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C2D2 fighting corrosion

August 26, 2014 8:48 am | by Anna Maltsev, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Bridges become an infrastructure problem as they get older, as de-icing salt and carbon dioxide gradually destroy the reinforced concrete. A new robot called C2D2 (Climbing Corrosion Detecting Device) is now in use in Switzerland and can check the condition of these structures, even in places that people cannot reach.

Smartphones set out to decipher a cryptographic system

August 26, 2014 8:29 am | by Sébastien Corthésy, EPFL | News | Comments

Researchers in Switzerland have created an Android...

Researchers develop defense software "TCP Stealth"

August 15, 2014 11:19 am | News | Comments

Port scanners are programs that search the...

Report: Russian hackers steal 1.2B passwords

August 6, 2014 10:10 am | News | Comments

Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion user names...

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New York police see risks with drones' popularity

July 10, 2014 9:43 am | by Tom Hays, Associated Press | News | Comments

Police in New York City are concerned that the increasing popularity of drones in such a tightly packed metropolis could carry major risks, even becoming a potential tool for terrorists to conduct surveillance or carry out attacks. Even though it's illegal to fly the devices just about anywhere in New York City without permission, recent incidents and breathtaking videos of Manhattan suggest that the restrictions are being widely flouted.

License plate readers face hurdles before reaching full potential

July 2, 2014 9:31 am | News | Comments

Systems that automatically read automobile license plates have the potential to save police investigative time and increase safety, but law enforcement officials must address issues related to staffing, compatibility and privacy before the technology can reach its full potential, according to a new RAND Corp. report.

Research may help prevent eye injury among soldiers

July 1, 2014 11:50 am | by K.C. Gonzalez, UTSA | News | Comments

In a basement laboratory at Fort Sam Houston military base in Texas, a research team has spent the last two years simulating improvised explosive device blasts on postmortem pig eyes using a high-powered shock tube. Their most striking discovery is that these blasts can damage the optic nerve, and these injuries can occur even at low pressures, causing visual defects that until now have been associated traumatic brain injuries.

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Cold War-style spy games return to melting Arctic

June 13, 2014 8:13 am | by Karl Ritter, Associated Press | News | Comments

In early March, a mysterious ship the size of a large passenger ferry left Romania and plotted a course toward Scandinavia. About a month later, at the fenced-in headquarters of Norway's military intelligence service, the country's spychief disclosed its identity. It was a $250 million spy ship, tentatively named Marjata, that will be equipped with sensors and other technology to snoop on Russia's activities in the Arctic beginning in 2016.

Are squiggly lines the future of password security?

June 5, 2014 9:16 am | Videos | Comments

The need for robust password security has never been more critical than now, as people use smartphones or tablets to pay bills and store personal information. A new Rutgers study shows that free-form gestures can be used to unlock phones and grant access to apps. These gestures are less likely to be observed and reproduced than than traditional methods such as typed passwords.

Proactive approach to detect malicious software in networked computers and data

June 4, 2014 10:12 am | News | Comments

Highlighting the impact of malicious software, Target suffered the largest retail hack in U.S. history during the Christmas shopping season of 2013. To help combat this worsening trend, Virginia Tech computer scientists have used causal relations to determine whether or not network activities have justifiable and legitimate causes to occur. The work effectively isolates infected computer hosts and detects in advance stealthy malware.

New method discovered to protect against chemical weapons

May 27, 2014 3:13 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Oregon State Univ. have discovered that some compounds called polyoxoniobates can degrade and decontaminate nerve agents such as the deadly sarin gas, and have other characteristics that may make them ideal for protective suits, masks or other clothing. The use of polyoxoniobates for this purpose had never before been demonstrated, and the discovery could have important implications for both military and civilian protection.

In the wake of high-profile battery fires, a safer approach emerges

May 14, 2014 9:36 am | News | Comments

As news reports of lithium-ion battery (LIB) fires in Boeing Dreamliner planes and Tesla electric cars remind us, these batteries, which are in everyday portable devices, like tablets and smartphones, have their downsides. Now, scientists have designed a safer kind of lithium battery component that is far less likely to catch fire and still promises effective performance.

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Detecting trace amounts of explosives with light

May 8, 2014 11:12 am | News | Comments

Research in Australia may help in the fight against terrorism with the creation of a sensor that can detect tiny quantities of explosives with the use of light and special glass fibers. The researchers have created a new optical fiber sensor which can detect explosives in concentrations as low as 6.3 ppm (parts per million). It requires an analysis time of only a few minutes.

Food security may be increased by new agricultural production modeling

May 5, 2014 9:16 am | News | Comments

Farmers optimize crop production on their own lands by rotating crops, or testing soils to choose the right amount of fertilizers to apply. But is it possible to optimize production across a much bigger area, such as the eastern U.S.? That’s the question a team of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture scientists has begun to tackle by developing a sophisticated new modeling tool.

