National Institute of Standards and Technology

May 1, 2020
By Travis Johnson
Citizens must be confident that their votes are counted as they are cast. Following the example of the NIST SP 800-53 Revision 4 Control Families list would be one way to ensure the information technology piece of voting machines is protected from threats and vulnerabilities. Credit: Shutterstock/Burlingham

To truly ensure the principle of one person, one vote, the American electoral infrastructure should adopt security protocols similar to those used in the cybersecurity industry. Electoral management should be conducted using variations on the techniques employed for financial systems and national security data. Unfortunately, today’s U.S. voting mechanisms at all levels as well as national policy would not pass even the most rudimentary information assurance audit.

May 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Through four use cases, including one that applies to street light operations, the city of Syracuse, New York, is evaluating a secure cloud architecture designed to provide cyber attack protections. Credit: Shutterstock/Debra Millet

Digital structures are needed to protect government information and operations. A group participating in a National Institute of Standards of Technology challenge is offering a secure cloud-based platform that can improve the digital and actual health of a city and protect its information.

April 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers have developed a new photonic sensor that could prove beneficial for growing human tissue—skin, muscle, bones or internal organs—in the laboratory. The device might ultimately be implanted in the body to monitor reactions to organ or tissue transplants.  Images by Jennifer Lauren Lee/NIST and Shutterstock. Edited by Chris D’Elia

A new, highly precise photon sensor could help advance the science of growing human tissue, such as bones, skin or vital organs, in the laboratory and could benefit warfighters and society. The potential applications include monitoring environmental conditions, such as poison gases on the battlefield or toxins in the home.

January 1, 2020
By Jim Barrineau, Jamie Dos Santos and Steve Shirley
A company considering a cyber insurance purchase must determine the risk to its organization and if a single policy will cover the type of loss it may experience.

Cyber insurance can protect organizations from losing more than data, but choosing a cyber insurer and policy comes with its own caveats. The purchase decision maker must consider an individual company’s circumstances, such as revenue, risk tolerance, board guidance and regulatory environment relative to protected categories of information. In addition, every purchase decision must be critically reviewed, particularly regarding the extent of coverage exclusions in each policy.

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

Facial recognition technology has become “spectacularly” more effective at matching an individual with their photo in a gallery of millions of pictures, according to the latest research by U.S. government scientists.

“The algorithms now are spectacularly more successful [at matching two pictures of the same person] than they were when we first tested this technology in 2010,” Patrick Grother, the biometrics testing project leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) told AFCEA International’s Federal ID Forum and Expo Tuesday.

August 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Blockchain technology has evolved to become an effective back office tool of information assurance, experts say. Credit: Shutterstock/phive

Blockchain, the digital ledger technology, offers an immutable record of a transaction based on a distributed consensus algorithm. The technology gained notoriety through the use of bitcoin, the digital commodity. However, experts say that the blockchain technology has moved well beyond its initial underpinning role. “Bitcoin is basically like the Model T of blockchain technology, because it was the first one,” says Lee McKnight, associate professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.

March 26, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
A screenshot depicts the virtual reality environment for the EMS scenario for the NIST Public Safety Communications Research Division’s Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge. Credit: PSCR

The requirement to share information and communicate effectively via radio or other equipment during natural disasters, fires, crimes or catastrophes has only increased for police officers, firefighters and other public safety personnel. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST's) Communications Technology Laboratory, known as the CLT, has been working to improve interoperability among the first responders and other public safety organizations, conducting research to update legacy systems and harness new mobile technologies to exchange vital voice and data communications in a crisis 

January 1, 2019
By David Sheets
Future Army aviation systems will need to be able to operate against adversaries with advanced capabilities even in a contested airspace. Embedded systems need to be designed with cybersecurity in mind and may require some size, weight and power tradeoffs. U.S. Army graphic by Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center VizLab

Embedded systems are emerging as the latest challenge in the drive to secure deployed U.S. military technologies, including those residing within weapons and flight controllers. Because they are deeply entrenched inside critical hardware, these systems can be tricky to safeguard, so cybersecurity and cyber resiliency must be considered at the beginning of the design and architecture process. And although upgrades can boost embedded systems’ cybersecurity, system operators must determine when the potential pitfalls of doing so outweigh the benefits.

