• U.S. Navy Releases "Unexplained Aerial Phenomena" Videos

    The U.S. Department of Defense earlier this week released three declassified videos of “unexplained aerial phenomena” (the official name for “unidentified flying objects,” or UFOs). The three videos released Monday had already been leaked to the press in 2007 and 2017. Believers in the existence of extraterrestrial life cheered the Pentagon’s release of the videos, but experts caution that earthly explanations usually exist for such sightings — and that when people do not know why something happened, it does not mean it happened because of aliens.

  • Predicting and Countering Cyberttacks

    The U.K Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) announce nearly £1m to further develop technology that predicts and counters cyber-attacks. “This work will develop, adapt and merge the novel approaches explored in Phase 1 of the competition, to proactively defend deployed U.K. military systems and networks from the rapidly growing threat of offensive cyber action from aggressive adversaries,” DASA said.

  • Catching Nuclear Smugglers: Fast Algorithm Enable Cost-Effective Detectors at Borders

    Nations need to protect their citizens from the threat of nuclear terrorism. Nuclear security deters and detects the smuggling of special nuclear materials—highly enriched uranium, weapons-grade plutonium or materials that produce a lot of radiation—across national borders. A new algorithm could enable faster, less expensive detection of weapons-grade nuclear materials at borders, quickly differentiating between benign and illicit radiation signatures in the same cargo.

  • New Privacy Threat Combines Device Identification with Biometric Information

    A new study by computer scientists has revealed a new privacy threat from devices such as smartphones, smart doorbells and voice assistants that allows cyber attackers to access and combine device identification and biometric information.

  • The Pandemic Is Liberating Firms to Experiment with Radical New Ideas

    The pandemic may be an unmitigated calamity, but in some quarters it is spurring innovation, as firms come up with new ways to keep making existing products despite disrupted supply chains, or, as demand collapses amid self-isolation, create new ones. Some are changing the very way they innovate.

  • Coronavirus: Digital Contact Tracing Doesn’t Have to Sacrifice Privacy

    To make it safer to reduce the lockdown measures, proposals are being considered to use data from people’s smartphones to track their movements and contacts with potentially infected patients. Other systems involve monitoring the data trails of all citizens to generate useful information that helps to prevent the spread of the disease. All these approaches involve allowing the government, and in some cases private companies, to build a database of where we go, the people we associate with and when. Such intrusive tracking is more typically associated with totalitarian regimes and easily can be misused. Despite the good intentions, then, these measures raise serious concerns that collecting and sharing such data might pose a threat to citizens’ right to privacy.

  • Examining Australia’s COVIDSafe Tracing App

    The Australian government releases an App called COVIDSafe to help in tracing contacts of those infected with the coronavirus. As is the case with similar apps in other countries, COVIDSafe has raised privacy concerns, especially about the potential of abuse by government agencies and hacking by cybercriminals. The University of Sydney academics from the disciplines of cybersecurity, media, law and health comment on COVIDSafe, its pros and cons.

  • Solving “Link Discovery” Problem for Terahertz Data Networks

    When someone opens a laptop, a router can quickly locate it and connect it to the local Wi-Fi network. That ability is a basic element of any wireless network known as link discovery, and now a team of researchers has developed a means of doing it with terahertz radiation, the high-frequency waves that could one day make for ultra-fast wireless data transmission.

  • Artificial Intelligence Could Help Stem Tide of School Violence

    By leveraging the basics of artificial intelligence technology now used to predict risk for suicide or other mental health issues, researchers developed an AI system that analyzes linguistic patterns to predict a youth’s risk for committing acts of school violence.

  • The Deepfake iPhone Apps Are Here

    On Sunday, Lawfare’s Jacob Schulz, like many Americans, woke up to see that President Donald Trump had retweeted a misleading gif of his presumptive Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Schultz notes that Trump’s dissemination of a deepfake video was met with alarm. David Frum, for example, noted the significance of the president’s retweet: “Instead of sharing deceptively edited video—as Trump and his allies have often done before—yesterday Trump for the first time shared a video that had been outrightly fabricated.” Schulz adds: “Soon, people will be able to use their iPhones not just to turn themselves into mildly convincing late-night comedians but to convincingly turn Joe Biden into whatever they want. When that happens, in the now-infamous words of Samantha Cole of Motherboard, ‘We are truly f****d.’”

  • German start-up in global demand with anti-virus escalators

    Tanja Nickel and Katharina Obladen were still in high school when they patented an idea to disinfect escalator handrails using UV light. Michelle Fitzpatrick writes (AFP / Barron’s) that a decade later, their small German start-up UVIS can barely keep up with orders from around the world for their coronavirus-killing escalators and coatings for supermarket trolleys and elevator buttons. “Everybody wants it done yesterday,” Obladen, 28, told AFP at the company’s workshop in central Cologne. “The pandemic has made businesses realise they need to invest in hygiene precautions for staff and customers. It’s gone from nice-to-have to must-have.” As Germany begins to relax some lockdown restrictions, the start-up’s five-person team has been inundated with requests from shops, offices and cafes eager to reopen to a public newly aware of the health risks lurking in shared spaces.

  • Israeli Researchers Say They Can Make Disinfectant from Tap Eater

    Researchers electrify water to produce hypo chloric acid at defined level of acidity; patented method has not been published in science journal or subject to peer review. Shoshana Solomon writes in the Times of Israel that researchers at Bar-Ilan University have developed what they say is a new way to make strong and environmentally friendly disinfectants to kill bacteria and viruses by using just tap water. The disinfectant materials were recently tested by researchers in the virology labs of Prof. Ronit Sarid of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at the university and at the Poriya Hospital in the north of Israel, and were “proven effective” in neutralizing microbes, fungus and corona-type viruses, Aurbach said in a phone interview.

  • France, Europe Mull Controversial Coronavirus Tracing Apps

    France’s parliament votes next week on plans to use a controversial tracing app to help fight the coronavirus, as the country eyes easing its lockdown next month. Lisa Bryant writes in VOA News that French Digital Affairs Minister Cedric O says the downloadable app would notify smartphone users when they cross people with COVID-19, helping authorities track and reduce the spread of the pandemic. In a video on the ruling party’s Facebook page, O said the so-called “Stop COVID” app will fully respect people’s liberties, and will be completely voluntary and anonymous. It also will be temporary — lasting only as long as the pandemic, he added. The government wants to launch the app on May 11, the date it has set to begin easing a two-month lockdown in the country. It initially announced a parliamentary debate on the technology, but that’s been changed to a vote, after major pushback from lawmakers.

  • NIST Tool Could Help Hospitals Repurpose Rooms for Disinfecting N95 Masks

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the United States are disinfecting N95 masks by placing them in repurposed rooms or shipping containers injected with a disinfectant known as vaporized hydrogen peroxide, or VHP. A new tool from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) can help hospitals and medical professionals determine which rooms should be used to disinfect N95 masks. The tool estimates the amount of VHP masks would receive and suggests that larger rooms containing fewer objects, with less-reactive surfaces and slower ventilation, maintain VHP concentration the best.   

  • Self-Powered X-Ray Detector Improves Imaging for Medicine, Security, Research

    A new X-ray detector prototype is on the brink of revolutionizing medical imaging, with dramatic reduction in radiation exposure and the associated health risks, while also boosting resolution in security scanners and research applications. 2-D perovskite thin films boost sensitivity 100-fold compared to conventional detectors, require no outside power source, and enable low-dose dental and medical images.