Category Archives: hardware

US Dept of Homeland Security Nation Cyber Security Division & Idaho National Laboratory Win National Cybersecurity Innovation Award

AscentiveCyber Security News from the Ascentive Team

The SANS Institute announced today that Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Division and Idaho National Laboratory have won the 2011 U.S. National Cybersecurity Innovation Award for building Cybersecurity skills needed to defend the power grid and other control systems.

The Controls Systems Security Program (CSSP) at the Department of Homeland Security and Idaho National Laboratory have created a series of training programs for managerial and technical people in the industries using control systems (power, oil and gas, electrical, water, and several others) that are packed with up-to-date information on cyber threats and mitigations for vulnerabilities.

The goal is to reduce industrial control system risks within and across all critical infrastructure and key resource sectors by coordinating efforts among federal, state, local and tribal governments, as well as industrial control systems owners, operators and vendors. The CSSP coordinates activities to reduce the likelihood of success and severity of impact of a cyber-attack against critical infrastructure control systems through risk-mitigation activities.

One innovative course provides intensive hands-on training on protecting and securing industrial control systems from cyber-attacks, including a Red Team/Blue Team exercise that is conducted within an actual control systems environment.  This training has been transformational for technologists and managers who previously underappreciated the power of cyber-attacks or the ease at which they can be executed.

The Department of Energy – Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability has partnered with DHS to provide the Red Team/Blue Team training specifically to the energy sector asset owners and create lessons learned from the energy sector.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Idaho National Laboratory wins the 2011 National Cybersecurity Innovation Award for developing a long-term, common vision where effective risk management of control systems secturity can be realized through successful coordination efforts.

The National Cybersecurity Innovation Awards recognize developments undertaken by companies and government agencies who have developed and deployed innovative processes or technologies which are innovative in that it has not been deployed effectively before, can show a significant impact on reducing cyber risk, can be scaled quickly to serve large numbers of people, and should be adopted quickly by many other organizations. Nominations included most senior government officials involved with Cybersecurity as well as those from major Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs).  Corporations and individuals, including SANS instructors also nominated innovations and each nomination was tested by the SANS Institute research department. More than 50 nominations were received and 14 were selected.

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and security certification in the world.  In addition to world-class training, SANS offers certification via the ANSI accredited GIAC security certification program. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the Infosec community including consensus projects, research reports, newsletters, and it operates the Internet’s early warning system – the Internet Storm Center.  At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners in varied global organizations from corporations to universities working together to help the entire information security community.

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New Electronic Waste Recycler Opens in West Philadelphia

AscentiveTech News from the Ascentive team

On Monday, Covanta Energy Corporation, a world leader in the development and operation of Energy-from-Waste (also known as EfW) facilities and other renewable energy projects, announced the launch of a new business to responsibly recycle and dispose of electronic waste (also known as e-waste). ECOvanta, located on 58th Street in West Philadelphia, is a state-of-the-art recycling facility that properly recycles electronic waste such as computers, monitors, mobile phones, printers and televisions. The facility safely manages end-of-life electronics using a combination of manual disassembly and an automated shredding system to separate materials into commodities for recycling.

Numerous studies show that E-waste is the fastest growing segment of the municipal waste stream in the U.S. with over three million tons of electronics generated each year of which only 14% is recovered for recycling. The rest typically ends up in landfills. Electronics should not be disposed of in the trash because most contain heavy metals such as lead (avg. monitor contains 4-7 lbs. of lead), mercury and cadmium.

“It’s important to properly recycle electronic waste to ensure we protect our environment from potential harm. I’m happy to see that new businesses like ECOvanta are coming to Philadelphia. They are not only providing a solution to this issue, but they are also creating new investment in our community,” said Carlton Williams, deputy commissioner of sanitation, City of Philadelphia, Streets Department.

ECOvanta has successfully passed audits and has been recommended to receive the R2 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications.  These rigorous third-party certifications ensure that e-waste is being recycled responsibly and sustainably. Everything that comes through the ECOvanta facility is sold or recycled as a processed commodity according to R2 standards. ECOvanta also audits all downstream vendors to ensure that they too are recycling correctly.

“We are excited to be launching this new venture into e-waste recycling. It is a growing market and we see a great opportunity to a provide proper, responsible way to recycle and dispose of these materials as more and more people become aware of its importance. In addition, we are proud to be providing new green jobs in the City of Philadelphia,” said Seth Myones, Covanta Americas president.

ECOvanta also offers secure destruction services for customers who require assured and certified destruction of their electronic equipment. Customers can follow the secure chain of custody process to track and identify material as it moves through the system. The process eliminates risks to information integrity by completely sanitizing hard drives or other storage media using a leading software program that meets all regulated destruction standards prior to manual disassembly and shredding.

The facility serves customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic, New York/New Jersey and New England regions.

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Science Startup gets Major Funding to Battle Cell Phone Radiation

AscentiveBusiness news from the Ascentive team

On Wednesday Pong Research Corporation, a science-based solutions startup that protects cell phone users from the potentially harmful effects of radiation exposure, announced a major capital investment by Catterton Partners, a leading consumer-focused private equity firm in North America. The investment will be used to accelerate Pong’s global marketing and distribution growth, particularly in North America, Europe and China. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pong’s patented cell phone cases are the only solution that has been proven in laboratories certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to redirect cell phone radiation away from the user while also protecting the cell phone’s signal strength. The user’s exposure to radiation is reduced by up to 95% below the FCC limit, as measured on the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) scale. Pong’s proprietary technologies are backed by more than 15 years of research and development, resulting in discoveries in how to “direct” radiation through electromagnetic interactions. Pong’s target market is large and growing – the number of Smartphone users worldwide could top the 1 billion mark by 2014(1). The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent classification of cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen, Pong expects to benefit from a continued increase in consumer demand.

“Pong’s laboratory-proven devices allow consumers to substantially reduce their exposure to cell phone radiation without compromising cell phone performance,” said Dr. Shannon Kennedy, Pong Research Corporation President and CEO. “Our unique, patented offering, which is the result of years of scientific research and product development, has made Pong the global leader in products that protect consumers from the potentially harmful effects of cell phone radiation. We are very proud of the global appeal for Pong’s products, having now gained loyal customers in over 25 countries worldwide.”

The Pong team, led by Dr. Kennedy, will continue to manage the Company, taking advantage of the financial and strategic resources created by the partnership with Catterton. “Now that the International Agency for Research on Cancer, as part of the World Health Organization, has classified cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans, we expect much greater consumer awareness and adoption, particularly in the U.S.,” Dr. Kennedy continued. “Our new partnership with Catterton will help us capitalize on that significant opportunity. We look forward to benefiting from Catterton’s financial and operational expertise, which we believe will allow Pong to reach the millions of consumers around the world who are looking for a proven solution to prevent unnecessary exposure to cell phone radiation.”

“Pong is on a trajectory of explosive growth, and we are delighted to partner with them to help bring Pong’s breakthrough products to more mobile users worldwide,” said Michael Farello, a Partner at Catterton Partners. “As the only manufacturer of protective cases that offer a simple, proven and cost-effective solution to reduce exposure to the potentially harmful effects of radiation transmitted by mobile devices, Pong is truly a game-changer in the industry. We look forward to working with the talented team at Pong and leveraging our financial and operational expertise to help Pong realize its significant growth potential.”

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