Archive for the ‘security’ category

Feb 17, 2019

IBM researchers develop a technique to virtually patch vulnerabilities ahead of threat

Posted by in category: security

Researchers at IBM have recently devised a new technique to virtually patch security vulnerabilities before they are found. Their approach, presented at the International Workshop on Information and Operational Technology, co-located with RAID18, leverages testing techniques for supervised learning-based data generation.

“While researching a solution to find security vulnerabilities in popular software, we paused to think about the following problem: We know practically and theoretically that it is impossible to find all vulnerabilities in an application, and the security community is in a constant race to discover those vulnerabilities in the hope of finding them before the bad guys do,” Fady Copty, lead researcher of the study, told TechXplore. “This means enforcing regulations and constantly deploying to systems.”

Deploying a on an application is a tedious and time-consuming task, which entails a series of steps: identifying the vulnerable version of the application, managing this , delivering the , deploying it and then restarting the application. Often, patches are deployed over long periods of time, hence can remain vulnerable for a period after a vulnerability has been discovered. To speed up this process, researchers have recently introduced virtual patches, which are enforced using intrusion detection and prevention systems.

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Feb 9, 2019

Producing biofuels from algae

Posted by in categories: security, sustainability

Microalgae are showing huge potential as a sustainable source of biofuels.

Producing biofuels from renewable sources.

Due to concerns about peak oil, energy security, fuel diversity and sustainability, there is great interest around the world in renewable sources of biofuels.

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Feb 6, 2019

The Race to Develop the World’s Best Quantum Tech

Posted by in categories: economics, quantum physics, security

The United States and China both see quantum technologies as key to national security and economic progress.

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Feb 6, 2019

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack: A Preventable Homeland Security Catastrophe

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing, government, particle physics, security

A major threat to America has been largely ignored by those who could prevent it. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack could wreak havoc on the nation’s electronic systems-shutting down power grids, sources, and supply mechanisms. An EMP attack on the United States could irreparably cripple the country. It could simultaneously inflict large-scale damage and critically limit our recovery abilities. Congress and the new Administration must recognize the significance of the EMP threat and take the necessary steps to protect against it.

Systems Gone Haywire

An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. In an attack, these particles interact and send electrical systems into chaos in three ways: First, the electromagnetic shock disrupts electronics, such as sensors, communications systems, protective systems, computers, and other similar devices. The second component has a slightly smaller range and is similar in effect to lightning. Although protective measures have long been established for lightning strikes, the potential for damage to critical infrastructure from this component exists because it rapidly follows and compounds the first component. The final component is slower than the previous two, but has a longer duration. It is a pulse that flows through electricity transmission lines-damaging distribution centers and fusing power lines. The combination of the three components can easily cause irreversible damage to many electronic systems.

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Jan 30, 2019

Microsoft, Google Use Artificial Intelligence to Fight Hackers

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, security

Last year, Microsoft Corp.’s Azure security team detected suspicious activity in the cloud computing usage of a large retailer: One of the company’s administrators, who usually logs on from New York, was trying to gain entry from Romania. And no, the admin wasn’t on vacation. A hacker had broken in.

Microsoft quickly alerted its customer, and the attack was foiled before the intruder got too far.

Chalk one up to a new generation of artificially intelligent software that adapts to hackers’ constantly evolving tactics. Microsoft, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Inc. and various startups are moving away from solely using older “rules-based” technology designed to respond to specific kinds of intrusion and deploying machine-learning algorithms that crunch massive amounts of data on logins, behavior and previous attacks to ferret out and stop hackers.

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Jan 26, 2019

​Filipino IT experts hope NASA announces Space Challenge winners as U.S. government operations resume

Posted by in categories: government, law, security, space

This is the first time that an entry from the Philippines has made it to the global finalists.…lenge-winn #SpaceApps #SpaceAppsPH

Filipino Information Technology enthusiasts are hoping that the temporary reopening of U.S. government operations after a 35-day shutdown would pave the way for the announcement of the winners in the NASA Space Apps Challenge, where one of the finalists is an app developed by a group of Filipino IT experts.

