• 7-Eleven stores used stolen social security numbers to pay illegal immigrants

    Federal authorities shut down fourteen 7-Eleven stores in New York and Virginia on Monday, charging nine owners with hiring and harboring illegal immigrants and paying them with social security numbers of other citizens. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and federal prosecutors say forty additional 7-Eleven’s are still under investigation.

  • Georgia’s Plant Vogtle may determine future of nuclear energy

    Analysts say that the future of the U.S. nuclear industry, and of nuclear power generation in the United States, will largely depend on the success of two reactors, called Vogtle 3 and 4, at the Alvin Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. For the nuclear industry, the Plant Vogtle project and another project in South Carolina may be the last hope of what many analysts consider to be a dying energy source.

  • Second NSA domestic surveillance scheme revealed: data mining from nine U.S. ISPs

    A day after it was revealed that the NSA was collecting communication information on millions of Verizon’s U.S. customers, another NSA domestic surveillance scheme was exposed: the NSA and the FBI have been tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet service providers for the purpose of harvesting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs. The information collected allowed intelligence analysts to track an individual’s movements and contacts over time.

  • NSA collecting information on Verizon customers’ communications

    The National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting massive amounts of “metadata,” or transactional information, on millions of Verizon’s U.S. customers. A court granted the NSA permission to begin information collection on 25 April, stipulating the collection must end by 19 July. The court order instructs Verizon to “continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order.” It specifies that the records to be produced include “session identifying information,” such as “originating and terminating number,” the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and “comprehensive communication routing information.”

  • Android anti-virus products easily evaded: study

    Researchers tested ten of the most popular antiviral products for Android and found each could be easily circumnavigated by even the most simple obfuscation techniques. “Many of these products are blind to even trivial transformation attacks not involving code-level changes — operations a teenager could perform,” one of the researchers say.

  • DHS debars scanner maker from government contracts

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has sent OSI Systems, the manufacturer of airport body scanners, a debarment notice which would prevent the company from receiving government contacts in the future. The notice was sent to the company after TSA determined that the company had failed to address security concerns about its scanners.

  • State agency imposes heavy fine on PG&E for San Bruno blast

    The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) two weeks ago  wrapped up its investigation of a 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California, and recommended  that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) pay $2.25 billion for its negligence, which led to the blast.

  • Wave of cyberattacks targets American energy companies

    A new wave of cyberattacks has been hitting American corporations, and federal officials, say the attackers, who reside somewhere in the Middle East, are trying to sabotage these corporations. The majority of the targets have been energy companies, and the attacks are trying to take control of company’s processing systems.

  • Canadian company provides software to U.S. intelligence agencies

    A Canadian company has spent the last few years locking up contracts to provide security software to U.S. federal agencies such as the NSA, CIA, and FBI. The company moved from the United States to Canada because the Canadian government gives tax credits for high-tech companies coming to Canada, and Canadian government agencies help the company break into new markets by sponsoring his company in international conferences. It was in one of these conferences that he once met “some NSA folks.”

  • Ocean thermal energy conversion power plant to be built off southern China’s coast

    Lockheed Martin has announced that it is working with Chinese company Reignwood Group to develop an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) pilot power plant off the coast of southern China. The prototype plant will be the first project in the multi-billion dollar clean energy agreement between the two companies. OTEC takes the natural temperature difference found in the ocean in tropical regions and uses it to create power. This technology is well-suited to island and coastal communities.

  • FAA certifies Boeing 787 can fly again after fixes to over-heating battery

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Boeing’s proposed improvements to the lithium-ion battery systems on its 787 passenger jets. The jets have been grounded since January and are now ready to return to the skies.

  • First U.S. commercial enhanced geothermal system connected to the grid

    Enhanced geothermal system (EGS) projects capture power from intensely hot rocks, buried thousands of feet below the surface, which lack the permeability or fluid saturation found in naturally occurring geothermal systems. The Energy Department the other day announced the U.S. first commercial EGS project which supplies electricity to the grid.

  • ATF: store which sold guns to Lanza’s mother committed more than 500 firearm violations

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) found that the gun store which sold the mother of Adam Lanza the guns he used to carry out the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, had been cited for more than 500 violations of federal firearms laws and regulations. The store’s license has now been revoked.

  • Tech companies pull April Fools’ Day pranks

    April Fools’ day brings out the prankster in all of us, and companies like Google, Hulu, and Twitter are no exception. Twitter, for example, said it will eliminate vowels on its site to make for more efficient conversation. If users want to use vowels, they will have to pay a $5 fee (Twitter did say that it will continue to allow customer to use the “Y” for free, because that letter doubles as a consonant).

  • Automakers help Detroit emergency services

    General Motors, Ford Motors, and the Chrysler Group joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Quicken Loans, and several other businesses in the Detroit area to donate $8 million for new ambulances and police cars, on the same day that emergency manager Kevyn Orr started his job.