News Briefs

June 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) on June 23 identified CryptoWall as the most current and significant ransomware threat targeting U.S. individuals and businesses. In the 14 months since the malicious software first appeared, the IC3 received 992 CryptoWall-related complaints, with victims reporting losses totaling more than $18 million, according to the FBI warning.

The financial impact to victims goes beyond the ransom fee itself, which is typically between $200 and $10,000. Many victims incur additional costs associated with network mitigation, network countermeasures, loss of productivity, legal fees, IT services and/or the purchase of credit monitoring services for employees or customers.

June 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army has received permission to move the WIN-T Increment 2 into full-rate production and fielding.

Following a Defense Acquisition Board program review in May, the U.S. Army has received approval to proceed to full-rate production and fielding of its mobile tactical communications network backbone, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2. WIN-T Increment 2 is serving as the tactical Internet connection in overseas operations in Afghanistan, Africa and Iraq and is currently fielded to 12 brigade combat teams and four division headquarters.

June 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers

A NATO coalition of scientists and researchers recently experimented with a variety of underwater robots in a joint scientific mine countermeasures sea trial. The May 20-29 experiment involved NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), the Royal Netherlands Navy Defence Diving Group, NATO’s Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence and the United Kingdom Royal Navy Maritime Autonomous Systems Trial Team.

May 21, 2015
By George I. Seffers
DHS S&T has awarded two Innovation Prizes to companies offering solutions for first responders.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS's) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate today announced the winners of the S&T’s first innovation prize competition: The Vreeland Institute Inc., Copake, New York, and Certa Cito LLC, Rochester, New York. The competition, “Indoor Tracking of the Next Generation First Responder” focused on the challenge of keeping track of first responders when they are inside buildings, tunnels and other structures.

May 19, 2015

Mobile data traffic generated by cellphones and tablets will approach almost 197,000 petabytes by 2019, according to Juniper Research. That is the data equivalent to more than 10 billion Blu-ray movies.

May 4, 2015
By George I. Seffers

NATO today initiated Dynamic Mongoose, this year’s biggest antisubmarine warfare exercises in the North Sea, with a focus on detecting and defending against submarines. Eleven nations, more than a dozen surface vessels and four submarines are participating in the annual Dynamic Mongoose exercise. 

The event, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow ships under NATO command to conduct a variety of antisubmarine warfare operations. The submarines will take turns trying to approach and target the ships undetected, simulating an attack.

May 12, 2015
By George I. Seffers

A new study from Juniper Research, Hampshire, United Kingdom, suggests that the rapid digitization of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, almost four times the estimated cost of breaches in 2015.

May 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews announced today he will lead a delegation of 20 American companies on a Cybersecurity Trade Mission to Bucharest, Romania, and Warsaw, Poland, May 11-15. Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte also will participate in the mission.

The trade mission is designed to help U.S. companies launch or increase their business operations in Central and Southeast Europe, specifically connecting them with businesses and government leaders in Romania and Poland. It also will introduce or expand the market presence of U.S. cybersecurity companies.

April 28, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

Although cybersecurity has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention lately, 90 percent of companies recently surveyed admit that their organizations have invested in a security technology that was ultimately discontinued or scrapped before or soon after deployment. The survey also revealed that the most important metrics are the least reliable. For example, although 70 percent of respondents said return on investment and total cost of ownership are critical metrics for investment and measurement of a technology’s economic benefits, the same number said it is difficult to calculate these metrics.

April 14, 2015

The Electronic Security Association (ESA), a professional trade association that represents the electronic life safety and security industry, launched a website geared at connecting people interested in careers in the security with companies that are hiring. GetIntoSecurity.com includes a resources section for job hunters, a resources section for career and guidance counselors, and descriptions of the types of security industry jobs available to students, military veterans and retirees. 

March 31, 2015
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has announced the first 26 recipients of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies program grants.

March 23, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture have been named co-chairs of the Broadband Opportunity Council, a new federal government initiative aimed at increasing broadband investment and reducing barriers to broadband deployment and adoption. The council includes 25 federal agencies and departments that will engage with industry and other stakeholders to identify ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment.

March 23, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor
The WASUB team prepares for the Undersea Defence Technology 2015 competition.

A team of students from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, will use this year's Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) exhibition to present a revolutionary man-powered submarine. The group, known as WASUB, designed the craft to break the world speed record for a single-person propeller-driven submarine.

March 18, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

More than 50 percent of the video surveillance data the federal government collects is not being analyzed. This fact may not be surprising since cameras appear to be everywhere these days, and the amount of data they gather is so huge it’s unwieldy. But MeriTalk, the public-private partnership that conducted a survey of 151 federal decision makers, likens this situation to government agencies seeing only half a movie: They would have challenges following the plot and leveraging the information to achieve the goal—improved security.

March 18, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The eyes have it in the Asia Pacific region, the fastest growing market for biometrics technology.

Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), London, United Kingdom, a market intelligence and analysis firm, estimates the biometric market in the Asia-Pacific region is worth $1.1 billion this year and will reach $3.3 billion by 2025. The projected increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 11.3 percent.

March 11, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has announced its first business accelerator program, EMERGE!, aimed at entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas that address the unique needs of the homeland security community and whose wearable technologies could be adapted for first responder operations.

March 11, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, announced this week a major research initiative called HEAT (Homomorphic Encryption, Applications and Technology), which will pilot advanced cryptographic technologies that enable European citizens and businesses to process sensitive data in encrypted form.

Homomorphic encryption offers the ability to process sensitive information in encrypted form, without needing to decrypt it first, which can compromise privacy and security.

March 5, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Systems competing in the DARPA robotics challenge must demonstrate the ability to help humans in case of emergency.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a list of 25 teams to perform in the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge to be held June 5-6, 2015, at Fairplex in Pomona, California, outside of Los Angeles. Human-robot teams will be tested on capabilities that could enable them to provide assistance in future natural and man-made disasters.

Fourteen new teams from Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea and the United States qualified to join 11 previously announced teams. The roboteams will vie for a chance to win one of three cash prizes totaling $3.5 million.

February 25, 2015
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Defense Department officials repeatedly tout the virtues of innovation and emphasize that the United States must retain technological superiority over potential adversaries, but a group of 144 universities today warned the House and Senate Judiciary Committees that pending legislation to address patent litigation abuses is so broadly drawn that it would weaken the nation’s patent system and hinder the flow of groundbreaking advances from universities to the private sector.

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.

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