• S&T awards $8.6 million for enhancing security of mobile apps for the government

    DHS S&T has awarded funding to five R&D projects that will enhance the secure use of mobile applications for the federal government. These Mobile Application Security (MAS) R&D projects focus on continuous validation and threat protection for mobile apps and integrating security throughout the mobile app lifecycle.

  • Why didn’t sanctions stop North Korea’s missile program?

    North Korea’s long-range missile program has made significant technological advances in the past few months. For most of the past twenty years, the international community has struggled to stop this kind of progress by imposing a series of severe sanctions on the country. Have sanctions failed? This question is complicated, but what is undeniable is that sanctions have had unforeseen consequences by making North Korea’s procurement efforts more sophisticated as Chinese middlemen monetize the risk. Americans tend to view North Korea as an inward-looking, economically isolated state cut off from the international community. However, the country’s illicit networks – including those supplying its missile program – are global and responsive. Ultimately, they will be difficult to counter.

  • Gregory Falco: Protecting urban infrastructure against cyberterrorism

    While working for the global management consulting company Accenture, Gregory Falco discovered just how vulnerable the technologies underlying smart cities and the “internet of things” — everyday devices that are connected to the internet or a network — are to cyberterrorism attacks. His focus is on cybersecurity for urban critical infrastructure, and the internet of things, or IoT, is at the center of his work. A washing machine, for example, that is connected to an app on its owner’s smartphone is considered part of the IoT. There are billions of IoT devices that don’t have traditional security software because they’re built with small amounts of memory and low-power processors. This makes these devices susceptible to cyberattacks and may provide a gate for hackers to breach other devices on the same network.

  • Harvey’s losses “would reach $190 billion or 1 percent of the nation's GDP”: AccuWeather

    AccuWeather’s Dr. Joel N. Myers predicts that “The total losses from this storm would reach $190 billion or 1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), countering the expected growth in the economy for the rest of this year.” The one percent loss that AccuWeather is predicting will be spread out over the next 12 months, but the bulk of it will occur over the next four months. “This is the costliest and worst natural disaster in American history,” Myers said.

  • Extreme weather, event-attribution science mean businesses, governments risk more litigation

    With Hurricane Harvey battering the southern United States, a new report warns that governments and business may be increasingly at risk of litigation for failing to prevent foreseeable climate-related harm to people and infrastructure. “Identifying the human influence in events once only understood as ‘acts of god’ will reshape the legal landscape, meaning governments and businesses could be sued if they don’t take action to protect people from floods, heatwaves and other foreseeable climate change risks.”

  • Harvey's cost could reach $100 billion: Insurance experts

    The floods caused by Hurricane Harvey are only going to worsen in the coming days, but insurance experts say that estimates based on the damage Harvey has already caused suggest that the financial cost of the devastating hurricane could be as high as $100 billion. The 2005 Hurricane Katrina-caused damaged reached $120 billion, of which $80 billion were insured losses. The 2012 Megastorm Sandy caused $75 billion in economic losses.

  • Post-Hurricane Katrina personal debt fell for those worst hit, but at a cost

    In the U.S., more than 200 weather and climate disasters have exceeded $1 billion in damages since 1980, with a total cost exceeding $1.2 trillion. Yet, relatively little is known about how people affected by natural disasters cope with the resulting financial shock.

  • On internet privacy, be very afraid

    In the internet era, consumers seem increasingly resigned to giving up fundamental aspects of their privacy for convenience in using their phones and computers, and have grudgingly accepted that being monitored by corporations and even governments is just a fact of modern life. In fact, internet users in the United States have fewer privacy protections than those in other countries. In April, Congress voted to allow internet service providers to collect and sell their customers’ browsing data. Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier talked about government and corporate surveillance, and about what concerned users can do to protect their privacy. “Surveillance is the business model of the internet,” he says.

  • Google’s assault on privacy: a reminder

    On its best day, with every ounce of technology the U.S. government could muster, it could not know a fraction as much about any of us as Google does now” (Shelly Palmer, technology analyst).

  • 139 countries could be powered by 100 percent wind, water, and solar energy by 2050

    The latest roadmap to a 100 percent renewable energy future from twenty-seven experts is the most specific global vision yet, outlining infrastructure changes that 139 countries can make to be entirely powered by wind, water, and sunlight by 2050 after electrification of all energy sectors. Such a transition could mean less worldwide energy consumption due to the efficiency of clean, renewable electricity; a net increase of over twenty-four million long-term jobs; an annual decrease in 4-7 million air pollution deaths per year; stabilization of energy prices; and annual savings of over $20 trillion in health and climate costs.

  • Machine learning helps spot counterfeit consumer products

    Counterfeit goods represent a massive worldwide problem with nearly every high-valued physical object or product directly affected by this issue, the researchers note. Some reports indicate counterfeit trafficking represents 7 percent of the world’s trade today. A team of researchers has developed a new mechanism that uses machine-learning algorithms to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit versions of the same product.

  • Risk reduction: What drives preparedness?

    More targeted efforts are needed from both the public and private insurance sectors in order to encourage people to take action to reduce their risk of flood damage, according to a new study of three European countries. “Currently neither insurance nor governments successfully encourage risk reduction. Increased and more targeted efforts particularly from local authorities will be important, and have the capacity to change the picture. This will be exceedingly important considering extreme events from climate change,” says one expert.

  • Strengthening security of first responder sensor systems

    Metronome Software is developing a technology solution that will significantly enhance the security of mobile device-based sensor systems used by first responders with funding provided by DHS S&T. The Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program is integrating multi-threat personal protective equipment, plug-and-play sensors and advanced communications devices to provide multi-layer threat protection and immediate situational awareness to first responders.

  • U.S. advanced nuclear program unlikely to deliver on its mission

    Despite repeated promises over the past eighteen years, the U.S. Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) is unlikely to deliver on its mission to develop and demonstrate an advanced nuclear reactor by the mid-twenty-first century. That is the conclusion of a new study which used data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act to reconstruct the program’s budget history.

  • 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.