The announcement of the winners in the global competition was supposed to have been made in mid-January but has suffered a delay due to the federal government shutdown caused by a standoff over border security.

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Jan 24, 2019

CRISPR Just Got More Powerful With an “On” Switch

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, security

ProCas9 is an “extra layer of security” that limits CRISPR’s editing skills to only a subset of cells to ensure accurate cutting.

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Jan 21, 2019

AI Created in DNA-Based Artificial Neural Networks

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, mathematics, neuroscience, robotics/AI, security

Mention artificial intelligence (AI) or artificial neural networks, and images of computers may come to mind. AI-based pattern recognition has a wide variety of real-world uses, such as medical diagnostics, navigation systems, voice-based authentication, image classification, handwriting recognition, speech programs, and text-based processing. However, artificial intelligence is not limited to digital technology and is merging with the realm of biology—synthetic biology and genomics, to be more precise. Pioneering researchers led by Dr. Lulu Qian at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created synthetic biochemical circuits that are able to perform information processing at the molecular level–an artificial neural network consisting of DNA instead of computer hardware and software.

Artificial intelligence is in the early stages of a renaissance period—a rebirth that is largely due to advances in deep learning techniques with artificial neural networks that have contributed to improvements in pattern recognition. Specifically, the resurgence is largely due to a mathematical tool that calculates derivatives called backpropagation (backward propagation)—it enables artificial neural networks to adjust hidden layers of neurons when there are outlier outcomes for more precise results.

Artificial neural networks (ANN) are a type of machine learning method with concepts borrowed from neuroscience. The structure and function of the nervous system and brain were inspiration for artificial neural networks. Instead of biological neurons, ANNs have artificial nodes. Instead of synapses, ANNs have connections that are able to transmit signals between nodes. Like neurons, the nodes of ANNs are able to receive and process data, as well as activate other nodes connected to it.

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Jan 19, 2019

Why it is dangerous to build ever larger big bang machines

Posted by in categories: alien life, astronomy, cosmology, energy, engineering, ethics, existential risks, general relativity, governance, gravity, innovation, law, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, quantum physics, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space travel, supercomputing, theory, time travel

CERN has revealed plans for a gigantic successor of the giant atom smasher LHC, the biggest machine ever built. Particle physicists will never stop to ask for ever larger big bang machines. But where are the limits for the ordinary society concerning costs and existential risks?

CERN boffins are already conducting a mega experiment at the LHC, a 27km circular particle collider, at the cost of several billion Euros to study conditions of matter as it existed fractions of a second after the big bang and to find the smallest particle possible – but the question is how could they ever know? Now, they pretend to be a little bit upset because they could not find any particles beyond the standard model, which means something they would not expect. To achieve that, particle physicists would like to build an even larger “Future Circular Collider” (FCC) near Geneva, where CERN enjoys extraterritorial status, with a ring of 100km – for about 24 billion Euros.

Experts point out that this research could be as limitless as the universe itself. The UK’s former Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Sir David King told BBC: “We have to draw a line somewhere otherwise we end up with a collider that is so large that it goes around the equator. And if it doesn’t end there perhaps there will be a request for one that goes to the Moon and back.”

“There is always going to be more deep physics to be conducted with larger and larger colliders. My question is to what extent will the knowledge that we already have be extended to benefit humanity?”

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Jan 9, 2019

Will humanity survive this century? Sir Martin Rees predicts ‘a bumpy ride’ ahead

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, governance, security

Humanity is under threat. At least according to Sir Martin Rees, one of Britain’s most esteemed astronomers.

These two kinds of technologies enable just a few people to have a hugely wide-ranging and maybe even global cascading effect. This leads to big problems of governance because you’d like to regulate the use of these things, but enforcing regulations worldwide is very, very difficult. Think how hopeless it is to enforce the drug laws globally or the tax laws globally. To actually ensure that no one misuses these new technologies is just as difficult. I worry that we are going to have to minimize this risk by actions which lead to a great tension between privacy, liberty and security.

Do you see ways that we can use and develop these technologies in a responsible way?

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