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February 15 2014

February 18, 2014




IBM Lands DARPA Contract for Self-Destructing Chips


FEBRUARY 7, 2014 11:15AM

DARPA has awarded IBM a $3.45 million contract to develop self-destructing microchips.,2817,2430476,00.asp?mailingID=3243A6C702E461A79B039E45D3BD1EA5


Anyone who has watched a spy movie – from James Bond to Mission Impossible – is familiar with self-destructing messages and gadgets. But the technology might become a reality thanks to a project from DARPA and IBM.

Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) within the Defense Department put out the call for technology that “when triggered, [can] degrade partially or completely into their surroundings.”

Late last month, DARPA awarded IBM a $3.45 million contract to pursue the futuristic project, dubbed Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program, which will develop a “new class of electronics.”

“The commercial off-the-shelf, or COTS, electronics made for everyday purchases are durable and last nearly forever,” Alicia Jackson, DARPA program manager, said in announcing VAPR last year. “DARPA is looking for a way to make electronics that last precisely as long as they are needed. The breakdown of such devices could be triggered by a signal sent from command or any number of possible environmental conditions, such as temperature.”

Specifically, IBM will experiment with glass shattering techniques that can turn the silicon chips that power today’s gadgets into an unusable powder.

“A trigger, such as a fuse or a reactive metal layer will be used to initiate shattering, in at least one location, on the glass substrate,” DARPA said.

But don’t expect Apple or Samsung to reveal a self-destructing smartphone anytime soon. The idea is to protect secrets on the battlefield. Radios, remote sensors, and phones are all used by military personnel, but “it is almost impossible to track and recover every device,” DARPA said. “At the end of operations, these electronics are often found scattered across the battlefield and might be captured by the enemy and repurposed or studied to compromise DoD’s strategic technological advantage.”

For more, check out PCMag Live in the video below, which discusses IBM’s “Vanishing Programmable Resources.”


White House Pushes Budget Hike

Boost Would Start in FY16

Feb. 9, 2014 – 03:00PM | By DEFENSE NEWS STAFF | Comments


WASHINGTON — The White House and Pentagon, after weeks of back-and-forth debate, appear ready to expand the Defense Department’s budget starting in 2016.

Administration officials are contemplating a $535 billion DoD budget in 2016, one source said, which is about $36 billion over the sequester cap. The administration would offset the defense increase in other areas of the federal budget, sources said.

Senior White House officials are resisting some of the largest reductions proposed by the Pentagon, including the Navy’s plan to cut an aircraft carrier and slow manpower cuts, according to several sources close to the internal negotiations. It is not clear, however — especially inside the Pentagon — where the money would come from to pay for the items that would have been cut in 2015.

Sources said the new plan would include expanding options outside the formal budget request, including soliciting “wish lists” of unfunded priorities from each of the services, and an expanded war budget request.

White House officials were surprised by the level of the cuts proposed by the Pentagon in the fiscal 2015 submission, sources said. Asking to eliminate one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers would be politically challenging in an election year.

While details continue to be nailed down, the White House will send a roughly $496 billion Defense Department base budget request for 2015 to Congress on March 4.

To make up shortfalls, the services are being directed to significantly enhance their “unfunded priorities list,” a heretofore congressionally-mandated annual requirement that Pentagon leadership severely reduced in recent years, to the point of not being produced at all in 2013. The new plan, however, sees a total of $26 billion in unfunded requirements for 2015 across the services.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, told Defense News on Feb. 7 that DoD’s fiscal 2015 budget submission will remain under the caps mandated by the budget deal constructed by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. That deal restored about $30 billion to Pentagon coffers in 2014 and 2015.

Kirby noted that DoD’s 2015 budget will still be about $42 billion less than previous plans and tough decisions lie ahead for the department.

However, the White House might allow the Pentagon to submit projections for 2016 to 2019 that are higher than the Budget Control Act caps that were put in place in 2011, according to sources.

“You have to come at all these things … from a holistic point of view,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a Feb. 7 briefing at the Pentagon.

“Readiness, modernization, capability: Those are priorities that we focus on,” he said. “As you assess your resources, and you match your resources to mission, those are three priorities that always must be in front of everything else.”

Still, Hagel noted there will be “across-the-board” cuts.

“You can’t do it any other way,” he said. “I think it’s a very good plan, [and] it’s an effective plan.”


Carrier Restored – or Not?

The Navy’s plan to eliminate the Japan-based carrier George Washington and one of the Navy’s 10 carrier air wings received major attention, with numerous lawmakers expressing their opposition to the plan after it was reported in Defense News on Jan. 27.

The GW — a relatively young ship after 22 years of service — is scheduled to begin a $3.9 billion, three-year refueling overhaul in 2016, work which will keep the ship running an additional 23 years or so.

While some money has already been appropriated for advanced procurement, the bulk of the funding is still to come.

The Navy zeroed in on the carrier and aircraft as a way to reduce spending while saving money for other ships, including submarines and amphibious ships.

The move would also eliminate more than 5,000 seagoing billets to allow for personnel reductions.

But no ships are more symbolic of American power, and in a political year, the White House has directed the Navy to rescind its request to decommission a carrier.

There’s just one problem: There is no funding for the ship, either to proceed with the reactor refueling overhaul, or to operate it when it’s returned to service.

“The narrative doesn’t match the dollars,” one Pentagon source said of the situation.

The plan now seems to be to proceed with the refueling overhaul, kicking the issue into the following year.

The Navy received $245 million in advanced procurement for the overhaul in the 2014 budget and is programmed to ask for $491 million in advanced procurement in 2015.

In 2016, $1.6 billion would be requested and again in 2017, to complete GW’s overhaul.

