Infrastructure protection | Homeland Security Newswire

  • Predicting East Coast hurricane flooding risks

    A model developed at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will soon make its debut in the real world, helping to characterize and predict the paths and impacts of hurricanes on the East Coast.

  • Shoring up beaches by just adding sand

    New research is shedding light on how mechanically placed sand on San Diego County beaches moves and its potential impacts. The study could help planners develop beach nourishment projects that will reach their intended goals without causing unintended problems.

  • Space weather threatens high-tech life

    In September 1859, parts of the United States were crippled by a fierce space weather storm. Today’s even more sensitive electronics and satellites would be devastated should an event of that magnitude occur again. In 2008, a panel of experts commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences issued a detailed report with a sobering conclusion: The world would be thrown back to the life of the early 1800s, and it would take years – or even a decade – to recover from an event that large.

  • Pulling valuable metals from e-waste makes economic sense

    Electronic waste — including discarded televisions, computers and mobile phones — is one of the fastest-growing waste categories worldwide. For years, recyclers have gleaned usable parts, including metals, from this waste stream. That makes sense from a sustainability perspective, but it’s been unclear whether it’s reasonable from an economic viewpoint. Now researchers report that recovering gold, copper and other metals from e-waste is cheaper than obtaining these metals from mines.

  • Outgoing U.S. national security adviser: West has “failed to impose sufficient costs” on Russia

    Outgoing White House national security adviser H. R. McMaster has called for stronger measures against Russian “threats” and “provocations,” arguing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is mistaken in thinking the West will not push back against the Kremlin’s “hybrid warfare.” The comments were some of the strongest to date on Russia by McMaster, whose last day at the White House will be next week.

  • Artificial levees on Mississippi River dramatically increased extreme floods

    A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River. It shows a dramatic rise in the size and frequency of extreme floods in the past century—mostly due to projects to straighten, channelize, and bound the river with artificial levees. The new research also uncovered a clear pattern over the centuries linking flooding on the Mississippi with natural fluctuations of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures.

  • Flood risk denial in U.S. coastal communities

    Rising sea levels have worsened the destruction that routine tidal flooding causes in the nation’s coastal communities. On the U.S. mainland, communities in Louisiana, Florida and Maryland are most at risk. Stemming the loss of life and property is a complex problem. Elected officials can enact policies to try to lessen the damage of future flooding. Engineers can retrofit vulnerable buildings. But, in the face of a rising tide, changing hearts and minds might be the most formidable obstacle to decreasing the damage done by flooding.

  • Russian ships scouting key communication cables

    Russia has not only attacked the infrastructure of American democracy, but has also engaged in what the U.S. government describes as a pervasive, wide-ranging cyber-assault on U.S. energy grid and other key components of the U.S. critical infrastructure. These attacks included leaving “sleeper” malware in key infrastructure nodes, which would allow Russia – remotely, and at the time of its choosing — to turn off power stations, open dam gates, shutdown water treatment facilities, and more. Western intelligence services have spotted Russian ships lurking around critical underwater communications cables, causing concern the Kremlin is doing reconnaissance in preparation for possible future retaliatory action.

  • U.K.'s best cyber defenders compete for chance to take on the U.S. cyber best

    Inter-ACE, now in its third year, was established to help resolve the vast and growing cyber security skills gap, with an estimated shortfall of 1.8 million workers worldwide by 2022. More than 130 students representing eighteen of the U.K.’s top cybersecurity universities battled it out at the Inter-ACE 2018 cybersecurity challenge, hosted by the University of Cambridge. The competition, supported by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Center, and designed to attract the next generation of cybersecurity talent.

  • Modeling cyber insurance could protect the power grid

    The failure of even parts of the U.S. power grid could cause rolling blackouts that paralyze health care, traffic and business systems. With the advent of “smart” infrastructures that send data to the internet, cybersecurity is becoming a prime concern of public officials. Researchers are aiming to help utility companies prepare for that risk by making it easier for insurance companies to cover it.

  • Climate-proofing to meet increased frequency, intensity of extreme weather events

    Man-made climate change has been proven to have increased recent extreme rainfall and associated floods; coastal flooding due to sea-level rise; heatwaves in Australia, China, and Europe; and increased risks of wildfires with implications for humans and animals, the environment, and the economy. Climate proofing can help to limit these impacts.

  • Geoengineering polar glaciers to slow sea-level rise

    Targeted geoengineering to preserve continental ice sheets deserves serious research and investment, argues an international team of researchers. Without intervention, by 2100 most large coastal cities will face sea levels that are more than three feet higher than they are currently.

  • We need laws on geoengineering, and soon

    Humans have been accidentally altering the planet’s climate for thousands of years. Soon, it may be possible alter it intentionally. The deliberate, large-scale manipulation of climate is called geoengineering. The term encompasses a variety of proposals, from pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to reflecting sunlight back into space in an attempt to slow the earth’s warming. Global geoengineering tactics haven’t yet been deployed, but as climate change starts to spin out of control, support for some forms of geoengineering seems to be growing.

  • How do forensic engineers investigate bridge collapses, like the one in Miami?

    On 15 March, a 950-ton partially assembled pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami suddenly collapsed onto the busy highway below, killing six people and seriously injuring nine. Forensic engineers are taking center stage in the ongoing investigation to find out what happened and why – and, crucially, to learn how to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

  • Senate Intel Committee: Initial election security recommendations for 2018 election cycle

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold an open hearing today, Wednesday, 21 March 2018, on the threats to election infrastructure. The hearing will cover Russian attempted attacks on state election infrastructure in 2016, DHS and FBI efforts to improve election security, and the view from the states on their cybersecurity posture. The committee yesterday made available its initial recommendations on election security after investigating Russian attempts to target election infrastructure during the 2016 U.S. elections.