Protecting olive oil from counterfeiters

April 24, 2014 1:50 pm | by Barbara Vonarburg, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Counterfeit or adulterated olive oil has been a persistent presence on the market, in part because the oil is difficult to track. An invisible label, developed by researchers in Switzerland, could perform this task. The tag consists of tiny magnetic DNA particles encapsulated in a silica casing and mixed with the oil. Just a few grams of the new substance are enough to tag the entire olive oil production of Italy.

Sensitive detection method may help impede illicit nuclear trafficking

April 15, 2014 12:34 pm | News | Comments

According to a new study, coupling commercially available spectral x-ray detectors with a specialized algorithm can improve the detection of uranium and plutonium in small, layered objects such as baggage. This approach enhances the detection powers of x-ray imaging and may provide a new tool to impede nuclear trafficking.

Advanced warning systems increase safety at intersections, study shows

April 9, 2014 9:28 am | News | Comments

A major factor making driving difficult is hazards that are sudden and hard to predict. The wrong choice in this situation, known as the “dilemma zone,” may lead to crashes. Roadside and in-vehicle display warning systems may help drivers handle these hazards by predicting their occurrence and providing advanced warning to the driver, according to a new study.

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'Unbreakable' security codes inspired by nature

April 4, 2014 3:20 pm | News | Comments

Inspired by human biology, a revolutionary new method of encrypting confidential information has been patented by scientists. This discovery could transform daily life which is reliant on secure electronic communications for everything from mobiles to sensor networks and the internet.

South By Southwest: Secrets, spying, chef Watson

March 11, 2014 11:49 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

FOMO—or the fear of missing out—is a common complaint at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas each year. It's here, after all, that "Girls" creator Lena Dunham spoke on Monday at the same time that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden gave a teleconferenced talk. All the while, IBM showed off the capabilities of cognitive computing in a language anyone could understand: food.

U.S. network to scan workers with secret clearances

March 10, 2014 9:49 am | by Stephen Braun, Associated Press | News | Comments

Intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances. The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leakers, in part to prevent cases similar to former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden.

Nuclear dump leak raises questions about cleanup

February 28, 2014 2:56 pm | by Jeri Clausing, Associated Press | News | Comments

For 15 years trucks have been hauling decades worth of plutonium-contaminated waste to what is supposed to be a safe and final resting place a half mile underground in the salt beds of the Permian Basin in New Mexico. But back-to-back accidents and an above-ground radiation release shuttered the government's only deep underground nuclear waste dump and raised questions about the $5-billion-a-year program for cleaning up legacy waste.

The end of full-body scanners?

February 26, 2014 11:04 am | News | Comments

Standing in a full-body scanner at an airport isn’t fun, and the process adds time and stress to a journey. It also raises privacy concerns. But researchers now report making several key advances in terahertz wave sensor technology to create a more precise and direct method for using these waves to detect explosives from greater distances.

Project to ensure “what you see is what you send”

February 25, 2014 4:43 pm | News | Comments

Imagine a user who intends to send $2 to a friend through PayPal. Embedded malware in the user’s laptop, however, converts the $2 transaction into a $2,000 transfer to the account of the malware author instead. Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have created a prototype software, Gyrus, that takes steps to prevent malware from sending spam emails and instant messages, and blocking unauthorized commands such as money transfers.

New technology reconstructs smallest features of human fingerprints

February 12, 2014 8:42 am | News | Comments

An international partnerships is aiming to develop robust fingerprint sensors with resolution beyond today’s 500 dpi international standards, the minimum required by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. The new platform uses vertical piezoelectric nanowire matrices designed using multiphysics modeling software.

Study suggests ways to improve common furniture fire test

February 11, 2014 8:19 am | News | Comments

NIST and American Univ. researchers report in a new study that the bench-scale test widely used to evaluate whether a burning cigarette will ignite upholstered furniture may underestimate the tendency of component materials to smolder when these materials are used in sofas and chairs supported by springs or cloth. The study comes as regulations and methods for evaluating ignition in furniture are undergoing scrutiny.

Study identifies quake-prone concrete buildings in Los Angeles area

February 4, 2014 9:00 am | News | Comments

Researchers in the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation have studied concrete buildings constructed before roughly 1980 in the Los Angeles area. Their work has identified examples of this category of buildings, sometimes referred to as nonductile concrete buildings, which are known from experience in previous earthquakes to have the potential for catastrophic collapse during strong earthquakes.

Quantum physics could make secure, single-use computer memories possible

January 15, 2014 3:49 pm | News | Comments

Computer scientist Yi-Kai Liu at NIST has devised a way to make a security device that has proved notoriously difficult to build: a "one-shot" memory unit, whose contents can be read only a single time. The innovation, which uses qubits and conjugate coding, shows in theory how the laws of quantum physics could allow for the construction of such memory devices.

Report: NSA maps pathway into computers

January 15, 2014 8:44 am | News | Comments

According to a report from The New York Times, the National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the U.S. to conduct surveillance on those machines. The technology, which is not used in the U.S., relies on radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted covertly into the computers.  

Report: NSA intercepts computer deliveries

December 30, 2013 9:37 am | by Raphael Satter, Associated Press | News | Comments

A German magazine lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacking unit Sunday, reporting that American spies intercept computer deliveries, exploit hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijack Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets.

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