Several sources said those funds are not now in the budget. Among the Navy’s options, sources said, would be asking for less advanced procurement funding in 2015, sliding the whole project a year or more and putting off the need for a decision until next year.

The manpower issue is one that the services have struggled with coming after more than a decade at war — none more so than the Army.

Having reached a wartime high of 570,000 troops at the height of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the service has since slimmed to about 530,000 troops, on the way down to a goal of 490,000 by the end of 2015.

The rub for the Army is that reducing its end-strength to 490,000 won’t actually save any money. Force levels above that number are funded through supplemental wartime accounts — which will end in fiscal 2016 — so in order to reap any savings that could then be used to pad modernization accounts, it will have to go below that 490,000 threshold.

“The monies are laid out to give us a 420,000 Army by 2019,” Lt. Gen. James Barclay, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-8, said on Jan. 15. But he cautioned that this “doesn’t mean we’re set on going to 420. We’ve got some decision points built in, coming into the ’16-’17 timeframe, so we’re taking a hard look at what is the right set.”

One thing was clear Feb. 7 — hundreds of Pentagon budget specialists are trying to figure how to enact all these changes in line-item fashion in budget documents that are due to be submitted in less than a month.


Windows XP isn’t the only software getting the knife in 8 weeks

Microsoft will also end support for Office 2003 and Exchange 2003


By Gregg Keizer

February 11, 2014 04:13 PM ET


Computerworld – Microsoft will call it quits not only on Windows XP in less than two months, but will also pull the plug on Office 2003 the same day.

After April 8, Office 2003, which debuted on Oct. 21, 2003, will no longer receive security updates, no matter which flavor of Windows it’s running on.

Although Microsoft has made noise about ditching Windows XP, it has spoken infrequently about Office 2003’s deadline. One of the few places on its website where it has talked about the latter’s end-of-life, or EOL, is here.

“We’re seeing the same kind of pockets as with XP,” said Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, of Office 2003 users in business. “A lot of people were on holding patterns with XP and didn’t upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2007.”

Michael Silver of Gartner agreed. “There’s a correlation between the success of Windows and the success of the Office that came out around it,” he said. “Because of Vista, because of the timing, because of the costs, a lot of organizations skipped Office 2007.”

When companies began migrating from XP to Windows 7 — a process that continues even as the former’s retirement deadline looms — they also migrated from Office 2003 to Office 2010, even though a newer version of the latter has been available for more than a year.

“You might say the same [about a correlation] about Windows 8 and Office 2013,” Silver said, adding that uptake for Office 2013 has been slow in enterprises. “It’s because so many organizations are still in the midst of their Windows 7 migration [that they’ve ignored Office 2103]. They didn’t want to change that Windows 7-Office 2010 plan, and decided to continue that.”

But Silver pegged the prevalence of Office 2003 as more than the pockets Miller portrayed. “It’s probably in the 30% to 40% range,” Silver said.

Office 2003’s successor, Office 2007, was bypassed for another reason: Some customers detested its new “Ribbon”-style interface, which was championed by Julie Larson-Green, then with the Office engineering group but subsequently an important executive in the Windows 7 and Windows 8 teams. She is now head of the company’s Devices and Studios, responsible for the Surface line of hardware.

The Ribbon-ized Office 2007, and its follow-ups, Office 2010 and Office 2013, have continued to earn scorn from some long-time users. But the initial criticism about the user interface (UI) change died down much more quickly than that aimed at Windows Vista, which launched around the same time as Office 2007, or the UI complaints aimed now at Windows 8.

With the end of public support, Microsoft will no longer provide security patches for Office 2003. And Microsoft has been aggressively patching Office 2003: In 2013, it released 10 security bulletins for the edition. It has shipped one so far this year.

“But folks don’t worry as much about support for Office as they do for an operating system,” said Silver. “There’s definitely a risk in running Office 2003 [after patches stop] but you can do a lot of things to reduce the risk significantly, such as turning macros off by default.”

The lack of security updates will present special problems to consumers and small business customers running Windows XP and Vista, as the newest editions of the suite, Office 2013 and Office 365, run only on Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1.


(Large organizations with enterprise and Software Assurance agreements can upgrade from Office 2003 — if they are still running the 11-year-old suite — to any newer Office edition.)

Microsoft no longer sells Office 2007 or 2010, the latest versions that run on XP and Vista, either direct or to distributors, but online retailers still have the latter in stock. Newegg, for example, sells Office 2010 for between $100 and $480, depending on the SKU (stock keeping unit) and whether installation media is included.

Other alternatives include the free Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice, both of which run on XP and Vista.

Miller pointed out that Office 2003 and Windows XP were not the only pieces of Microsoft’s portfolio to roll into retirement on April 8.

“It’s not just Office 2003, it’s not just the front end but it’s also the back end. Exchange [Server] 2003 also leaves support that day,” Miller said.

As happened to Windows XP and Office 2003, users hung on to Exchange Server 2003, skipping the next edition, Exchange Server 2007. Most enterprises migrated to Windows 7, Office 2010 and Exchange Server 2010 around the same time.

“We’re seeing more Exchange holdouts because [the software] was often installed on Windows Server 2003,” said Miller, referring to the server-side software that leaves support mid-July 2015. “This could end up being a big thing this year and next, because it’s a bigger transition. Some customers are still running Windows Server 2003 on 32-bit hardware, but since that version, it’s been all 64-bit. So they may not have the hardware.”

For Miller, the migration-from-Server 2003 story will be one to watch carefully.

Coincidentally, Microsoft will also stop serving patches to Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 2 (SP2) on April 8, and require all users of the OS X edition to run Service Pack 3 to receive and install security updates.


