From malware on Google's Android phones to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency trying to understand how stories or narratives impact security and human behaviour, the security world certainly is never boring. Here we take a look at 20 security stories that have shaped the industry in the past few months.
Air Force wants cryptographic security for iPhones, Android
The US Air Force is trying to decide whether or not to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) smartphones, such as Android-based devices or iPhones, and how it can securely process classified voice and data using them. The Air Force has issued a request for information, not a formal contract solicitation as it is trying to come up with the best plan. Securing smartphones for military use is an absolute necessity if the devices are to find wide applications for field use. The Army has made smartphone development a priority as well.
US Supreme Court says NASA background security checks do not go too far
In a long-running dispute about privacy and security, the US Supreme Court sided with NASA saying its background checks were not invasive and that the information required for not only NASA but most government positions was a reasonable security precaution and that sufficient privacy safeguards existed to prevent any improper disclosures. In this case, 28 scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory filed suit against the US government and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 2007 saying that NASA's background investigations as required by government regulations were invasive. Such regulations are in part aimed at gathering information to develop a common identification standard that ensures that people are who they say they are, so government facilities and sensitive information stored in networks remains protected.
US Secret Service taps video game, 3D technology for advanced security training
When it comes to preparing for all manner of security threats, the more realistic the training can be the better. That's why the US Secret Service said it has developed a software system that uses gaming technology and 3D modelling to offer high-tech training for its personnel. With funding from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate, the Secret Service developed the Site Security Planning Tool (SSPT), a training system dubbed 'Virtual Tiny Town' to offer service members preparation against chemical, biological or radiological attacks, armed assaults, suicide bombers and other threats, the service stated.
Federal watchdogs outline 6 critical electricity grid cybersecurity challenges
As the US electricity grid undergoes a transformation and moves toward a more intelligently networked, automated system, it faces an increasing number of cybersecurity issues. Watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office said that while the increased use of smart grid systems may have a number of benefits, "including improved reliability from fewer and shorter outages, downward pressure on electricity rates due to the ability to shift peak demand, an improved ability to transmit power from alternative energy sources such as wind, and an improved ability to detect and respond to potential attacks on the grid," many challenges remain.
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