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April 2011

Conficker Worms Its Way Into Afghan Mission Network

April 27, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The Conficker computer virus, which was first detected in 2008, reared its ugly head last week in Afghanistan, where it was detected on the Afghan Mission Network—the network NATO and coalition forces use to fight the war. (This is the first in a series of online and print reports by SIGNAL Magazine Technology Editor George I. Seffers while embedded with NATO forces in Afghanistan.)

Classic Cyber Caltrops

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What’s a Caltrop? It could be the start of a lame joke like, “what’s a hen way” or “what’s a Grecian earn?” In fact, a Caltrop is an ancient land mine of sorts. It is usually a multi-sided spiked object that could seriously tear up a bare foot, an unshod hoof or a pair of Bronze Age sandals. Today the modern version of caltrops is used against vehicles with unreinforced tires. Think televised car chase on some freeway. They are not sophisticated and certainly not anywhere as bad as an IED. Yet, given the right circumstances, they are very effective.

NASA Funds Four Spaceship Developers, Leaves Door Open to Others

April 19, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Four companies pursuing technologies connected to manned orbital spacecraft are receiving $270 million from NASA in the second phase of an effort targeted at building a commercial manned space launch industry. The goal is to develop a launch capability that would replace the space shuttle and lead to commercial exploitation of manned orbital spaceflight.

Leveraging the Power of the Web to Save Lives

April 11, 2011
By Helen Mosher, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

An exercise in leveraging social media for humanitarian assistance and disaster response fostered global participation last month, with more than 39,000 people from 94 nations tuning in to a simulation of two seismic events and a tsunami set in the Adriatic Sea. Participants in the exercise used tools such as Twitter and Facebook to create a rich, real-time environment for crowd-sourcing solutions and other collaborative activities.

Afghan High-Def Connection Puts Marines at Super Bowl

April 15, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

For a few moments during the Super Bowl, viewers caught a glimpse of U.S. Marines at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, ready for the game. The clip marked only the second high-definition shot broadcast out of the country.

Mind Over Mouse Click

April 15, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower, SIGNAL Connections

Thanks to search engine overload, the answer to any question is seemingly never more than a mouse click away. But a new eye-controlled laptop could ensure that information is literally available in the blink of an eye.

Homefront Help

April 15, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's website, when available. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.

National Museum of the United States Army

New Products

April 15, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections

Peek-a-Boo Backpack

The latest version of the Prism through-wall radar product line fits in a backpack and can provide intelligence on the location and movement of any people inside a particular room simply by having the operator stand with the radar pack next to the wall. The recently launched Prism 200c is lightweight and inconspicuous and can be used for counterterrorism, military or police special operations missions. The Prism 200c, which was developed by Cambridge Consultants, shaves seconds off the setup process by allowing the operator to lean against a wall to either monitor or record the activity within a building while maintaining cover by operating it via a handheld laptop computer or similar personal device. The new device boasts up to eight hours of battery life, reduced weight load, and resistance to water and dust, and it works even in environments such as modern offices with a lot of radar reflecting surfaces. It offers user-friendly data presentation on-device and remotely. It also offers a 3-D view. The devices are available in North America, Europe and Asia.

Enhanced Signal Jammer

Shipboard and Land Networks to Become Shipmates

April 2011
By Daniel P. Taylor, SIGNAL Magazine

Walk up to a terminal, swipe a card and log in to a single, consolidated network architecture. That is the future the Navy envisions for its sailors when they disembark after a deployment and want to use a network on land, or vice versa—something that is difficult to do in today’s environment of cluttered legacy networks.

Game-Changing Environment Vexes Planners, Warfighters

April 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The dynamic environment that defines trends from social development to technology innovation is wreaking havoc on attempts to plan an effective national security structure. Coupled with severe budget limitations arising from the global economic crisis, this rapidly changing milieu is revolutionizing warfighting in ways that cannot be countered—or even predicted—on short notice.


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