The Pickup Truck Era Of Warfare

Jack Mulcaire

February 11, 2014 ·


Readers, let’s take a moment to salute a true workhorse. In the world of war machines, the expensive and high-tech items get all the attention and budget—drones, anti-ship ballistic missiles, cyber warfare, and the like. But, on the battlefields of the twenty-first century, a humble and under-rated weapon has quietly showed up these expensive attention-hogs: the pickup truck.

Today, primarily irregular, infantry-centric forces fight almost every conflict in the world. Pickup trucks are their mainstays. In Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Mexico, Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic, irregulars reach the battlefield more often than not in the cabs and beds of Toyota Hi-Luxes and Land Cruisers, Ford Rangers, and Mitsubishi L200s. When they arrive, the same pickups are often carrying the crew-served weapons that offer that allow a light force to pack a punch on the cheap. Pickup trucks are ideal for the wars of the twenty-first century: they’re readily available, cheap, fuel efficient, easy to operate and repair. And, they are more modular than the Littoral Combat Ship. They can operate off-road in the bush or in the downtown of a major metropolis. All of these characteristics make the pickup truck a war-winner for non-state or weak-state forces that can’t get their hands on purpose-built military vehicles, can’t afford extensive logistic chains, and need to quickly move through and between rough terrain and urban environments.


The “technical” (light truck mounted with weapons) was born in the Sahara and won its greatest glory there. The history of the technical goes back to the exploits of the Long Range Desert Group in the Second World War. But, the pickup-truck era of warfare really began on March 22, 1987, when 2,000 Chadian soldiers riding in technicals armed with heavy machine guns, AA guns, MILAN anti-tank missiles and recoilless rifles emerged from desert wadis in the depths of the Sahara and overran the massive Libyan air base at Wadi Doum, Chad in a surprise attack that killed thousands of Libyans, destroyed dozens of tanks and aircraft, and shattered Libyan air power. The Chadians would go on to repeat their success several months later with an attack against the Libyan airbase at Maaten al-Sara, in Libya itself. Again, thousands of fighters in armed pickups crossed the desert to hit with speed and surprise. Libya agreed to a cease-fire six days after Maaten al-Sara fell, bringing the “Toyota War” (so named because Chadian forces were mainly composed of Toyota trucks) to an end. The Chadians had defeated a larger and far better armed Libyan force, holding a well-fortified position, and they couldn’t have done it without their trucks.


The speedy all-terrain mobility of the Chadian technicals allowed them to cross the Sahara into Libya undetected, masking their approach by following wadis and dunes. The trucks could carry the heavy weapons necessary to destroy Libyan armor and suppress Libyan positions at long range, unlike infantry or camels. Chadian drivers even discovered that their trucks could drive over anti-tank mines without detonating them, as long as they drove faster than 100 km/h. The Chadians are still masters of technical warfare; convoys of Toyota Land Cruisers carrying Chadian mercenaries led the Seleka alliance’s charge into Bangui, pushed back a South African infantry company and overthrew President Francois Boizize last March in the Central African Republic.


No history of the pickup-truck era of warfare would be complete without mentioning the Somalis. The term “technical” originated in Somalia: international NGOs would use “technical assistance grants” to hire and equip local guards, and “technical” quickly became the shorthand term for their armed trucks. Somali politics are clan-dominated, and the strength of a Somali clan is measured in how much livestock they own and how many technicals they can field. Muhammad Farah Adid, perhaps the most powerful single warlord to rise and fall since the collapse of Somalia, and victor of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu against American Rangers, was carried to his grave in the back of one of his Toyota Land Cruiser pickups.


The wars of the Arab Spring have brought us into the golden age of the battle truck. Colonel Moammar Qaddafi probably thought that his truck problems had ended after his forces withdrew from Chad, but he would live to be tormented by Toyotas one final time. The Mad Max ingenuity of Libya’s rebel mechanics, born of desperation during the country’s 2011 civil war, surpassed anything that other pickup-warriors in Chad, Somalia, Lebanon and other hotspots had ever come up with. They quickly became the stuff of legend: the Chinese auto company that produced most of the rebellion’s trucks used Libyan technicals to advertise that their trucks were “stronger then war.” The Libyans weren’t the best soldiers, or the best tacticians, but they were the most innovative engineers. They attached armor plate-mated office chairs with ZPU AA guns, sawed off the roof to increase the arc of fire for the recoilless rifle in the bed. They produced hundreds of trucks armed with huge S-5 Soviet rocket pods, intended for aircraft. They even cut the turret off of a BMP-1 Soviet Armored Personnel Carrier and mounted it on the back of a Toyota.



Throughout the conflict, the revolutionary militias captured hundreds of tanks and APCs, but even in the war’s last battles, technical trucks provided the majority of rebel firepower and transport. The superior speed, mobility and fuel economy of the trucks more than compensated for their lack of armor and firepower compared to captured T-72 tanks and BMPs. The description of the rebellion’s final push from Zawiya into Tripoli in Irish-Libyan rebel Hussam Najjair’s memoir of the campaign highlights the unique assets of the pickups. The speed and fuel efficiency of the pickups let the rebel Tripoli Brigade cover ground so fast that disparate pro-Qaddafi units weren’t able to link up and support each other, and when the superior firepower of the government troops became too heavy, the pickups could quickly scatter off-road, duck down alleys, or make a speedy u-turn. At the moment, Libya’s militias are engaged in mopping up the last remnants of a simultaneous uprising and incursion over the border from Chad by former pro-Qaddafi fighters. Militiamen assembled in central Tripoli to make a show of strength before going south to put down the threat. What sort of vehicles were they parading in? You guessed it, Toyota Land Cruiser pickups.


