Cybersecurity

  • EncryptionNew encryption code to take on toughest of cyber attacks

    Mathematicians have designed an encryption code capable of fending off the phenomenal hacking power of a quantum computer. Using high-level number theory and cryptography, the researchers reworked an infamous old cipher called the knapsack code to create an online security system better prepared for future demands.

  • GridU.S. grid vulnerable to cyber, physical attacks

    The U.S. electric grid remains vulnerable to cyber and physical attacks, putting millions of households at risk from outages that could last a few days or weeks. Attacks on the grid occur once every four days, and though no great harm has been caused, some experts are warning that the series of small-scale incidents may point to broader security problems. “It’s one of those things: One is too many, so that’s why we have to pay attention,” says one expert. “The threats continue to evolve, and we have to continue to evolve as well.”

  • CybersecurityNew technology combats mobile malware attacks

    As mobile phones increase in functionality, they are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in everyday life. At the same time, these devices also are becoming easy targets for malicious activities.One of the primary reasons for such malware explosion is user willingness to download applications from untrusted sources that may host apps with hidden malicious codes. Once installed on a smartphone, such malware can exploit it in various ways. Researchers have developed simple but effective techniques to prevent sophisticated malware from secretly attacking smartphones.

  • EncryptionYahoo to offer user-friendly e-mail encryption service

    Yahoo has announced plans to create its own e-mail encryption plug-in for Yahoo Mail users this year, adding to already growing competition among Silicon Valley firms to capitalize on consumers increased privacy desires. The service will feature “end-to-end” encryption, or the locking up of message contents so that only the user and receiver have access to the information — typically a more advanced and time consuming process which involves specific software and encryption codes.

  • CybersecurityA 2-square-meter model city shows cyber-threats real cities face

    In a secret location in New Jersey, Ed Skoudis operates CyberCity, a model town of 15,000 people, which employs the same software and control systems used by power and water utilities in major cities. CyberCity has its own Internet service provider, bank, media outlets, military base, hospital, and school. The two-square-meter model town serves as a mock staging ground for the cyber threats faced by city officials around the world. There, computer security professionals get offensive and defensive training in their battle against hackers. Skoudis, founder of CounterHack, designed CyberCity four years ago when military clients complained that most cybersecurity training felt too much like video games.

  • CybersecurityAir-gapped computer systems can be hacked by using heat: Researchers

    Computers and networks are air-gapped – that is, kept approximately fifteen inches (40 cm) apart — when they need to be kept highly secure and isolated from unsecured networks, such as the public Internet or an unsecured local area network. Typically, air-gapped computers are used in financial transactions, mission critical tasks, or military applications. Israeli researchers have discovered a new method, called BitWhisper, to breach air-gapped computer systems. The new method enables covert, two-way communications between adjacent, unconnected PC computers using heat – meaning that hackers to hack information from inside an air-gapped network, as well as transmit commands to it.

  • PrivacyPeople act to protect privacy – after learning how often apps share personal information

    Many smartphone users know that free apps sometimes share private information with third parties, but few, if any, are aware of how frequently this occurs. A new study shows that when people learn exactly how many times these apps share that information, they rapidly act to limit further sharing. In an experiment, researchers found that one of the more effective alert messages which g grabbed the attention of phone users and caused them to act to protect their privacy, was: “Your location has been shared 5,398 times.”

  • CryptographyIncreasing the efficiency of quantum cryptography systems

    Researchers have developed a way to transfer 2.05 bits per photon by using “twisted light.” This remarkable achievement is possible because the researchers used the orbital angular momentum of the photons to encode information, rather than the more commonly used polarization of light. The new approach doubles the 1 bit per photon that is possible with current systems that rely on light polarization and could help increase the efficiency of quantum cryptography systems.

  • CybersecurityIT security spending grows, but confidence in cyber protection measures does not

    A new report looking at how organizations view the future of cyberthreats and these organizations’ current defenses, found that while IT spending is increasing, confidence in the efficacy of cyber protection is declining. In a survey of more than 800 IT security leaders and professionals, the report found that more than 70 percent of respondents’ networks had been breached in 2014 — a 62 percent increase from 2013. Security concerns are only going to increase as the number of Internet connected devices increase from fourteen billion today to fifty billion by 2020.

  • CybersecurityWireless implantable medical devices vulnerable to hacking

    With rapidly advancing medical technologies, more and more Americans are fitted with wireless implantable medical devices (IMDs) such as cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, cochlear implants, neuro-stimulators, and insulin pumps. This is leading to growing concerns over the vulnerability of such devices to hacking.

  • CybersecuritySenate panel passes revised cybersecurity bill, but privacy concerns remain

    Last Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committeepassed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act(CISA) meant to encourage the private sector to share data with federal agencies, with the hopes of preventing and responding to cyberthreats before they materialized. The bill is a reincarnation of the 2013 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act(CISPA), which drew a veto threat from President Barack Obama because of privacy concerns. Critics say that CISA, as was the case with its predecessor, would create a legal framework for companies to more closely monitor internet users and share that data with government agencies.

  • EncryptionEncryption for the masses

    In the wake of the revelations that intelligence agencies have engaged in mass surveillance, both industry and society at large are looking for practicable encryption solutions which protect businesses and individuals. Previous technologies have failed in practice because they were too expensive or not user-friendly enough. German scientists have launched an open initiative called Volksverschlüsselung, which aims to bring end-to-end encryption to people.

  • PrivacyThe Brandeis program: Harnessing technology to ensure online privacy

    In a seminal 1890 article in the Harvard Law Review, Louis Brandeis developed the concept of the “right to privacy.” DARPA the other day announced the Brandeis program – a project aiming to research and develop tools for online privacy, one of the most vexing problems facing the connected world as devices and data proliferate beyond a capacity to be managed responsibly.

  • Terrorism & social mediaWeighing the pros, cons of blocking ISIS’s access to social media

    The Islamic State has successfully used social media to spread its ideology, share videos of beheadings, and recruit new followers. U.S. counterterrorism agencies have launched their own social media campaigns to diminish ISIS’s effects on would be jihadists, but some officials have considered whether it would be simpler to cut off ISIS from social media networks altogether. Doing so would no doubt limit ISIS’s reach on Western recruits, but could it create a challenge for officials looking to monitor the group’s activities?

  • CybersecurityBiometric security could do away with passwords

    With hackers and cyber thieves running rampant online, efforts to create stronger online identity protection are leading major tech firms to invest in biometric security methods. Analysts predict that 15 percent of mobile devices will be accessed with biometrics in 2015, and the number will grow to 50 percent by 2020.