• Underground recovery process at WIPP begins

    Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), the management and operations contractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said it has initiated the first phase of an underground recovery process which will lead to the resumption of nuclear waste disposal operations at WIPP. Initial results show no airborne radioactive contamination in the underground shafts.

  • Software spots malicious behavior by apps

    Last year at the end of July the Russian software company Doctor Web detected several malicious apps in the app store Google Play. Downloaded on a smartphone, the malware installed — without the permission of the user — additional programs which sent expensive text messages to premium services. German computer scientists have now developed software which can discover such malicious apps already in the app store. The software detects pieces of code where the app accesses sensitive data and where data is sent from the mobile device.

  • Pentagon to fund new “kill vehicle” for missile defense

    The Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget includes $8.5 billion in funding for missile defense programs. About $300 million will be used on a new kill vehicle and it support systems. A Pentagon official said that a new kill vehicle was needed because the current system suffered from “bad engineering” and has failed several tests.

  • CBP awards $145 million border towers contract to Elbit

    DHS’s Customs and Border Protection(CBP) has awarded Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israeli based Elbit Systems, a $145 million contract for the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) project along the Mexico-Arizona border. The first phase of the project includes a number of observation towers along the Nogales, Arizona border with Mexico. Additional options could include towers at over five other border sections in Arizona.

  • Two politicians insisting on more congressional oversight of DHS

    By Robert Lee Maril

    The lawmakers who support the proposed DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act, authored by Representative Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina), are doing exactly what they were sent to Washington to do: they are attempting to provide fiscal oversight over one of our largest federal agencies. Hopefully, politicians on both sides of the aisle will join Representatives Duncan and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in passing legislation forcing DHS to use tax payer money in the most efficient ways possible, including demanding contractors meet the terms of their contracts, not rewarding contractors who have a record of poor performance, and completing their security-related projects in a timely manner.

  • BGU startup Titanium Core wins Cybertition cyber security competition

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev startup Titanium Core won the first Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP)-sponsored Cybertition cyber security competition. Titanium Core uses a multilayered security approach to repel attacks on mission-critical systems, provide real-time attack information, and prevent threats from moving onto other computer systems. The company will receive $1 Million investment from JVP and space in the JVP Cyber Labs incubator, located in the cyber center in Beer-Sheva, adjacent to Ben-Gurion University.

  • Operator of Hanford nuclear disposal site fires scientists who voice safety concerns

    The Hanford project in Washington State is the Department of Energy’s (DoE) largest nuclear cleanup project. DoE plans to transform fifty-six million gallons of radioactive sludge, currently stored in underground tanks, into solid glass. Scientists and engineers who work at Hanford have questioned the effectiveness of the required technology, and have voiced serious concerns about safety issues. Two of those who were the most persistent in voicing their concerns about safety have been fired, and a third one has left his job voluntarily.

  • Facebook-WhatsApp deal raises security concerns

    Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp made headlines for its sheer size — $4 billion in cash and $15 in Facebook stock, for a total of about $19 billion – but security experts are worried about the security aspects of the deal. Even security specialists advising WhatApp’s customers not to panic about the deal, use language which is not exactly reassuring. Serge Malenkovich of Kaspersky Labs says: “There are no new [emphasis in original] reasons to worry about messaging privacy. Honestly speaking, WhatsApp was never meant to be a true confidential messaging tool; there were even multiple breaches in the past, including some attacks, which make eavesdropping possible.”

  • Cloud security specialist Apprity announces $8 million Series A round

    Santa Clara, California-based Apprity, a stealth Cloud Security company, the other day announced an $8 million Series A round of venture capital funding. The company notes that more and more business processes and applications are being transitioned to the cloud, but that the promise of Cloud and SaaS applications, combined with trends of Mobility, Bring-your-own-Device (BYOD), and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) is constrained by multiplying cyber threats. While security vendors typically focus on providing solutions for securing the perimeter, Apprity says it focuses on the need for a modern approach to Cloud security, and is developing patent-pending technology to address today’s complex business requirements.

  • Dassault Systèmes, Georgia Tech expand STEM education collaboration

    Dassault Systèmes the other day announced that the Georgia Institute of Technology will adopt the company’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform for 10,000 users (students and educators), including its range of capabilities in the design authoring, digital manufacturing, collaboration, scientific simulation, and visualization fields. The announcement comes after nearly twelve years of collaboration, in which Georgia Tech and Dassault Systèmes have partnered to establish an ambitious science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education program.

  • Anonymous messaging apps grow in popularity

    The recent surge in anonymous and ephemeral messaging apps like Backchat, Whipsper, Snapchat, Secret, and Ask.fm is a response to a growing demand for social media networks which allow users to interact without revealing their identify for fear of retribution or long-term stains on their personal records.

  • Israeli defense company launches cybersecurity solutions section

    In recent months the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has increased its cyberdefense-related activities. Esti Peshin, director of the company’s cyber section and a veteran of the IDF’s hush-hush sigint Unit 8200, says IAI is now developing solutions for clients in Israel and abroad. “We’re a start-up, but with the backing of a company that earns $3.5 billion a year,” she said. Ultimately, she implied, these defensive measures can be turned into offensive capabilities. “Intelligence is a subset of attack,” Peshin said. “This is, first of all, a national mission.”

  • Micro-windmills to recharge cell phones, used for home energy generation

    Researchers have designed a micro-windmill that generates wind energy and may become an innovative solution to cell phone batteries constantly in need of recharging, and home energy generation where large windmills are not preferred. The device is about 1.8 mm at its widest point. A single grain of rice could hold about ten of these tiny windmills. Hundreds of the windmills could be embedded in a sleeve for a cell phone.

  • U.S. takes action against tank car loaders for mislabeling hazardous cargo

    One of the charges against Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMAR), the rail carrier operating the train which exploded in the small city of Lac- Mégantic, Quebec in July 2013, was that it mislabeled the cargo, claiming it to be less hazardous than it was. The mislabeling and downgrading of the contents of the cars allowed to company to take less rigorous security measures to secure the cars without appearing to break the law. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving against other carriers who mislabel the contents of their cargo to avoid the cost of required security measures.

  • Wal-Mart effect: Decline in crime rates slower where Wal-Mart builds

    Communities across the United States experienced an unprecedented decline in crime in the 1990s. For counties where Wal-Mart built stores, however, the decline was not nearly as dramatic. A new study examines crime rate in 3,109 U.S. counties in the 1990s, a time of dynamic growth and expansion for Wal-Mart and falling crime rates nationally. During that decade, Wal-Mart expanded in 767 of those counties. The researchers show that Wal-Mart tended to expand in counties with higher than average crime rates, and with numerous crime-related predicators, such as poverty, unemployment, immigration, population structure, and residential turnover. The researchers speculate that much of this relationship occurred because Wal-Mart finds better success building in communities that are less likely to protest the company’s arrival.