The battle pickup continues to evolve. In Syria, rebel mechanics built this homemade tank with a remote-controlled machine gun operated by a PlayStation controller onto the frame of a truck. As long as great-power rivalries stay suppressed and large-scale conventional warfare is rare, the pickup-truck era of warfare will continue. The pickup-truck era is an era of small wars, often fought in marginal places by weak states or forces with no state to back them. Winning strategies and forces in the pickup-truck era of warfare should share the characteristics that have made the light truck a successful weapon. A winning strategy should involve a light resource footprint and it should be easy to implement with irregular, semi-professional light troops. It should be applicable to urban and rural areas because the forces of the pickup truck era freely cross the border between both. It’s easy to forget the strategic lessons that the pickup truck can teach us because they’re not very glamorous. But, for me, a convoy of swaggering militiamen speeding down the road in the bed of their modded Toyota Hi-Luxes is the modern version of a line of medieval knights charging at full gallop.


Jack Mulcaire is a contributor to War on the Rocks. During the 2011 Libyan Civil War, he helped lead a group of international volunteers that aided and consulted with local rebel councils and units. He has written for Small Wars Journal on the Syrian conflict and has aided New York Times writer Damien Spleeters in tracking arms shipments to Syria.


IAI Unveils Larger, More Powerful UAV at Singapore Airshow

Feb. 11, 2014 – 03:45AM | By ANDREW CHUTER | Comments


SINGAPORE — A heavy fuel version of Israel Aerospace Industry’s big-selling Heron UAV literally had the wraps taken off on the opening day of the Singapore Airshow Feb. 11.

Joseph Weiss, the president and CEO of the state-owned Israeli company, ordered a huge blue shroud to be removed from the Super Heron Heavy Fuel machine parked on the apron outside the company’s chalet in a ceremony here today to formally reveal the UAV.

With the shroud gone, the latest member of the Heron family was revealed as having slightly bigger dimensions than before and some minor redesign around the rear fuselage.


Visually, the main difference was the incorporation of upturned wingtips. But it’s under the engine covers where the main innovation can be found over earlier Heron versions.

IAI engineers have installed a 200-horsepower heavy fuel (diesel) engine instead of the 115 horsepower aviation fuel engine used by other Heron 1 variants.

Diesel fuel offers several benefits, including greater safety in transport and commonality with other engines used on today’s battlefield.

Weiss said the new generation medium-altitude high-endurance UAV will be faster and offer significant capability enhancements and improved rates of climb compared with previous Herons.

Air speed will exceed 150 knots compared with the present Heron figure of 115 knots; maximum takeoff weight has increased 200 kilograms to 1,450 kilograms. Payload weight is 450 kilograms, said the company in a statement.

The UAV made its first flight last October.

The machine is already being offered in export markets and Shepard Media reported that the Super Heron HF is competing with Elbit to supply the Swiss military with a heavy fuel-powered machine. A selection is expected later this year.


Levin: DoD Unlikely To Breach Spending Caps in 2015 Request

Feb. 11, 2014 – 05:22PM | By JOHN T. BENNETT | Comments


WASHINGTON — US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin said Tuesday he doubts the Pentagon’s 2015 budget request will breach spending caps set by Congress.

Large numbers of Republicans and Democrats in both chambers voted for the 2011 Budget Control Act, which capped discretionary defense and domestic spending for 2014 and 2015. The bipartisan budget plan negotiated late last year by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., then extended them through 2021.

Lawmakers are so fond of the caps, in fact, that including them in the bipartisan budget plan enhanced the final vote tallies in both chambers.

In recent weeks, defense analysts and insiders had suggested the Pentagon would simply ignore those caps in its 2015 request. But that notion is being systematically extinguished.

Levin told reporters on Tuesday that he believes the coming DoD request, due on Capitol Hill in early March (a few weeks later than usual), will fit under the caps — even if just barely.

He expects Pentagon officials will use the “future years defense plan [FYDP],” which forecasts expected defense requests for four additional years, to “tell us that, unless we deal with the ’16 sequestration … what the impacts will be down the road.”

That meshes with comments made by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby during an interview with Defense News last Friday.

Sources have told Defense News that the White House is considering allowing the Pentagon to show spending levels for 2016 through 2019 — which encompass the FYDP — that are higher than the spending caps.


If that scenario plays out, expect GOP fiscal hawks and anti-Pentagon liberals to cry foul. The former wants deep cuts across the federal budget and the latter will question why the White House is making exceptions only for a Defense Department that makes up such a massive percentage of total discretionary spending.


Banks push for tokenization standard to secure credit card payments

Tokenization addresses gaps in EMV smartcard standard, says indsutry group

By Jaikumar Vijayan

February 12, 2014 02:31 PM ET

Computerworld – A group representing 22 of the world’s largest banks is pushing for broad adoption in the U.S. of payment card technology called tokenization, citing shortcomings in the planned migration to the Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) smartcard standard over the next two years.

The Clearing House Payments Company (TCH), whose owners include Bank of America, Citibank, Capital One and JP Morgan Chase, is working with member banks to see how tokenization can be applied to online and mobile payment environments to protect against fraud.

The effort stems from what the group says is the need to address gaps in the EMV standard involving mobile and online transactions.

“EMV has been out there for close to 20 years” and has served its purpose well, said Dave Fortney, senior vice president, product development and management for The Clearing House.


Data breaches

Banks push for tokenization standard to secure credit card payments

Debit and credit cards based on the EMV technology use an embedded microchip, instead of a magnetic stripe, to store data and are considered almost impossible to clone for fraudulent purposes. Though the rest of the world moved to the technology years ago, the U.S. has lagged behind for a variety of reasons.

However, after the recent Target breach that exposed data on 40 million debit and credit cards, calls to adopt the standard in the U.S. have become more strident. MasterCard and Visa have said they want merchants and banks to be ready to start accepting EMV cards by October 2015.

While the planned migration has its benefits, EMV is not quite the panacea that many assume it is, Fortney said. “The downside with EMV is that it was created when there was no Internet, no online commerce, no smartphones and no tablets.”

