed to lay to rest — are here to stay. This nationalism has brewed largely in reaction to how the EU has evolved over the past few decades. What started as a common market grew to embrace a single currency, the Schengen area, and integration in justice and home affairs. What we have witnessed with the rise of Euroscepticism is the recrudescence of a robust form of populist nationalism. It is sincerely anti-intellectual, offers facile solutions to complex problems, prefers what it calls “plain-speaking” over a well-articulated elocution, and is utterly unapologetic in its disdain for the establishment. Unless the EU can infuse its institutions with greater democratic legitimacy — voters need to be able to identify with the people who make decisions on their behalf — this populist nationalism will persist for the foreseeable future. The United Kingdom may be the first country to leave the EU but it may not be the last. Europe’s new nationalism is here to stay.