• AIR Worldwide expands its terrorism model globally

    Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide (AIR) announced that it has expanded the capabilities of its terrorism risk model to support scenario testing for the United States and twenty-seven other select countries to help companies assess the impact of different attack scenarios on their portfolios and better manage their global terrorism risk. AIR Worldwide is a Verisk Analytics business.

  • Freight airships may soon help Asian companies reach world markets

    The rise of freight airships could go down like a lead balloon with traditional aircraft companies, but could also represent a new high for Asian companies seeking to exploit new ways to reach world markets. Researchers explain how the reinvented technology of airships has come apace in recent years and is a far cry from the trial and error methods and primitive materials used to build the giant Zeppelins of yesteryear.

  • Oklahoma shuts down 37 wells after Saturday’s 5.6 magnitude earthquake

    Oklahoma ordered the shutting down of 37 wells after Saturday’s 5.6 magnitude earthquake. Experts note that the significant increase in the number earthquakes measuring 3.0 or higher in Oklahoma has been linked to the practice of underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. Only three earthquakes 3.0 magnitude or higher were recorded in 2009. Last year, the state had 907 such quakes. So far this year, there have been more than 400.

  • Solar-powered Ring Garden combines desalination, agriculture for drought-stricken California

    With roughly 80 percent of California’s already-scarce water supply going to agriculture, it is crucial for the state to embrace new technologies that shrink the amount of water required to grow food. Alexandru Predonu has designed an elegant solution which uses solar energy to power a rotating desalination plant and farm that not only produces clean drinking water for the city of Santa Monica, but also food crops — including algae.

  • Vulnerabilities found in cars connected to smartphones

    Many of today’s automobiles leave the factory with secret passengers: prototype software features that are disabled but that can be unlocked by clever drivers. In what is believed to be the first comprehensive security analysis of its kind, a team of researchers has found vulnerabilities in MirrorLink, a system of rules that allow vehicles to communicate with smartphones.

  • A 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.

  • U.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.

  • Managing 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. 

  • Worst 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.

  • Hacking 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.

  • 80% 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.

  • U.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.

  • Banning 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.

  • Ending 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.

  • Bahamas 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.