• Rather food versus fuel, think in terms of both food and fuel

    Whether you have taken a side or a backseat in the discussion, the “food versus fuel” debate affects us all. Some say growing more biofuel crops today will decrease greenhouse gas emissions, but will make it harder to produce food tomorrow, which has prevented the United States from maximizing the potential of environmentally beneficial biofuels. Scientists argue that farmers can sustainably, and affordably, meet humanity’s growing demand for food and fuel.

  • Beyond data theft: Next phase of cyber intrusions will include destruction, manipulation of data

    James Clapper, director of U.S. intelligence, and other senior intelligence officers, have warned Congress that the next phase of escalating online data theft will likely involve the manipulation of digital information. Clapper on Wednesday told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee that a “cyber Armageddon,” in which a digitally triggered damage to physical infrastructure results in a series of catastrophic events, is less likely than “cyber operations that will change or manipulate data.” Leaders of the U.S. intelligence community told lawmakers that the manipulation or destruction of data would undermine confidence in data stored on or accessible through U.S. networks, engendering an uncertainty which could jeopardize U.S. military situational awareness and undermine business activity.

  • Securing and protecting the emerging Internet of Things

    The digital world once existed largely in non-material form. But with the rise of connected homes, smart grids and autonomous vehicles, the cyber and the physical are merging in new and exciting ways. These hybrid forms are often called cyber-physical systems (CPS), and are giving rise to a new Internet of Things. National Science Foundation and Intel Corporation team to improve the security and privacy of computing systems that interact with the physical world using a new cooperative research model.

  • 2015 drought costs for California agriculture: Loss of $1.84 billion, 10,100 jobs

    The drought is tightening its grip on California agriculture, squeezing about 30 percent more workers and cropland out of production than in 2014, according to the latest drought impact report. In 2015, the state’s agricultural economy will lose about $1.84 billion and 10,100 seasonal jobs because of the drought, the report estimated, with the Central Valley hardest hit. The heavy reliance on groundwater comes at ever-increasing energy costs as farmers pump deeper and drill more wells. Some of the heavy pumping is in basins already in severe overdraft — where groundwater use greatly exceeds replenishment of aquifers — inviting further land subsidence, water quality problems, and diminishing reserves needed for future droughts.

  • Apple's encryption prevents it from complying with U.S. court order

    Apple said it could not comply with a court order to hand over texts sent using iMessage between two iPhones because the company’s encryption system makes it impossible to do so. The Justice Department persuaded the court to issue the order to facilitate an investigation involving guns and drugs. Legal experts say this is the first known direct face-off between the U.S. government and Apple over encryption. The FBI contends that such encryption puts the American public at risk because it makes it harder, if not impossible, to track and catch terrorists, pedophiles, and other criminals.

  • Strategic alliance to deliver behavioral analysis cybersecurity to market

    Ernst & Young LLP and Los Alamos National Laboratory have formed a strategic alliance to deliver what they describe as some of the most advanced behavioral cybersecurity tools available to the commercial market. The alliance comes at a watershed moment when increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks are inflicting significant economic, social, and even political damage to U.S. organizations. The tools developed by Los Alamos and delivered to the private sector by Ernst & Young LLP can help counter these threats by detecting them before they do deep and lasting damage.

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  • DHS S&T awards $10.4 million in mobile security research contracts

    The mobile technology industry has continuously expanded with new devices and apps, allowing people to simplify how and where business is conducted. While increasing the use of mobile technology can enhance productivity, improved security is needed to ensure that sensitive information is not at risk to current and emerging cyber threats. DHS S&T the other day announced $10.4 million in cybersecurity Mobile Technology Security (MTS) research and development (R&D) awards to enhance the security of mobile devices for the federal government.

  • Federally funded network anomaly-detection technology licensed to Ernst & Young

    The Transition to Practice (TTP) program, established in 2012 as part of S&T’s Cybersecurity Division, looks to transition federally funded cybersecurity technologies from the laboratory to enterprise consumers. S&T the other day announced that the PathScan technology, a network anomaly-detection tool developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory, has been licensed to Ernst & Young LLP (EY).

  • TSA deploys AtHoc crisis communication solution in 200 airports

    TSA joins the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in deploying AtHoc to improve crisis communication in 200 U.S. airports. TSA’s Alert Warning System (AWS), based on AtHoc, will enable real-time accountability of TSA staff during routine, emergency, and critical events.

  • Wearable device helps medics save lives in disasters, on the battlefield

    The First Response Monitor is a wearable device designed to measure and monitor the vital signs of multiple trauma patients for emergency response in disasters and battlefield situations. The device has been primarily designed with first response medics in mass casualty incidents in mind, but it has applications in many other fields — such as civilian medicine where additional monitoring of conditions has benefit in patient outcomes, wellness monitoring, and within sports for training and performance monitoring.

  • Nuclear weapons workers at DOE Texas plant vote to strike

    Workers at Consolidated Nuclear Security Pantex in Amarillo, Texas are responsible for the nuclear weapons life extension programs; weapons dismantlement; development, testing, and fabrication of high explosives components; and storage and surveillance of plutonium pits. On Friday, after more than seven months at the bargaining table with CNS Pantex, 87 percent of the unionized workers at the Amarillo facility voted to strike.

  • Draft guide to help energy companies reduce cyber risk

    DHS reported that 5 percent of the cybersecurity incidents its Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team responded to in fiscal year 2014 were tied to weak authentication. Four percent were tied to abuse of access authority. The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is requesting comments on a draft guide to help energy companies better control who has access to their networked resources, including buildings, equipment, information technology, and industrial control systems.

  • Interactive tool roots discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence

    Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than speculation. Over the last two years, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has developed the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator, an online interface that provides a nuanced look at the economic costs of nuclear power. The calculator provides a simple gateway into the physics-laden universe of nuclear economics. A user can slide more than sixty moving scales to tweak inputs like uranium price or reactor construction time, and then watch the expected price shift.

  • U.S. coastal flood risk on the rise ten years after Hurricane Katrina

    A decade after Hurricane Katrina caused $41 billion in property and casualty insurance losses, the most expensive catastrophe ever experienced by the global insurance industry, rising sea levels are driving up expected economic and insurance losses from hurricane-driven storm surge in coastal cities across the United States. Rising sea levels contributing to increased risk of severe economic damage from flood following a hurricane – and Miami, New York, and Tampa now face greater risk than New Orleans.

  • Security check firm USIS accepts $30 million fraud settlement

    United States Investigations Services, the security firm which vetted Edward Snowden, has agreed to a fine of about $30 million to settle U.S. charges related to the way it conducted background checks on applicants for sensitive government jobs. The Justice Department said USIS engaged in practice internally called “dumping” or “flushing,” in which the company released the background checks of individuals to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and presented these cases as having been completed when, in fact, they were not.