National Institute of Standards and Technology

May 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. government is racing to identify technologies that will resist the threat from quantum computers, which will render today’s encryption obsolete.

September 20, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

What happens if the Global Positioning System (GPS) that controls precision time signals goes down? The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO), which operate U.S. civilian and military time standards, respectively, have worked with two companies—CenturyLink and Microsemi—to identify commercial fiber optic telecommunications networks as a practical backup possibility.

August 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute have created a crystal structure that boosts the interaction between tiny bursts of light and individual electrons, an advance that could be a significant step toward establishing quantum networks in the future.

If all goes well with its most recent five-year review, the Joint Quantum Institute will receive a renewal of research dollars next month to continue exploring quantum mechanics and quantum phenomena. The fundamental science could one day lead to revolutionary sensors, electronic devices and computers.

“We’re really pushing the edge of what you can do with technologies,” says Gretchen Campbell, who in April was appointed co-director of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI). “At the theoretical level, of course, there’s the need to push the frontiers of knowledge.” 

June 6, 2016
By Beverly Mowery Cooper

A security framework established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is serving as a template for protecting networks using a threat-centric approach. The framework establishes five core functions in sequential order, and they are applicable across all network sectors.

The five core functions are Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover. Some of them can be bundled as part of an overall cybersecurity program, which is an approach already being adopted by commercial security providers.

June 3, 2016

Kiersten Todt has been selected as executive director of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, Washington, D.C. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce today issued the "Public Safety Analytics R&D Roadmap," which outlines opportunities to spur innovation and improve public safety by making data more accessible and useful for police, firefighters, emergency medical services and other first responders.

March 31, 2016

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the final version of a document outlining its process for developing cryptographic standards and guidelines. NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines Development Process (NISTIR 7977) is part of NIST’s “effort to ensure a robust, widely understood and participatory process for developing cryptography,” the institute said in a written announcement.  

October 5, 2015
By Robert B. Dix Jr.

Most cyber practitioners and many users agree that assessing and managing the risk attributed to cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection is a shared responsibility between and across a wide array of stakeholders—including government, industry, academia, the nonprofit community and individual citizens.

September 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers

As part of its efforts to provide practical solutions to real-world cybersecurity challenges, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting comments on a draft guidance to help organizations better control access to information systems.

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
To determine facial examiners' skills in matching whether faces in two images are the same person, researchers pushed the boundaries by adding inverted images and photos with backgrounds to the standard face-matching of closely cropped head shots.

Trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers, according to a new assessment. The assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” Jonathon Phillips, a face recognition researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), said in a written announcement.

August 12, 2015

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has formed an international alliance with about a dozen telecommunications companies and universities to model and measure wireless channels at much higher frequencies than those used today to hasten the development of future cellphones and other devices.

July 14, 2015

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program is signing up a new round of industry collaborators for the test bed used to evaluate advanced broadband equipment and software for emergency first responders.

So far, 39 telecommunications companies have signed new, five-year cooperative research and development agreements to participate in the test bed program, according to Dereck Orr of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

February 19, 2015
NIST researchers developed this directional 16-antenna array to support modeling of wireless communications channels at 83 gigahertz.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are developing measurement tools for new mobile communications channels that could offer more than 1,000 times the bandwidth of today’s cellphone systems. The research aims to resolve burgeoning bandwidth demands associated with the rapid expansion of wireless devices. Boosting bandwidth and capacity could speed downloads, improve service quality and enable new applications like the Internet of Things connecting a multitude of devices.

December 23, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is inviting comments on a draft project to secure medical devices known as networked infusion pumps, which convey fluids, drugs and nutrients into patients' bloodstreams. Hospitals are increasingly using the devices and connecting them to a central system, which makes them more vulnerable to cyberthreats.

A networked infusion pump can allow centralized control of the device’s programming as well as automated cross checks against pharmacy records and patient data to ensure the right dose of fluids or medication are delivered at the right time to the right patient.

October 22, 2014

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the final version of the "U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volumes I and II," which focuses on strategic and tactical objectives to support the federal government’s accelerated adoption of cloud computing.

The road map leverages the strengths and resources of government, industry, academia and standards development organizations to support technology innovation in cloud computing, according to a written announcement from NIST.

January 6, 2012
By Rachel Eisenhower

A recently released draft plan provides a road map for federal agencies and industry to navigate through the development of the cloud-computing model. In the January issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I. Seffers explores the document in his article, "Hitting the Hard Spots on the Road to Cloud."

November 18, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published for public review draft recommendations to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive federal information residing on the computers of contractors and other nonfederal organizations working for the government.