While EMV is great for securing card transactions at point-of-sale terminals, it is less useful for online payments and other card-not-present transactions. That is one of the major reasons why payment card fraud has migrated from point-of-sale systems to online channels in Europe and other places that have already adopted EMV.

Payment card tokenization is one way to address this gap, Fortney noted.

Tokenization is a method for protecting card data by substituting a card’s Primary Account Number (PAN) with a unique, randomly generated sequence of numbers, alphanumeric characters, or a combination of a truncated PAN and a random alphanumeric sequence.


The token is usually the same length and format as the original PAN, so it appears no different than a standard payment card number to back-end transaction processing systems, applications and storage.

The random sequence, or “token,” acts as a substitute value for the actual PAN while the data is at rest inside a retailer’s systems. The token can be reversed to its true associated PAN value at any time with the right decryption keys. Tokens can be either single use tokens or multi-use tokens.

Tokenization eliminates the need for merchants, e-commerce sites and operators of mobile wallets to store sensitive payment card data on their networks, said Fortney.

With tokenization, credit and debit card data is encrypted at the point where it is captured and sent to the merchant’s payment processor where the data is decrypted and the transaction is authorized. The processor then issues a token representing the entire transaction back to the retailer while the actual card number itself is securely stored in a virtual vault.

The retailer can use the token to keep track of the transaction and handle refunds, returns, exchanges and other transactions. The token itself would be of little value to data thieves because there would be no way to link the token back to the PAN without the decryption key.

Customers would do nothing different when paying for purchases using a credit or debit card. The card data is encrypted when the card is swiped through the payment terminal, sent to the processor where it is decrypted for transaction approval processes, and a token issued to the merchant all without the customer experiencing anything different.

Tokenization can also be implemented on-premise with the merchant itself hosting the server that does the decryption and token issuance.

Tokenization also offers a great way to secure emerging mobile payment applications, Fortney said. A mobile wallet operator like PayPal or Google could use the approach to store one-time use tokens in a consumer’s virtual wallet rather than actual credit and debit card numbers. Consumers could use the tokens to make purchases like they would with an actual payment card while merchants would be able to complete a transaction without touching or storing actual PAN data, he said.

One major advantage with tokenization is that it does not require merchants to make major changes to their current payment acceptance systems, like EMV does, Fortney said. Tokens are formatted in the same manner as card information so merchants have to make relatively minimal changes to their payment systems, he said.

The real heavy lifting would happen at the banks, or other entities that store PAN data, generate tokens and keep track of them through the entire transaction chain.

Tokenization is not new. The Payment Card Industry Security Council, which administers a set of security standards for payment systems, recommends it as an approach for reducing the work that companies have to do to become PCI compliant.

A growing number of retailers already use tokenization as a way to reduce PCI scope, and several vendors sell tokenization products and services.

The Clearing House effort is aimed at fostering standards that everyone in the payment industry can use to implement tokenization in a consistent manner, Fortney said. “Our desire is to have an open standard across the whole industry,” he said.

The Clearing House is not the only organization looking at tokenization.

Following the Target breach, EMVCo, an entity owned by American Express, MasterCard, Visa and three other credit card brands, also announced plans to develop a tokenization standard for securing credit and debit card payments made via mobile handsets, tablet computers and online channels.

EMVCo did not respond to multiple Computerworld requests for comment on their effort. But a press release from January said the new specification would complement the existing EMV smartcard specifications that all merchants and banks are required to migrate to by the end of next year.

EMVCo’s specification will describe a “consistent approach to identify and verify the valid use of a token during payment processing including authorization, capture, clearing and settlement,” the statement noted.

The biggest benefit with tokenization is that it helps merchants remove payment card numbers from systems that don’t need it, said Terrence Spies, chief technology officer at Voltage Security, a provider of encryption and other data masking technologies.

Since tokenization is done in a central way, only a small portion of the network knows how to generate and reverse a token. As a result, it is easier for banks and other third parties to protect that process, Spies said. He is also chairman of the cryptographic tools group at the X9 standards body responsible for developing cryptographic standards for the financial services industry.

Like EMVCo and The Clearing House, the X9 standards body is working on developing tokenization standards for the U.S. payment industry, Spies said. The X9 effort is focused on developing standard definitions for tokenization and for the processes for generating and validating tokens, he said. “There’s a lot of energy being putting into getting tokenization right,” Spies said.


Illegal Drones Dare FAA to Stop Filming ‘Wolf’ to Bulls

by Press • 14 February 2014

By Alan Levin


It came from the sky.

One moment, Eileen Peskoff was enjoying a hot dog after running with the bulls at a Petersburg, Virginia, racetrack. Then she was on her back, knocked down when a 4-foot drone filming the event in August lost control and dove into the grandstands where she was sitting.

“You sign up for something called running the bulls, you think the only thing you’ll get hurt by is a 1,200-pound bull, not a drone,” Peskoff said in an interview.

Drones flown for a business purpose, like the one that left Peskoff and two friends with bruises, are prohibited in the U.S. That hasn’t stopped an invasion of flights far beyond the policing ability of theFederal Aviation Administration, which since 2007 hasn’t permitted commercial drones in the U.S. while it labors to write rules to allow them.

Drones have nonetheless been used to film scenes in the Martin Scorsese-directed movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” and sporting events for Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ESPN. They’ve inspected oilfield equipment, mapped agricultural land and photographed homes and neighborhoods for real estate marketing, according to industry officials, company websites and videos on the Internet.

All such flights in the U.S. are outside the rules. While the FAA hasn’t ruled out granting commercial-use permits under limited circumstances, it has so far only allowed operations in the Arctic.


