Business

  • Libyan PM escapes country after assembly ousts him over oil tanker fiasco

    Libya’s General National Congress has approved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and designated the defense minister as acting prime minister. Zeidan left Libya after the vote, in all likelihood for Italy. The no-confidence vote came after a North Korean-flagged tanker named Morning Glory managed to sail away from the port of al Sidra, carrying 234,000 barrels of crude oil from rebel-held oil fields. Last summer, armed militias in east Libya took over most of the country’s oil fields – and also three ports, with partial control of a fourth — bringing oil exports, which had amounted to 1.6 million barrels a day, to a halt. U.S. describes oil sale by the militias as “theft” from the Libyan people.

  • Secret raises $10 million at a $50 million valuation

    Secret allows users to post messages to their circles of contacts without identifying themselves as the source of the posted message. The start-up, which was launched in January, has closed a $10 million round of funding at a $50 million post-money valuation. The funding was led by Google Ventures, with participation from KPCB.

  • Blackstone to acquire Accuvant, an enterprise information security specialist

    Denver, Colorado-based Accuvant, a specialist in enterprise information security, has reached a definitive agreement under which Blackstone will acquire a majority stake in Accuvant as part of their private equity portfolio. The transaction is expected to close in April pending relevant regulatory approvals.

  • Innovative nuclear radiation detector reaches the market

    A handheld radiation camera developed by University of Michigan engineering researchers offers nuclear plant operators a faster way to find potentially dangerous hot spots and leaky fuel rods. The new Polaris-H detector lays a gamma-ray map over an image of a room, pinpointing radiation sources with unprecedented precision. At least four U.S. nuclear power plants are using versions of the camera, which is now available commercially through the U-M spinoff company H3D.

  • Iona College to Launch BS, BA, MS concentrations in cybersecurity

    Iona College announced the launch in fall 2014 of undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science with a concentration in cyber security. The concentration will be offered for the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and the Master of Science degrees. The programs will provide students with fundamental cyber security skills, theoretical as well as hands-on experience. Students are exposed to new research ideas across many cyber security areas including software security, Web application security, mobile security, networking security, database security, and cryptography.

  • Small biomass power plants could help rural economies, stabilize national power grid

    As energy costs rise, more Americans are turning to bioenergy to provide power to their homes and workplaces. Bioenergy is renewable energy made from organic sources, such as biomass. Technology has advanced enough that biomass power plants small enough to fit on a farm can be built at relatively low costs. Researchers have found that creating a bioenergy grid with these small plants could benefit people in rural areas of the country as well as provide relief to an overworked national power grid.

  • Underground recovery process at WIPP begins

    Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), the management and operations contractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said it has initiated the first phase of an underground recovery process which will lead to the resumption of nuclear waste disposal operations at WIPP. Initial results show no airborne radioactive contamination in the underground shafts.

  • Allowing Terrorism Risk Insurance Act to expire could hurt national security: Study

    The current terrorism risk insurance program has a $27.5 billion threshold for aggregate losses that are paid by the insurance industry and commercial policyholders before the government program begins paying. The program will expire in 2014 and Congress again is considering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets. Allowing the federal terrorism risk insurance act to expire could have negative consequences for U.S. national security, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation.

  • Software spots malicious behavior by apps

    Last year at the end of July the Russian software company Doctor Web detected several malicious apps in the app store Google Play. Downloaded on a smartphone, the malware installed — without the permission of the user — additional programs which sent expensive text messages to premium services. German computer scientists have now developed software which can discover such malicious apps already in the app store. The software detects pieces of code where the app accesses sensitive data and where data is sent from the mobile device.

  • High level of “brain waste” among highly educated immigrants

    Many highly educated immigrants coming to the United States without a job lined up have been unable to find work at their level of education, leading to considerable “brain waste,” researchers have found. The prevalence of such “brain waste” exceeded 40 percent for immigrants with a bachelor’s degree, 50 percent for those with a doctoral or professional degree, and 75 percent for those with a master’s degree.

  • Biometric security for mobile devices becoming mainstream

    Biometric security such as fingerprint, face, and voice recognition is set to hit the mainstream as global technology companies market the systems as convenient and easy to use. The latest biometric technologies are not without their security issues, but they are marketed as more convenient than traditional methods rather than more secure, and encourage adoption by people who currently do not have any security on their phone at all.

  • Pentagon to fund new “kill vehicle” for missile defense

    The Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget includes $8.5 billion in funding for missile defense programs. About $300 million will be used on a new kill vehicle and it support systems. A Pentagon official said that a new kill vehicle was needed because the current system suffered from “bad engineering” and has failed several tests.

  • Platform for operating systems would outwit cyber criminals

    As smartphone use surges, consumers are just beginning to realize their devices are not quite as secure as they thought. A Swedish research team is working on a way to secure mobile operating systems so that consumers can be confident that their data is protected.

  • Collecting digital user data without compromising privacy

    The statistical evaluation of digital user data is of vital importance for analyzing trends. It can also undermine users’ privacy. Computer scientists have now developed a novel cryptographic method that makes it possible to collect data and protect the privacy of the user at the same time.

  • CBP awards $145 million border towers contract to Elbit

    DHS’s Customs and Border Protection(CBP) has awarded Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israeli based Elbit Systems, a $145 million contract for the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) project along the Mexico-Arizona border. The first phase of the project includes a number of observation towers along the Nogales, Arizona border with Mexico. Additional options could include towers at over five other border sections in Arizona.