December 11, 2018
Posted by Julianne Simpson
NIST researcher Jelena Senic drives a robot used to measure the performance of different antenna beam patterns. Photo Credit: NIST

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have developed a method for assessing and selecting optimal antenna design for future fifth-generation (5G) cellphones and other wireless devices and base stations.

5G systems will avoid crowded, conventional wireless channels by using higher, millimeter-wave frequency bands. Because transmissions at these frequencies lose a lot of energy along the way, received signal strength can weaken. One solution is “smart” antennas that can form unusually narrow beams and quickly steers them in different directions.

October 3, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s benchmarks are helping public safety officials by providing clear rules for evaluating how well robots perform tasks. Photo credit: DHS S&T

Over the last decade, emergency responders have increasingly relied on robots to assist with public safety functions that may be too dangerous for humans. Autonomous systems can perform search and rescue tasks, provide decision support, transport medical supplies, extinguish fires, map disaster areas or accomplish other important rescue functions.

July 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Public safety officials experiment with virtual mapping capabilities developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR). Credit: PSCR

Amid broad federal, state and local efforts to improve public safety communications, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is leading research to establish interoperability among diverse government organizations that aid the public when it is most in peril. The agency’s goal is for legacy systems and new mobile technologies to exchange vital voice and data communications in a crisis.

May 4, 2018
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Jack Lewis, a NIST associate, demonstrates the use of a virtual reality headset and controllers with NIST’s virtual office environment in which first responders search for a body in a fire. Credit: Burrus/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aim to make virtual reality simulations more of a reality for first responders, enabling firefighters, law enforcement officers and others to train for emergency operations and communications.

May 1, 2018
By Henry S. Kenyon
Researchers with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a communications system that uses quantum principles to detect low frequency magnetic waves. The technology promises to enable first responders and warfighters to communicate underground and in buildings and mariners to communicate underwater.

A quantum physics-based technology developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers may enable first responders, warfighters and mariners to communicate and navigate in areas where radio and satellite-based communications are limited or nonexistent. The capability would allow military and emergency personnel to stay connected in urban canyons, under rubble, inside buildings, underground or even underwater.

April 24, 2018
By George DeLisle
The National Institute for Standards and Technology’s risk management framework can be applied to data as well as systems. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Cybersecurity evolves daily to counter ever-present threats posed by criminals, nation states, insiders and others. To address the changing threat landscape, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) periodically updates its Risk Management Framework (RMF), a standards-based, security-by-design process that all IT systems within DOD agencies must meet.

April 11, 2018
By George I. Seffers
NIST researchers have developed a prototypical method for generating verifiably random numbers for quantum encryption. Credit: K. Irvine/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a method for generating numbers guaranteed to be random by quantum mechanics. Generating truly random numbers is one of the major challenges for quantum-based encryption and could mark a major leap in cybersecurity.

January 26, 2018
By George I. Seffers
A new superconducting synapse developed by NIST researchers could mark a major step forward for neuromorphic computing, a form of artificial intelligence. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a superconducting switch that learns like a biological system and could connect processors and store memories in future computers, NIST officials intend to announce today. The switch in some ways outperforms the human brain that inspired it and offers a wide range of benefits for medical diagnoses, smart cars and intelligence analysis.

The NIST switch is called a synapse, after its biological counterpart, and it supplies a missing piece for neuromorphic computers. Envisioned as a new type of artificial intelligence, such computers could boost machine perception and decision making.

January 9, 2018
 

Dr. Walter Copan was confirmed by Congress as undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

December 21, 2017
By Thomas Jones
Federal contractors need to be able to show by January 1 they have a plan in place to meet NIST’s new cybersecurity mandate. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

There’s a new National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework that’s going against the grain. The Department of Defense has mandated that contractors comply with the guidance laid out in NIST special publication 800-171, which aims to strengthen the protection of controlled unclassified information. Why focus contractors’ limited resources on protecting information that is not top secret? Even if information is not top secret it still can be sensitive. For example, social security numbers, contact information, bank account details and other personal information about U.S.

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.

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