Ignorance, Avoidance

Some operators plead ignorance of the rules. Some say their flying is legal under exemptions for hobbyists. Using drones is so lucrative for Hollywood that they’re flown knowing they’re illegal, said one operator who declined to be identified.

The FAA is aware the number of flights is increasing and tells users to stop when it learns about them, it said in an e-mailed response to questions. The agency said it’s considering new guidance on what’s permitted.

For every time the FAA orders an operator to stand down — as it did after a Michigan florist did a test delivery by drone Feb. 8, and in January with Lakemaid Beer, which posted a video online proposing 12-pack deliveries to Minnesota ice fishermen – – untold others fly below the radar, said Patrick Egan, a Sacramento, California-based author and producer of an annual unmanned aircraft expo in San Francisco.

Small drones available on the Internet or at hobby stores for less than $1,000 — some equipped with high-definition cameras like those made by San Mateo, California-based GoPro Inc. — are flooding the U.S. and being used by tens of thousands of people, whether legal or not, Egan said.


Airliners, Drones

The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation on March 4 after pilots on an Alitalia SpA Boeing Co. (BA) 777 nearing New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport spotted a multirotor copter that came within about 200 feet (61 meters).

At least six other pilots, including a crew on another airliner, have reported close calls since September 2011 with what they believed were small unmanned aircraft like those favored by hobbyists, cinematographers and other businesses, according to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, which logs safety issues.

While the government needs to do more to control the growth in drones, it has been “swamped” by political cross-currents and budget cuts that have made it difficult to craft rules, Doug Davis, who ran the FAA’s unmanned aircraft office in the mid-2000s, said in an interview.


‘No Way’

As airline pilot unions call for strict standards on the qualifications of drone operators, industry advocates including Egan say the standards should be eased. Lawmakers such as SenatorDianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who said protesters flew toy drones outside her house last year, have pressed the FAA to add privacy requirements as it crafts safety rules.

“The FAA is going to have to step up the enforcement of people who use these things,” Sean Cassidy, national safety coordinator for the Air Line Pilots Association, said in an interview. ALPA is the largest pilots union in North America.

The FAA conducted 17 enforcement actions for illegal drone use in the 13 months that ended in July 2013, according to agency data that doesn’t include informal steps like phone calls. It has issued one fine, which is being contested.

The FAA, set up to enforce manned aviation, doesn’t have the resources to enforce existing rules on a new form of flying that isn’t tied to airports and requires so little training almost anyone can do it, Davis said.

“The reality is there is no way to patrol it,” Davis said. “There’s just no way.”


Scorsese’s ‘Wolf’

Some businesses flying drones make little attempt to hide what they’re doing.


Freefly Cinema, an aerial photography company in Los Angeles and Seattle, has photos on itswebsite of helicopter drones it says it flew to film scenes for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and a commercial for Honda Motor Co. (7267)

Tabb Firchau of Freefly declined to comment in an e-mail. Rebecca Cook at the public relations company 42West LLC, which represents Scorsese, didn’t respond to e-mails requesting a comment.

A Freefly drone shot footage for a documentary about the U.S. Civil War battle at Gettysburg,Pennsylvania, that aired on most Public Broadcasting Service stations in the U.S. in November, the filmmaker, Jake Boritt, said in an interview.

Boritt said he got permission to film from the U.S. National Park Service. “It’s not something that we did a whole lot of research into,” Boritt said.

The park service, which controls access to the Gettysburg site and not the airspace, didn’t check with FAA about aviation regulations, Katie Lawhon, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.


Worth It

While ESPN hasn’t used drones to film events, some independent production companies supplying video to the network have, Josh Krulewitz, a spokesman, said in an e-mail. ESPN is telling production companies it works with to comply with regulations, Krulewitz said. He didn’t specify events at which drones were used.

For Hollywood, the benefits of using drones are worth the miniscule risk of being caught, said an operator who films scenes for TV shows and commercials. He asked to be unidentified because the practice isn’t permitted.

An unmanned aircraft system costing a few thousand dollars or less can replace dollies, booms and stabilization equipment costing tens of thousands, this operator said.


Surf’s Up

Eric Sterman, of Haleiwa, Hawaii, on Oahu’s North Shore, created a stir this year in the surfing world with a series of drone-shot videos of some of the world’s best surfers.

Sterman’s videos show wave riding at Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline and Maui’s Pe’ahi Jaws, filmed by a remote-controlled copter that floats above the waves. In one, filmed this year, his drone hovered next to a piloted helicopter also filming.

Sterman said in an e-mail he didn’t go near the helicopter. “I’m just having fun filming as a hobby and sharing it with friends and followers,” he said. Sterman, who lists a professional photo agency on his page, said he wasn’t paid for any of his drone video work.

Flying model aircraft is permitted provided it’s for recreation only, the FAA said in a written response to questions. In a 1981 advisory, the FAA said these unmanned aircraft should be flown no higher than 400 feet and away from populated areas. It also said they shouldn’t be flown near planes and helicopters, and that operators can’t use the hobbyist exemption to fly commercially.


‘High Concern’

Flying a drone next to a helicopter violates safety protocols, Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International, an Alexandria, Virginia-based trade group, said in an interview.


“We have a very high concern that there are people operating unmanned vehicles without our knowledge and without communications,” Zuccaro said.

Asked by the Australian surfing publication about the regulations, Sterman said, “I know you can fly them as a hobby. But no, I really don’t know the rules at all,” according to a Jan. 15 story.

The drone that hit Eileen Peskoff and two friends, Brad Fillius and Patrick Lewis, on Aug. 24 is owned by Scott Hansen, a Virginia Beach filmmaker.

Hansen was hired to produce aerial views of the event for a promotional video, Rob Dickens, chief operating officer of The Great Bull Run LLC, said in an interview.

The drone was operated by an employee of a local hobby shop, according to the FAA. Hansen wasn’t at the event, Dickens said.


