• Why the withering nuclear power industry threatens U.S. national security

    These are tough times for nuclear power in the United States. Power plants under construction are facing serious delays, halts and cost overruns. Utilities in South Carolina abandoned a project to complete construction of two power plants in August, while the cost of the only nuclear plant now under construction has ballooned to $25 billion. While the environmental and reliability impacts of the closures are well-understood, what many don’t realize is that these closures also pose long-term risks to our national security. As the nuclear power industry declines, it discourages the development of our most important anti-proliferation asset: a bunch of smart nuclear scientists and engineers. There are already strong economic, reliability and environmental reasons to keep nuclear a part of the national fuel mix. Enhancing our national security makes the argument even more compelling.

  • CDT files complaint with the FTC against Hotspot Shield VPN

    For many Americans looking to protect their online privacy, virtual private networks, or VPNs, are a good option. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) says, however, that a popular free VPN, Hotspot Shield, promises to protect its users’ privacy but has undisclosed data sharing and traffic redirection practices that violate that promise. Plixer said that the claims by CDT ignore the internet market realities.

  • Spotting data theft – quickly!

    Computer experts have always struggled to find solutions for protecting businesses and authorities from network breaches. This is because there are too many vague indicators of potential attacks. With PA-SIEM, IT managers have a solution that effectively protects their systems while exposing data thieves and criminal hackers more quickly than conventional software.

  • New app detects cyberattacks quickly

    If you are awaiting exciting news from your friend, what is the better way to read your email? Has it comes in, or after a batch collects? Well, if you read it as it comes in, you will surely get the news faster. Researchers have developed a software app that can do the same for computer networks. Monitoring the activity within a network in real-time can allow cybersecurity analysts to detect cyberattacks quickly, before thieves steal data or crash your system.

  • New mobile banking Trojans

    In mid-July 2017, Kaspersky Lab researchers found a new modification of the well-known mobile banking malware family Svpeng – Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Svpeng.ae. In this modification, the cybercriminals have added new functionality: it now also works as a keylogger, stealing entered text through the use of accessibility services. Attack data suggests this Trojan is not yet widely deployed.

  • Nuclear power project abandoned as energy landscape changes, costs escalate

    On Monday, after working nine years to expand a nuclear power plant in South Carolina, Santee Cooper and SCE&G announced they were pulling the plug on the $14 billion reactor project in Fairfield County. The companies cited rising costs, falling demand for energy, construction delays, and the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse. SCE&G customers have paid $1.4 billion through higher monthly utility bills – customers saw their rates increase nine different times over the last four years – and consumer groups in the state say they would demand that the money be refunded to consumers.

  • Europol’s No More Ransom initiative celebrates its first year

    Ransomware has soared since 2012, with criminals attracted by the promise of profit and ease of implementation. The total number of users who encountered ransomware between April 2016 and March 2017 rose by 11.4 percent compared to the previous twelve months, from 2,315,931 to 2,581,026 users around the world. A year ago, Europol and partners the No More Ransom initiative, which now has 109 partners, including government agencies and private organizations and companies.

  • Applied cybersecurity research for better protection of critical national infrastructure sectors

    DHS S&T awarded a five-year Other Transaction Agreement (OTA), with a maximum value of $70 million, to Arlington, Virginia-based Cyber Apex Solutions, LLC, to facilitate applied research of prototype cyberdefenses for critical national infrastructure sectors.

  • U.S. weapons main source of trade in illegal arms on the Dark Web

    New report, based on first-ever study, looks at the size and scope of the illegal arms trade on the dark web. European purchases of weapons on the dark web generate estimated revenues five times higher than the U.S. purchases. The dark web’s potential to anonymously arm criminals and terrorists, as well as vulnerable and fixated individuals, is “the most dangerous aspect.”

  • “Stalking software”: Surveillance made simpler

    The controversial Snap Map app enables Snapchat users to track their friends. The app makes it possible for users to monitor their friends’ movements, and determine – in real time – exactly where their posts are coming from (down to the address). Many social media users expressed their indignation, referring to the app as “stalking software.” This is the latest in a series of monitoring tools to be built on social media platforms. A new study assesses the benefits and risks associated with their use.

  • The real costs of cheap surveillance

    Surveillance used to be expensive. Even just a few years ago, tailing a person’s movements around the clock required rotating shifts of personnel devoted full-time to the task. Not any more, though. Governments can track the movements of massive numbers of people by positioning cameras to read license plates, or by setting up facial recognition systems. Private companies’ tracking of our lives has also become easy and cheap too. Advertising network systems let data brokers track nearly every page you visit on the web, and associate it with an individual profile. It is worth thinking about all of this more deeply. U.S. firms – unless they’re managed or regulated in socially beneficial ways – have both the incentive and the opportunity to use information about us in undesirable ways. We need to talk about the government’s enacting rules constraining that activity. After all, leaving those decisions to the people who make money selling our data is unlikely to result in our getting the rules we want.

  • Troubled flood insurance program traps homeowners in flood-prone areas

    The U.S. flood insurance program has repeatedly rebuilt some of the most flood-prone properties in the country, unintentionally setting a trap for owners of modest homes who would prefer to move out of harm’s way, according to a new national report. Today it is thousands of properties, but climate change and rising sea levels threaten to flood millions of properties in the coming decades. For every $100 the nation spends to rebuild homes with national flood insurance funds, FEMA spends just $1.72 to better protect people by moving them to safer, less flood-prone land.

  • Minority Report? Wisc. company replaces ID cards, badges with microchips implants

    River Falls, Wisconsin-based technology company Three Square Market has become one of the first in the world to implant microchips in staff so they can clock-in or enter secure areas by waving their arm instead of using swipe cards or ID badges. The implanted microchip would also allow employees to order food at the cafeteria and open the parking garage doors. They can also log in to their computer without a password.

  • Petya variant hobbles European businesses

    In the wake of May’s WannaCry attack, which affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries, a fast-moving malware malware outbreak was reported 27 June at targets in Spain, France, Ukraine, Russia, and other countries. The attack infected large banks, law firms, shipping companies, and even the Chernobyl nuclear facility in the Ukraine. The new malware is thought to be a variant of Petya, a wiper malware designed to destroy systems and data with no hope of recovery.

  • Three advanced first-response technologies funded

    The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation awarded funding to three homeland security projects, selected by DHS and MOPS, between U.S. and Israeli companies to advance technologies for first responders. In addition to the grants from BIRD, the projects will access private sector funding, boosting the total value of the three projects to approximately $7 million. The program funds technology collaborations between U.S. and Israeli partners that have significant commercial potential to meet the most pressing requirements of first responders.