• U.K. Border Agency approves Pearson's test security methods

    Students who want to study in the United Kingdom must prove their proficiency in English before being granted a student visa; Pearson, the authors of the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), relies on multiple layers of biometrics — palm vein scanning, digital signatures, and test day digital photographs of applicants — to ensure that those who take the test are who they say they are

  • New explosives detection technologies show promise

    An adversary who is willing to die trying to carry out a mission is one of the reasons why more conventional security organizations find it so difficult to pursue their protection mission effectively in an asymmetrical war — the kind of war terrorists engage in; new explosive detection technologies may be of help

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  • India may block BlackBerry over security concerns

    India told RIM that BlackBerry services in India would be banned unless the company agreed to set up a proxy server in the country to enable security agencies to monitor e-mail traffic; Pakistan has already banned some BlackBerry services, including blocking Internet browsers on BlackBerry handsets because of concerns over blasphemy, and UAE is considering a similar measure

  • Good business: Developers make buildings more disaster-secure than building code requires

    A Florida developer hopes to get more business by making his building hurricane-proof; with debris-resistant windows on all thirty-five of its stories, the developer says the building would withstand a Category 5 hurricane without significant damage; the extra hurricane proofing built into the Miami building shows that sometimes the private market can overtake the public sector when it comes to building design and safety standards; for example, in New York and Washington, D.C., some developers have put in anti-terrorism safeguards that exceed building codes

  • New cybersecurity threat: smartphone apps that do more than what they say they do

    A large proportion of applications contain third-party code with the capability to interact with sensitive data in a way that may not be apparent to users or developers; Apple reviews its applications before accepting them into its App Store, but even that is not foolproof when it comes to detecting erroneous or malicious components within apps, which might end up collecting or storing information that has nothing to do with the intended usage case of the app

  • X Prize to offer millions for Gulf oil cleanup solution

    The X Prize Foundation will tomorrow launch its Oil Cleanup X Challenge promising millions of dollars for winning ways to clean up crude oil from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico; past X Prize categories include mapping genomes, making an incredibly fuel efficient car, and exploring the moon’s surface with a robotic vehicle

  • Radiation concerns dog full-body scanners

    By the end of 2014, TSA will install between 1,950 and 2,200 full-body scanners at checkpoints in all 450 commercial airports in the United States; TSA buys scanners which use two technologies — backscatter X-ray and millimeter wave; since backscatter technology raises persistent worries about radiation, some want to know why TSA should not buy only millimeter-wave scanners

  • DHS launches "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign for general aviation

    DHS describes the campaign as a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime, and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities; DHS also announces new streamlined process for vetting international general aviation travel

  • U.S. Army to buy additional explosive disposal robots

    Boeing, iRobot receive a follow-on order for 94 additional explosive disposal ground robots, bringing to total number of robots the U.S. Army has ordered to 323; the robot has the ability to perform reconnaissance during extremely hazardous explosive disposal missions involving unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices

  • Senate panels to discuss high-risk chemical facilities

    This is an important week in chemical facilities security legislation, as two Senate panels are set to hold hearings on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DHS can most effectively monitor the security measures taken by U.S. chemical facilities:

  • Siemens: Removing SCADA trojan may disrupt power plants

    Siemens last Thursday made available to customers a tool which would detect and remove a Trojan worm infecting the company software — software used in controlling and monitoring U.S. critical infrastructure facilities and other industrial processes; trouble is, the use of the company warned customers that using the program could disrupt sensitive plant operations

  • Stealth overcoat hides military equipment

    BAE developed “stealth coating” for military vehicles; the coating makes vehicles and equipment in the field much harder to spot not only visually, but also offers vehicles and equipment protection against detection by radar and thermal imaging devices

  • Sending power wirelessly through inches of steel

    Submarines are made of very thick steel; this keeps them safe, but makes communication and data collection from sensors difficult; currently, 300 holes have to be drilled in a submarine hull to accommodate the sensors and communications technology the vessel requires; researchers develop a way to transmit power wirelessly through several inches of steel — which will allow submarines to communicate without an expensive hole-and-valve system; the technology will also be useful for the nuclear and oil industries

  • BP accused of trying to buy the silence of scientists on spill

    BP is accused of trying to buy the silence of leading scientists: the company offering scientists and researchers lucrative contracts to participate in developing restoration plan for the Gulf after the oil spill — but: the scientists are not allowed to publish the research they do for the oil giant; they are also not allowed to speak about the data for at least three years or until the government gives final approval for the company’s restoration plan for the whole of the Gulf; the company would not allow scientists to take total control of the data or the freedom to make those data available to other scientists and subject to peer review; in the case of the University of South Alabama, BP offered to sign up the entire marine sciences department

  • Dell to replace server parts infected with virus

    Dell says W32.Spybot worm was found in replacement motherboards, and that it will replace infected parts with clean motherboards; the company says it is unaware of any attacks as result of infections