Quad-Copter, GoPro

Peskoff said Hansen told her some of the batteries died. He wrote her a check for her medical bills afterward, Peskoff said. Hansen didn’t return three phone messages left at his production company, Digital Thunderdome.

The FAA said it spoke with the operator and the hobby shop’s owner to explain the rules, and the owner agreed to provide training for customers who purchase model drones. Additional enforcement action is still being considered, the agency said in a statement.

“It was kind of lucky,” Peskoff said. “The place was filled with young people. It hit three adults instead of a child.”

Also filming that day was a drone being flown for ESPN’s Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports show, Matt Doyle, executive producer and director of Big Brick Productions in Manchester, New Hampshire, said in an interview.

The production company has used drones to film commercials and feature shows for ESPN, and hasn’t looked into the legal restrictions, Doyle said.

“It seems like everyone and their mother has a quad-copter and a GoPro attached to it,” he said. “It’s not just a production company.”


Vague Rules

GoPro, which filed for a U.S. initial public offering last week, makes cameras that surfers, skiers and sky divers use to record their exploits. Katie Kilbride, a spokeswoman, said the company declined to comment on drone operations and safety.

Drone advocates like Egan and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an Arlington, Virginia-based trade group, said the FAA’s drone standards are vague and helped lead to the explosion of users pushing the envelope.

“AUVSI is certainly concerned that the longer FAA takes to write the safety rules for small unmanned aircraft, the more difficult it will become to regulate this industry,” Ben Gielow, general counsel of the group, said in an interview.


‘Careless, Reckless’

The FAA had planned to propose rules by 2011 allowing commercial flights with drones weighing less than 55 pounds (25 kilograms). The agency now doesn’t expect to unveil the proposal until November.

The agency also isn’t expected to meet a Congress-imposed deadline to craft rules for safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the nation’s airspace by 2015, the Transportation Department’s inspector general said in a report Feb. 5.

Even without those regulations, the FAA says it has the authority to prohibit commercial unmanned aircraft operations and “careless or reckless” flights by drones, which it calls unmanned aerial systems or UAS.

On Feb. 12, for example, an FAA inspector called Wesley Berry, chief executive officer of Flower Delivery Express LLC in Commerce, Michigan, after the company posted a video showing a drone delivering flowers to a home, Berry said in an interview. The tests, which showed the technology wasn’t ready for routine deliveries, were shut down, Berry said.


‘Genie Out’

“We are concerned about any UAS operation that poses a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground,” the agency said in a statement.

After the agency fined a Swiss man $10,000 for flying a drone over a Virginia university in 2011, the only fine the FAA has issued, his lawyer argued there were no regulations that applied. An administrative law judge hasn’t ruled on the appeal.

The number of civilian unmanned aircraft will reach 175,000 by 2035, most of them smaller models, a report by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Volpe National Transportation Systems Center found. Many such aircraft, such as the DJI Phantom 2, are already on the market.

“All of these people are out there flying trying to make a buck,” Egan said. “The genie is definitely out of the bottle.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Levin in Washington at



Curbs shut US drone makers out of export markets

by Press • 13 February 2014

BY KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer


SINGAPORE — Military brass shopping at Asia’s biggest defense expo this week have drones high on their to-buy list. But for U.S. manufacturers including General Atomics, which makes the Predator hunter-killer, there’s one problem: they can only sell to a few countries because of tight export restrictions.


The controls give rival drone makers from countries such as Israel and China a chance to win more business in the growing global market for unmanned aerial vehicles, which one group forecasts to more than double in the next decade.

U.S. arms makers have been lobbying the government for several years to loosen the restrictions so they can sell their systems to more countries. They fear their established market is shrinking as domestic defense spending is squeezed and the U.S. military withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan.

American aerospace companies are showing off the latest missiles, attack helicopters and fighter jets at the Singapore Airshow but they may find foreign rivals have the upper hand in cutting more deals for drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles.

“There are countries like Israel and China that have weapons-capable aircraft and they can sell, so it definitely hampers us with business not just in this region but around the world because we cannot compete,” said Billy Gililland, president of systems integration at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

The company’s Predator and Reaper are among the world’s most widely deployed drones. They can loiter in the air for long periods to give their operators more time to verify targets before firing precision-guided warheads.

Exports of drones are tightly controlled by an agreement signed by members of a group called the Missile Technology Control Regime, which includes the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. The group has since expanded to 34 countries but Israel and China aren’t members. The 1987 agreement was originally intended to curb the spread of ballistic missiles. Present day concern about spreading advanced weaponized drone technology to countries or groups hostile to the U.S. is a factor in keeping the American restrictions in place.

Officials at companies such as Northrop Grumman, which makes the high-altitude Global Hawk, argue the restrictions hurt competitiveness in a market that Teal Group Co. forecasts to expand to $11.6 billion in 2023 from $5.2 billion last year.

At the same time, human rights groups and some U.S. politicians have been increasingly critical of drone strikes for killing civilians.

Israeli drone makers including Elbit Systems Ltd. and Israel Aviation Industries Ltd., or IAI, had big displays at the Singapore Airshow.

IAI unveiled its Superheron drone, an upgraded version of its popular Heron. The company has sold drones to 20 countries including Brazil and Turkey.

Israel has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s largest exporter of unmanned aerial systems, selling $4.6 billion worth from 2005 to 2012, according to a report by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. In the same period, U.S. overseas sales amounted to $2-$3 billion.

Asia is a growing market for IAI, said Sharly Ben Chetrit, its executive vice president of marketing, He said Israel also has its own restrictions on exports.

“I can assure you that we are adhering to the most strict licensing policy in Israel. I don’t think we have it easier,” he said.

