Business

  • NIST releases update of Industrial Control Systems Security Guide

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued the second revision to its Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security. It includes new guidance on how to tailor traditional IT security controls to accommodate unique ICS performance, reliability, and safety requirements, as well as updates to sections on threats and vulnerabilities, risk management, recommended practices, security architectures and security capabilities and tools.

  • Zimbabwe’s new exchange rate: $1 for 35,000,000,000,000,000 old Zimbabwean dollars

    Following nearly fifteen years of ruinous economic policies which brought the country to its knees, the government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe will next week begin a three-month currency exchange program which will allow citizens to exchange “quadrillions” of local dollars for a few U.S. dollars. The plan is part of the government decision to discard, or decommission, the country’s worthless national currency. In 2008, the Zimbabwean hyperinflation set the all-time world record of 500 billion percent. Bank accounts with balances of up to 175 quadrillion (175,000 trillion) Zimbabwean dollars will be paid $5. Those with balances above 175 quadrillion dollars will be paid at an exchange rate of $1 for 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars.

  • D.C.-area becoming the Silicon Valley of cybersecurity

    A recent string of multi-billion dollar cybersecurity acquisitions in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area has led to the region being seen as a major hotbed for the industry. Spending by the Department of Defense (DOD) and a number of federal agencies has led to big contracts for many in the region, fuelling much of the growth. As the DOD focuses more of its budget on cyber issues and defense, the market has grown. “The D.C./NoVA/MD area, also known as the Cyber Corridor, is becoming the Silicon Valley of security,” say the CEO of one cybersecurity firm.

  • Criminals receive 1,425 percent return on investment from malware attacks: Report

    Trustwave yesterday released its 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report which analyzes the top cybercrime, data breach, and security threat trends from 2014. Among the report’s findings: Attackers receive an estimated 1,425 percent return on investment for exploit kit and ransomware schemes ($84,100 net revenue for each $5,900 investment); spam volume continues to decrease making up 60 percent of total inbound mail (compared to 69 percent in 2013 and more than 90 percent at its peak in 2008), but six percent of it included a malicious attachment or link, a slight increase from 2013.

  • State-by-state plan to convert U.S. to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050

    One potential way to combat ongoing climate change, eliminate air pollution mortality, create jobs, and stabilize energy prices involves converting the world’s entire energy infrastructure to run on clean, renewable energy. This is a daunting challenge. Now, researchers for the first time have outlined how each of the fifty states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The fifty individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.

  • Israelis to gain $120 billion, Palestinians $50 billion over next decade in two-state solution

    The Israeli economy stands to gain more than $120 billion over the next decade in a two-state solution, a possible resolution of the long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in which the Palestinians gain independence and relations between the Israelis and their neighbors normalize, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Palestinians would gain $50 billion, with average per-capita income rising by about 36 percent. A return to violence, by contrast, would have profoundly negative economic consequences for both Palestinians and Israelis. The estimates are part of a systematic effort to quantify the likely economic and security costs and benefits of five alternative futures for the conflict relative to present trends. Besides the two-state and return-to-violence scenarios, RAND researchers considered three additional alternative futures: a coordinated unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank by Israel, uncoordinated withdrawal where Palestinians do not cooperate with Israeli unilateral moves, and nonviolent resistance by Palestinians.

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  • Mapping organized crime, terrorism hotspots in Eurasia

    More than a quarter of all the drugs produced in opium-rich Afghanistan pass through Eurasia. Drug trafficking in the region has been linked to the strength of such terrorists groups as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Jihad Union, and al-Qaeda. The illicit sale of weapons is common in the area, and locals are drawn into human trafficking rings either for forced labor or sexual exploitation. As organized crime plays an increasing role in funding terrorism, researchers aim to pinpoint hotspots in Eurasia where drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism coincide. The research team, selected to receive a $953,500 Minerva grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative, will examine the connections between terrorism and organized crime in Central Asia, South Caucasus, and Russia.

  • Combating cyber threats to the global financial industry

    Today more than fifteen billion devices are connected to the Internet; in the next five years, that number will grow to fifty billion. With each new device presenting an opportunity to be infiltrated and compromised by hackers, it is easy to understand why the importance of cybersecurity continues to skyrocket. So explained keynote speaker Elizabeth Petrie, director of strategic intelligence analysis for Citigroup, who kicked off a one-day conference at the University of Delaware on cybersecurity issues impacting the global financial industry.

  • Most Americans could be fed by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes

    The popularity of “farm to table” has skyrocketed in the past few years as people become more interested in supporting local farmers and getting fresher food from sources they know and trust. Even large chain restaurants are making efforts to source supplies locally, knowing more customers care where their food comes from. New farmland-mapping research published the other day shows that up to 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes.

  • USMobile launches Scrambl3 mobile, Top Secret communication-standard app

    Irvine, California-based USMobile, a developer of private mobile phone services, yesterday launched Scrambl3, a smartphone app that enables users to create their own Private Mobile Network. When Scrambl3 users communicate with each other, Scrambl3 creates a Dark Internet Tunnel between their smartphones. This Tunnel cloaks the calls and texts by making them invisible on the Internet. Scrambl3 App for Android-based phones is available for a 60-day free beta offering from the Google Play Store.

  • Rumor-detection software detects, corrects erroneous claims on Twitter

    A week after the Boston marathon bombing, hackers sent a bogus tweet from the official Twitter handle of the Associated Press. It read: “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” Before the AP and White House could correct the record, the stock market responded, dropping more than 140 points in a matter of minutes. Losses mounted into the billions. The market recovered just as quickly, but analysts said the timeframe could well have been long enough for in-the-know perpetrators to profit through trading. Researchers have developed software to help society identify and correct erroneous claims on Twitter.

  • Exciting time ahead for power industry: Energy expert

    New developments in the field of power electronics could lead to greater flexibility for the U.S. electrical power grid, says an expert in power engineering. The key, she says, will be advancements in power electronics — instruments that control and convert electric power, such as semiconductor switching devices. “Power electronics are going to make the power system more flexible, allowing us to really control how the power flows in the system much like you might consider traffic lights controlling traffic flow,” the expert says.

  • Western countries, businesses facing increased terrorism threat: Aon

    Risk levels are rising in Western economies due to the increased terror threat presented by Islamic extremists, according to the Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map. The map, launched earlier this week, provides insight for business aiming to reduce risk exposures. Top risks for business include increased terrorism threats across developed economies, and a progressively uncertain and dangerous geopolitical environment, where the risk of armed conflict is growing amid changing and unstable regional balances of power.

  • Groundbreaking for new Biosafety Level 4 lab in Kansas

    Officials on Wednesday broke ground for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a $1.25 billion animal research facility near the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. NBAF will be the U.S. only Level 4 biosafety lab – a designation which means that the lab is secure enough to handle, and conduct research on, pathogens that do not currently have treatments or countermeasures. Critics argue that locating the lab on the campus of KSU — in the heart of cattle country and the middle of Tornado Alley – would not be a good idea. NBAF will replace the aging biolab in Plum Island, New York.

  • Companies gaming the system to get their H-1B visa applicants approved

    Many foreign applicants for the 65,000 yearly available H-1B U.S. work visas, which allow U.S. companies temporarily to employ foreign workers in specialty positions, are finding that their paperwork is not even being considered due to the fact that many companies are using various behind-the-scenes schemes better to control their own employment interests, disrupting the system while also highlighting the inefficiency of the current registration process.