• CybersecurityA Human-Machine Collaboration to Defend Against Cyberattacks

    By Zach Winn

    Being a cybersecurity analyst at a large company today is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack — if that haystack were hurtling toward you at fiber optic speed. PatternEx merges human and machine expertise to spot and respond to hacks.

  • IoTCustom Circuits to Make IoT Systems 14,000 Times Harder to Crack than Current Tech

    The “internet of things” (IoT) allows devices — kitchen appliances, security systems, wearable technologies and many other applications — to communicate with each other through networks. With the world on the verge of adopting them by the billions, the best possible security is paramount. Engineers have one-upped their own technique to increase security for the “internet of things.” In truth, their upping is far greater than one.

  • RoboticsEmulating Snakes for Building Better Robots for Search-and-Rescue Missions

    Snakes live in diverse environments ranging from unbearably hot deserts to lush tropical forests. But regardless of their habitat, they are able to slither up trees, rocks, and shrubbery with ease. Mechanical engineers design a snake robot based on the climbing technique of the kingsnake. The new design could help advance search-and-rescue technology.

  • Hardware securityMixed-Signal Hardware Security Thwarts Powerful Electromagnetic Attacks

    Security of embedded devices is essential in today’s internet-connected world. Security is typically guaranteed mathematically using a small secret key to encrypt the private messages. When these computationally secure encryption algorithms are implemented on a physical hardware, they leak critical side-channel information in the form of power consumption or electromagnetic radiation. Now, researchers have developed technology to kill the problem at the source itself – tackling physical-layer vulnerabilities with physical-layer solutions.

  • Protective gearWWI Helmets Protect Against Shock Waves as Well as or Better than Modern Designs

    Biomedical engineers have demonstrated that, despite significant advancements in protection from ballistics and blunt impacts, modern military helmets are no better at protecting the brain from shock waves created by nearby blasts than their First World War counterparts. And one model in particular, the French Adrian helmet, actually performed better than modern designs in protecting from overhead blasts.

  • Planetary securityHow to Deflect an Asteroid

    By Jennifer Chu

    MIT researchers have devised a framework for deciding which type of mission would be most successful in deflecting an incoming asteroid. Their decision method takes into account an asteroid’s mass and momentum, its proximity to a gravitational keyhole, and the amount of warning time that scientists have of an impending collision — all of which have degrees of uncertainty, which the researchers also factor in to identify the most successful mission for a given asteroid.

  • Courts & scienceCourtrooms Seldom Overrule Bad Science

    In television crime dramas, savvy lawyers are able to overcome improbable odds to win their cases by presenting seemingly iron-clad scientific evidence. In real-world courtrooms, however, the quality of scientific testimony can vary wildly, making it difficult for judges and juries to distinguish between solid research and so-called junk science.

  • Software securityTool Identifies Source of Errors Caused by Software Updates

    We’ve all shared the frustration — software updates that are intended to make our applications run faster inadvertently end up doing just the opposite. These bugs, dubbed in the computer science field as performance regressions, are time-consuming to fix since locating software errors normally requires substantial human intervention. Researchers and computer scientists have designed a tool to identify the source of errors caused by software updates.

  • HackingHow I Hacked the Government (It Was Easier than You May Think)

    By Clea Simon

    Max Weiss, Harvard Class of 2020, never intended to hack the government. His discovery of how easy it is to do — outlined in a new paper he authored — came of the best of intentions. He used bots to show an agency its website vulnerability.

  • Climate & securityA Military Perspective on Climate Change Could Bridge the Gap Between Believers and Doubters

    By Michael Klare

    As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it. With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap.

  • CybersecurityBuilding the Cybersecurity Workforce of the Future

    This year marked the third Cybercore Summer Camp for area high school students and teachers, and the first year that cybersecurity was included in the STEM Summer Camp for younger students at the College of Eastern Idaho (CEI). It was also Idaho’s first year as a statewide participant in the national Girls Go CyberStart competition. And 2019 saw two area high school students spend the summer as cybersecurity interns at the laboratory. INL offers a recap of all the ways “INL is building the cybersecurity workforce of the future.”

  • Planetary securityAliens May Be Sending Us Probing Messages Every 16 Days

    Is there intelligent life out there in the universe? If so, have these intelligent aliens seen us? Have they been trying to find out more about us? New research says they may have been. A just-published scientific paper presents details of blasts of radio waves sent every 16 days from a nearby massive spiral galaxy. Are these radio waves, aimed in the direction of Earth, generated by aliens? Note that the spiral  galaxy in question is 500 million light years distant: Even if the fast radio bursts (FRBs) detected were generated by an intelligent civilization, that civilization may no longer exist.

  • ArgumentThe Next Deadly Pathogen Could Come from a Rogue Scientist. Here’s How We Can Prevent That.

    In the past few years, something new has become possible in biology: cheaply “printing” DNA for insertion into a cell. Kelsey Piper writes in Vox that this means a scientist who needs a particular DNA sequence to, say, create new bacteria for research can now order that DNA sequence from a lab. “But what if I asked them to print for me the genetic code of the influenza that caused the 1918 flu that killed millions of people? What if I sent them the instructions for a new disease that I have reason to believe is dangerous? What if I was doing legitimate research, but my lab didn’t adhere to modern safety standards?”

  • Water securityArid American West is Moving East as Groundwater Depletes

    Loss of groundwater may accelerate drying trends in the eastern United States, according to research that applied supercomputing to create an in-depth model of how groundwater will respond to warming. Even under modest climate warming scenarios, the continental United States faces a significant loss of groundwater – about 119 million cubic meters, or roughly enough to fill Lake Powell four times or one quarter of Lake Erie.

  • Coastal challengesSea Level Rise to Cause Major Economic Impact If No Climate Action Is Taken

    Rising sea levels, a direct impact of the Earth’s warming climate, is intensifying coastal flooding. The findings of a new study show that the projected negative economy-wide effects of coastal flooding are already significant until 2050, but are then predicted to increase substantially towards the end of the century if no further climate action on mitigation and adaptation is taken.