China’s state-owned companies have developed dozens of drones, including the Wing Loong, or Pterodactyl, which bears a striking resemblance to the Predator. A scale-model was on display at the airshow’s Chinese booth, where a salesman said it could carry two air-to-ground missiles weighing a combined 100 kilograms.

“It not only has strike capability but can be used for reconnaissance. America also has this type of UAV,” he said. He declined to give his name or say how much it cost. Staff said no officials were available to be interviewed.


China’s rapidly maturing drone capabilities alarm experts.

“China is positioning itself so that any country on the planet that, for political or financial reasons, is restricted from purchasing American or allied drones will be able to go to Beijing and get a comparable platform,” said Ian Easton, a research fellow at the 2049 Project Institute security think tank. He co-authored a recent report on China’s drones.

China’s $139 billion defense budget last year was the world’s second biggest, accounting for about 9 percent of global military spending, according to a report last week by IHS Jane’s. It’s leading a broader rise in regional military spending, with Australia, India and South Korea also hiking budgets that’s widens opportunities for defense contractors.

To compete for export business, General Atomics launched a drone model last year called the Predator XP that can’t be armed. Gililland said his company has been pitching for business to countries “all over the Pacific Rim.” Only Britain, Holland and Italy have been allowed to buy the missile-ready version, the latter two only recently.

The XP has had a lukewarm reception because foreign militaries want the version that can carry out an airstrike.

The list price for a Predator XP system, including three aircraft, three ground stations and spare parts, is about $50-$60 million. So far only the United Arab Emirates has bought it. A Predator that can carry weapons is “substantially” more expensive, Gililland said, though he declined to give a figure.

On Tuesday, the airshow’s first day, Gililland met the chief of Saudi Arabia’s air force, who said because of the curbs the country would buy the Wing Loong made by a Chinese state-owned company. Chinese media reports say it has been exported to countries in the Middle East and Asia at a fraction of the Predator’s price.

Gililland said he hoped buyers would become more interested in the XP but the company would need to sell them on its surveillance capabilities.

“There’s a lot of ways that we can sell the XP but we have to get past everyone’s desire to have a U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army-style Predator that shoots Hellfire missiles.”

Read more here:


Rasmussen Reports

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

Bottom of Form

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia have provided plenty of drama for over a week now, but Washington, DC offered some excitement of its own this week.

Following a challenge from the Tea Party wing of the party, 12 Republican senators joined Democrats in voting to raise the federal debt ceiling through March 2015 without any additional spending cuts. While most U.S. voters agreed that not raising the debt ceiling would have been bad for the economy, they wanted a debt ceiling bill that included long-term spending cuts.

Another issue receiving a lot of attention in Washington is immigration reform, now that Republican leaders in Congress are expressing support for a measure that paves a way to citizenship for those here illegally after the border is completely secured. Voters aren’t confident the feds will actually secure the border, but an overwhelming majority have a favorable opinion of immigrants who work hard to pursue the American Dream.

The spending and immigration issues could impact some key Senate races this year, but many Republicans are hoping the health care law will help them capture the Senate. Voters are a bit more critical of the U.S. health care system four months into Obamacare, but most still have high praise for their health insurance coverage and the care they personally receive

Democrats have reclaimed their lead on this week’s Generic Congressional Ballot.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week called for lifting voting bans on millions of felons as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to address the U.S. justice system. Most voters believe someone convicted of a felony should regain the right to vote after serving their sentence problem-free.

Voters are only slightly less convinced that the Internal Revenue Service broke the law when it targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, and they strongly oppose bonuses being awarded to IRS employees for their work last year.

On the economic front, the number of homeowners who say their home is worth more than what they owe on their mortgage has increased after a weak start to 2014. 35% Expect Their Home’s Value To Go Up Over Next Year Most homeowners continue to say they have not missed a mortgage payment in the last six months and fewer than ever expect to in the near future. 25% Believe Gov’t Should Assist Those Who Can’t Make Mortgage Payments.

CVS Caremark drugstores announced last week that they would stop selling all tobacco products in their stores “to help people on their path to better health,” and most Americans think it’s likely that other major retail chains will follow their example in the next few years.

Most voters continue to support an economic system that provides everyone a chance to succeed, and they generally believe it is fair and helpful for the economy to let those who are successful become very rich

Just 32% rate President Obama’s handling of economic issues as good or excellent, down two points from the previous week and the lowest positive ratings since early December

Finally, there was quite a bit of entertainment news this week, including one of the most celebrated events in modern music history. The Beatles made their U.S. television debut 50 years ago last Sunday and 63% say they have watched the iconic Ed Sullivan show

Late night comedian Jay Leno ended his 22-year run as the host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” last week, and Americans view him more favorably than his replacement, Jimmy Fallon. But more than half of adults say the switch from Leno to Fallon won’t impact their decision to watch the long-running show

Singer Clay Aiken, who got his start on the “American Idol” TV program, made headlines last week when he announced he is running for Congress in North Carolina, but very few consider a candidate’s celebrity a deciding factor to their vote.

In other surveys this week:

– Very few adults consider Valentine’s Day one of the nation’s most important holidays, but more than half neither look forward to nor dread the day 

Most adults aren’t planning to send or receive flowers this Valentine’s Day, which may be good, since most want something else anyway. Here’s more of what Americans think about the holiday

 – For the second week in a row, 29% of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending February 9.

– A majority of Americans have a favorable impression of the so-called Baby Boomer generation, but they are less enthusiastic about the generation’s impact on America. Here’s more of what America thinks about the baby boomers.

Most voters still have a favorable opinion of the Social Security system but also continue to doubt that they will receive all their benefits from the federal retirement system.

Most voters continue to believe Americans should be able to choose their own Social Security and Medicare retirement age and decide what they pay out of their paycheck for those benefits.


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