• New Silicon Valley focus on cybersecurity

    The last time Silicon Valley focused on cybersecurity was in the 1990s. That focus saw the emergence of two giants: McAfee and Symantec. The two companies remain the most recognizable household names, thanks to their traditional firewall and anti-virus products. Now they find the arena which they thought was their own encroached from two sides. On one side there are tech giants like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, which see new revenue opportunity in cybersecurity. On the other side there is a rush of start-ups backed by large investments of venture capital.

  • Protecting cars from hackers

    A U.S. senator has asked twenty automobile manufacturers how each plans to stave off wireless hacking attempts on the computer systems of the vehicle they manufacture, and also how they protect driver privacy. The questions by Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) indicate that he will demand that carmakers apply computer-industry security processes, including implementation of anti-virus software, incident logging, incident-response planning, software vulnerability patching, and third-party penetration testing — the last of which would stage real hacker attacks on mass-production vehicles.

  • Airport scanner vendor failed to disclose use of Chinese components

    Recently TSA cancelled a $60 million contract with Rapiscan Systems, a manufacturer of anatomically revealing airport security scanners, after Rapiscan was found to be using unapproved Chinese components in its scanners – and failing to disclose this fact to TSA. Rapiscan, in bidding on the contract, submitted a list of U.S.-made components used in the scanners to the agency, as required by law. After the company received an approval of that list – and the $60 million contract – it ordered the same components from a Chinese company — the Shanghai Advanced Non-Destructive Testing – instructing the Chinese company to label the Chinese-made components with the same part numbers as the originally approved, U.S.-made components, apparently in an effort to make it more difficult for TSA inspectors to notice the illegal switch. Members of the House Homeland Security Committee, charging that the use of Chinese components made the machines susceptible to sabotage, disruption, or spying, want to know whether TSA was aware of Rapiscan’s shenanigans.

  • Digital privacy services enjoying a surge in demand

    Digital privacy services such as encrypted e-mail, secure instant messaging, and services that provide hard-to-track IP addresses are enjoying a surge in demand as individuals and businesses seek to protect information from spies and hackers in the wake of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program revelations. These services promise security, but may also slow down computer performance. Moreover, they are not likely to deter those who are determined to hack into a particular computer network.

  • Akamai to acquire cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic

    Organizations, faced with an ever-changing threat landscape, require comprehensive security solutions that address many different protection scenarios. These include securing mission critical Web properties and applications from attack, as well as protecting the full suite of enterprise IP applications — including e-mail, file transfers, and VPN — across a data center. Akamai acquires Prolexic in order to extend its Web optimization and security offerings by adding cloud-based security solutions for protecting data centers and enterprise applications.

  • Cybersecurity paradigm shift: from reaction to prediction and prevention

    The intensification of cyberattacks on corporations and government agencies has led to a surge of new companies offering cybersecurity solutions, and Israel boasts some of the world’s top cybersecurity firms.Until recently, investment dollars generally supported startups with a focus on defensive cyber solutions, but now firms like Israel’s CyberArk, providers of proactive and full-service cyber solutions, are of growing interest of tech investors.

  • Compass-EOS closes $42 million funding round

    Compass-EOS closes $42 million round. The company’s icPhotonics technology aims to disrupt the routing industry with efficient routers using novel optical backplane.

  • TCOM’s aerostat systems help U.S. Border Patrol

    Several TCOM aerostat systems are being evaluated by Border Patrol agents in operational environments along U.S.-Mexico border. TCOM’s aerostat systems enable operators to view activity along the border. The system can typically remain aloft for two weeks to one month at a time. With operational altitudes of up to 5,000ft, the aerostats provide monitoring of thousands of square miles.

  • Security agencies concerned about plastic guns

    The Undetectable firearms Act of 1988, which makes it illegal to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, process, transfer, or receive a firearm which is not detectable by walk-through metal detection, is set to expire on 9 December 2013. If Congress fails to reauthorize the law, plastic guns will no longer require metal components which are detectable by metal detectors. “When these 3D firearms are manufactured, some of the weapons can defeat normal detection such as metal detectors, wands, and it could present a problem to public safety in a venue such as an airport, an arena, a courthouse,” says ATF assistant director Richard Marianos.

  • Passwordbox raises $6 million in Series A funding

    PasswordBox emerged last June with a downloaded computer and mobile app which creates, saves, and manages every password a user has while keeping them safe with AES 256-bit encryption. The $6 million — raised in sixty days, closing in August – will go toward the imminent acquisition of a small company. PasswordBox declined to discuss which company or in what space the target operates.

  • Navy blimp returns to Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. skies today

    The U.S. Navy’s only manned airship, a modified American Blimp Corporation A-170 series commercial blimp, will return to the skies of Maryland today, 12 November, to conduct week-long testing of experimental avionics systems.Results of this research may ultimately help protect forward deployed U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps troops around the globe.

  • DoD ends ambitious blimp program

    The Department of Defensehas decided to end its Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) project.The blimp was supposed to fly for as long as three weeks at a time, gather intelligence using 2,500 pounds worth of the most advanced cameras, sensors, and other intelligence technology. Operating at an altitude of 20,000 feet, the airship was designed to withstand enemy fire with its blend of fabrics, including kevlar. The Pentagon spent $297 million on the airship, but last month sold it back to one of the contractors which built it for $301,000.

  • U.S. tech companies could go “dark” to regain trust

    With each new revelation of the scope of the American National Security Agency’s spying, perceptions of the importance of privacy are hardening around the world. There is thus a motivation for major technology companies to provide a verifiably secure means of allowing users to communicate securely without an ability for the companies to provide access to security agencies, even if requested to. Two companies, Silent Circle and Lavabit, have come together to form the Dark Mail alliance in an attempt to do exactly this.

  • IID raises $8 million to scale shared cyberintelligence offering

    Despite the growing danger posed by cybercrime, information vital to stemming the tide is fragmented across the Internet today. Pockets of data about threat activity are siloed within the repositories of individual enterprises, government organizations, vendor networks, and research institutions. IID’s ActiveTrust enables enterprises and government agencies to combat the rising frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks by sharing cyber incident data in real time. IID has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), and said it will use the investment to accommodate growing demand for ActiveTrust.

  • ShotSpotter helps Washington, D.C. police track gunshots

    Law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C are better equipped to track and monitor gunshots in the city’s most violent neighborhoods by using ShotSpotter, a system of rooftop sensors which recognizes sounds from gunfire. Law enforcement officials can track shooting incidents and also predict locations and time of future shooting incidents by analyzing records provided by ShotSpotter.