News

NIST offers help in securing printers, copiers, scanners from cyber intrusions

The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently released draft guidance pointing out the risks and vulnerabilties of such so-called replication devices, which increasingly also include 3D printers and scanners. Besides reminding people about potential cybersecurity problems, it offers advice on how such devices and information that's stored or transmitted can be better protected.

Paper explores impact of people's 'cyborgization' to surveillance, privacy laws

As people increasingly and constantly use cellphones, wearable computers and other devices – which, in essence, have become an extension of themselves – a new paper from the Brookings Institution explores the future impact to surveillance and privacy from this trending "cyborgization."

House overwhelmingly passes digital labeling legislation

The House on Sept. 11 passed by a 402-0 vote bipartisan legislation that promotes electronic labeling of devices rather than affixing or etching labels to equipment.

Wearable robotic suit would boost soldiers' physical performance, minimize injury

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is getting another step closer in its quest for a robotic suit that would help warfighters fight fatigue and stay safer.

Army turns to body sensors to prevent injuries in soldiers

To help soldiers improve their performance on the battlefield, the Army is researching technology to help them become more aware of their bodies.

Two Democratic Senators request more info from Apple, Home Depot about data breach incidents

In each letter, the senators - Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) -- said that they've been "advocates for data security and breach notification legislation that would better protect consumers and improve corporate responsibility." They added that the incidents at Apple and Home Depot reflect the need for such a law.

NIST seeks experts to help create standards for digital forensics

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking experts to help develop standards for digital forensics, a fast-growing field dealing with the recovery of evidence such as data on cellphones or computers for criminal or civil investigations.

Commerce IG: Delays in migrating export license data to new IT system could result in extra costs

An internal watchdog found that delays in the Commerce Department's effort to migrate its export license processing and referral functions to a new IT platform could cost several million dollars as it continues to use its old system.

Labor: Data miner Westat agrees to pay $1.5M in back wages to settle discrimination cases

Data mining company Westat, a major federal contractor, has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle allegations that it failed to provide equal employment opportunities to thousands of female minority applicants, the Labor Department said Sept. 10.

Laser-based NASA tool will help measure forests' role in carbon absorption

The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, or GEDI, lidar -- a remote, laser-based sensing system used to examine Earth's surface -- will be the first instrument to systematically examine the depths of the planet's forests from space. One goal of the tool is to get a better handle on forests' role in the carbon cycle.

Tech coalition urges support for Senate bill banning bulk collection of phone, Internet data

Several major technology trade groups are urging congressional leaders to support legislation that would ban bulk collection of phone and Internet metadata by U.S. spy agencies.

GAO says federal agencies need better oversight of contractor-operated systems

In reviewing six selected agencies, the Government Accountability Office said the agencies generally established security and privacy requirements and had plans to assess the effectiveness of contractor-operated systems. But five of the agencies were inconsistent in such reviews.

USDA provides loans to improve rural electricity service, invest in smart grids

The department will spend more than $518 million in rural electric cooperatives in 15 states – part of nearly $50 billion that it has invested in infrastructure improvements in the past five years. More than $23 million of the funding will go toward smart grid improvements to better manage and increase efficiencies in the nationwide electric system.

Audit: USPS isn't complying with cloud computing standards

An internal investigation found that the U.S. Postal Service's cloud computing contracts did not comply with all of the agency's standards.

Energy Department invests in localized power grids to help keep cities running

The Energy Department has set aside $8 million to set up microgrids -- contained grids that are usually connected to the more traditional electric grid but can also disconnect to operate autonomously and help alleviate grid disturbances – in Alaska, California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee and Washington. Each received about $1.2 million.

Congress turning up the screws on Healthcare.gov website breach

With the revelation that the Healthcare.gov website was hacked into last week, congressional lawmakers said they're taking a closer look at what happened as well as stepping up hearings on cybersecurity.

Survey: Majority of government CIOs say they don't have sufficient IT resources

A recent survey found that 62 percent of government chief information officers said they don't have sufficient resources to do their jobs effectively.

NSF: Federal research funding at higher education schools expected to improve

Despite a decrease in federal funding for basic research at universities and colleges in fiscal 2011 and 2012, higher education institutions received more than half of the $31 billion in total federal obligations for basic research. However, a new National Sciences Foundation report also found that funding is expected to improve.

Army pushing for more cybersecurity personnel to combat increasing threats, attacks

As part of its efforts to combat rising cyber threats and attacks, the Army is launching the Cyber Protection Brigade and could start a new cyber branch as soon as the second week of October, an official said.

NATO adopts cybersecurity policy, says such threats, attacks no different from conventional ones

At the two-day Wales summit, the alliance issued pledges and decisions in a number of areas -- including cybersecurity -- to better meet various security challenges. It adopted an Enhanced Cyber Defence Policy that lays out the principles for its members to defend against cyber threats and attacks as they become more frequent, complex and potentially damaging.