Infrastructure

  • Counterfeit chips may hobble advanced weapons

    While most computer security efforts have until now been focused on software, tampering with hardware circuitry may ultimately be an equally dangerous threat; the Pentagon now manufactures in secure facilities run by American companies only about 2 percent of the more than $3.5 billion of integrated circuits bought annually for use in military gear

  • H1N1-induced work-from-home may clog Internet

    Telecommuting is a good idea — up to a point; if, as a result of a pandemic, too many people decide to work from home, this could threaten to overwhelm the Internet, rendering it useless as a way for communicating and conducting transactions vital to public safety and the economy

  • The brief

    Vetting a chip with a hidden agenda is not easy, and chip makers cannot afford to test every chip; also, today only Intel and a few other companies still design and manufacture all their own chips in their own fabrication plants; other chip designers — including LSI Corp. and, most recently, Sony — have gone “fabless,” outsourcing their manufacturing to off-shore facilities known as foundries

  • Earthquake-proof airport terminal in Istanbul airport

    Large swaths of Turkey are earthquake prone; the 1999 Kocaeli earthquake, for example, killed 17,000 people, injured 50,000, and destroyed 27,000 buildings, leaving 500,000 homeless; estimates of property losses range from $3 billion to $6.5 billion; engineers claim they have made the terminal at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport earthquake-proof

  • US CERT: BlackBerry app may be spying on you

    A new BlackBerry application has the ability to turn their smartphone into a surveillance tool

  • Questions raised about Obama's smart grid funding

    For the smart grid project to succeed, the business case for it needs to be widely accepted by the stakeholders involved (skeptics would say that if efficiency-mindedness was at the top of the agenda in utility boardrooms and state regulatory agencies, then no federal stimulus money would be needed to install these kinds of technologies); also: the Obama plan envisions a joint public-private smart grid expenditure of $8.1 billion — the government’s $3.4 billion is being matched by $4.7 billion in private investment; a recent analysis of what it would take to build a unified national smart grid put the tab for such a grid at $400 billion

  • Washington State will put seismic sensors on viaduct

    Alaskan Way Viaduct in Washington State is crumbling, but it still carries more than 100,000 cars per day, and remains the city’s second-busiest north-south arterial after Interstate 5; until a $4.2 billion replacement project opens in 2015, the state will place sensors that on the viaduct which will close the elevated roadway at the first sign of seismic activity

  • Louisiana levee to use stabilizing fabric

    The 1,600-foot earthen levee, which runs south from the Old Estelle Pump Station, has failed twice, once in the early 1990s and again in 2007 when two sections totaling 600 feet long slumped badly; Army Corps of Engineers will use geotextile fabric to stabilize known trouble spots before raising the levee from 10 feet to 14.5 feet

  • The brief

    Smart grid technologies may themselves introduce new problems, such as increasing the vulnerability to cyber attack, as power grid resources become increasingly linked to the Internet

  • DHS to boost cybersecurity spending in 2010

    Of the $43 billion DHS 2010 budget, about $397 million is aimed at addressing cybersecurity issues; the amount is $84 million, or about 27 percent, higher than the $313 million that was allocated for information security spending in 2009

  • Vulnerability identified in Amazon's cloud computing

    Researchers show that it is possible to find would-be victims within cloud hardware; cloud technologies use virtual machines — remote versions of traditional onsite computer systems; the number of these virtual machines can be expanded or contracted on the fly to meet demand, creating tremendous efficiencies — but the actual computing is performed within one or more physical data centers, creating troubling vulnerabilities

  • How credible -- and serious -- is the cyber threat the U.S. faces?

    New report examines recent cyber attacks on South Korea and asks whether whether the attacks constituted an act of war and whether they could have been the work of a terrorist group; the answer is no on both counts; the U.S. dependence on digital technology makes it somewhat more vulnerable to cyber attacks than other nations,

  • The brief

    General IT spending by the U.S. government will increase by 3.5 percent a year between 2009 and 2014; during the same time, U.S. government spending on cybersecurity will grow at a compound rate of 8.1 percent a year, and spending on vendor-supplied information security products and services will increase from $7.9 billion in 2009 to $11.7 billion

  • Despite concerns, development still heads to the coast

    Many scientists predict that by 2100, sea levels would rise more than one meter; still, Florida has opened more vulnerable areas along the Atlantic coast to construction — and has done so more than any other state

  • Aussies worry about rising sea levels

    About 80 percent of Australians live in coastal areas, and a new parliamentary report recommends new laws banning further development in coastal regions