Business

  • FUJIFILM completes acquisition of Kalon Biotherapeutics

    Morrisville, North Carolina-based FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies U.S.A. Inc. (FDBU), a FUJIFILM Corporation subsidiary, has completed its acquisition of College Station, Texas-based Kalon Biotherapeutics LLC. The two companies say this is another step toward making the Texas biosciences industry into a center for development and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Kalon is a biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing organization (CMO) with advanced technologies and facilities, developing and manufacturing medical countermeasures to protect public health in emergencies, including incidents of bioterrorism or an outbreak of pandemic influenza.

  • Judge orders review of insurance companies’ processing of Sandy-related damage claims

    Several insurance companies contracted to handle Hurricane Sandy claims on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are facing lawsuits filed by homeowners in New York and New Jersey, who claim that insurance firms improperly reduced flood-damage payments. More than 1,000 lawsuits allege that homeowners received less than they should have for storm- related damages because of altered engineering reports that insurance companies knowingly accepted as part of the claims-adjustment process. The judge described the work done by one engineering firm on behalf of an insurance company as “reprehensible gamesmanship.”

  • DHS-funded app-vetting firm shows market promise

    DHS recently announced it would continue funding technology company Kryptowireso the company could further pursue private sector clients. Kryptowire sells software which identifies security vulnerabilities in mobile applications and archives the results. Kryptowire already has a client list that includes the Justice Departmentand a few entertainment and gaming companies, many of which use Kryptowire to review the safety of their apps before offering it to staff and customers.

  • Insurance industry rattled by Congress's failure to reauthorize terrorism insurance backstop

    Major commercial insurers and lenders serving the real estate, tourism, and construction sectors were surprised by Congress’s failure to reauthorize the federal government’s terrorism insurance backstop,or at least extend it into 2015, when the new Congress can then reach a consensus. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act(TRIA) was established in November 2002 as a federal backstop to protect insurers in the event an act of terrorism results in losses above $100 million. It has been extended and reauthorized twice. The insurance industry had hoped that TRIA would be renewed for another six years. The bill — the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014 — was passed by the House, but Senate Republicans and Democrats remained in disagreement through the end of the legislative session.

  • Fixing e-mail vulnerabilities in your organization

    E-mail is by far the most widely used and the least secure form of communication. The reason why e-mail is so vulnerable to attacks is because most organizations simply do not take any steps to secure it. Some often believe that e-mail messages are like private letters — securely sealed while in transit, and can only be opened when they reach the recipient. In reality, unsecured e-mail can be compared to a postcard which can be easily intercepted along the way.

  • Overcompensating customers affected by a data breach may make it worse

    Information systems researchers, who studied the effect of two compensation strategies used by Target in reaction to a large-scale data breach which affected more than seventy million customers, have found that overcompensation of affected customers may only raise suspicions rather than satisfy customers’ sense of justice. The study follows a spate of data breaches experienced by large retail firms, such as Home Depot, Sony, and eBay, which, in addition to Target, use so-called “big data” and analytics better to serve customers and drive sales performance.

  • Industry: Multiple redundant and back-up systems make nuclear plants safer than ever

    Nuclear plants receive what supporters of nuclear power regard as an unfair amount of scrutiny and concern for their safety, but industry experts say that plant equipment and plant operations are highly regulated to minimize risks.All U.S. nuclear plants are now storing emergency pumps, generators, battery banks, chargers, compressors, and hoses at off-site locations near the plants to protect against floods, industry insiders say.Working in a nuclear plant is much safer than working in a paper mill or a chemical plant, according to Jim Krafty, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) resident senior inspector at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pennsylvania.

  • U.S. says evidence ties North Korea to Sony cyberattack

    U.S. intelligence agencies said they have concluded that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the attacks on Sony’s computers. This conclusion, which will likely be confirmed today (Thursday) by the Justice Department, was leaked to the media only hours after Sony, on Wednesday, canceled the Christmas release of the comedy — the only known instance of a threat by a nation-state pre-empting the release of a movie. Senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White House was still debating whether publicly and officially to accuse North Korea of the cyberattack.

  • Sony cancels Christmas release of “The Interview”

    Sony Pictures announced it has cancelled the Christmas release of “The Interview,” the a film at the center of a hacking campaign, after dire threats to moviegoers and a decision by major movie theater groups to cancel screenings in the United States. “Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private e-mails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale — all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like,” the company said in a statement.

  • Murder charges against leaders of compounding company whose adulterated product killed 64

    In the fall of 2012, 751 people in twenty states fell ill and sixty-four died from a fungal meningitis outbreak shortly after receiving injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate produced at the New England Compounding Center (NECC), a Massachusetts-based compounding pharmacy. Fourteen people connected to NECC are facing a 131-count indictment, with Barry Cadden, co-founder of the company, and Glenn Adam Chin, a pharmacist who ran the sterile room, facing second-degree murder charges.

  • Sony hackers threaten attacks against movie goers who plan to see “The Interview”

    The hackers who attacked Sony networks are now threatening an attack on people who plan to go to see the movie “The Interview.” The hackers write in their message that they “recommend you to keep yourself distant” from movie theaters showing the movie. The hackers earlier promised to deliver a “Christmas gift.” It was not clear what they had in mind – some suggested they would release another batch of embarrassing data from Sony’s files — but it now looks as if the “gift” might well be a cyberattack on movie theaters.

  • 2008 Turkish oil pipeline explosion may have been Stuxnet precursor

    The August 2008 Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline explosion in Refahiye, eastern Turkey, was ruled at the time to be an accident resulting from a mechanical failure, which itself was a result of an oversight by Turkish government’s supervisors. Western intelligence services concluded that the explosion was the result of a cyberattack. According to people familiar with an investigation of the incident, hackers had infiltrate the pipeline’s surveillance systems and valve stations, and super-pressurized the crude oil in the pipeline, causing the explosion.

  • Nuclear power should play “substantial role” in mitigating climate change: Environmental scientists

    Leading conservation scientists from around the world have called for a substantial role for nuclear power in future energy-generating scenarios in order to mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity. In an open letter to environmentalists with more than sixty signatories, the scientists ask the environmental community to “weigh up the pros and cons of different energy sources using objective evidence and pragmatic trade-offs, rather than simply relying on idealistic perceptions of what is ‘green’.”

  • Senate expects to extend terrorism insurance after House passes bill

    After the House passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014 (TRIPRA) last week, supporters of the bill expect the Senate to approve it, although they are unsure when that will occur. The current version of the program is expected to expire by 31 December unless Congress renews the legislation or places a temporary extension.The House version would extend TRIPRA for six years, increase the threshold for government reimbursement from $100 million to $200 million, and increase companies’ co-payments to 20 percent from 15 percent.

  • Cyber whodunnit: North Korea prime suspect but there are many potential culprits

    Many suspect North Korea to be behind the attack on Sony Pictures. North Korea quite possibly has motive, means, and opportunity to carry out this attack on Sony, but as with any successful prosecution, that isn’t enough. We need evidence. We will have to wait for the detailed forensic work to complete before we stand a realistic chance of knowing for certain. That may or may not be forthcoming, but in the meantime we should consider what this event tells us about the balance of power in cyberspace. In a world in which major disruption can be caused with scant resources and little skill, all enemies are a threat. North Korea might be the rogue state that everyone loves to hate but there are plenty of others who could have done it. There is no longer a tiered approach of superpowers fighting proxy wars in smaller, developing nations. Now those developing nations can fight back, and you might not even know it was them.