Michael Cooney

Author Archives: Michael Cooney

FTC shuts down “card member services” robocallers

A massive robocall campaign designed to trick people into paying for worthless credit card interest rate reduction programs has been shut down by a Federal Court at the behest of the Federal Trade Commission and the Florida Attorney General. The court order stops the illegal calls, many of which targeted seniors and claimed to be from “credit card services” and “card member services.” The defendants charged consumers up to $4,999 for their non-existent services, the FTC stated. +More on Network World: FBI: Social media, virtual currency hit big time scam, fraud club+To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

NASA to get space station view of Earth-bound asteroids, meteors

NASA will by the end of July get a birds-eye view of meteors and asteroids from a special camera mounted on the inside of the International Space Station.The Meteor investigation camera is programmed to record known major meteor showers during its two-year orbit and could also spot unpredicted showers. The Meteor study will help scientists better understand the asteroids and comets crossing Earth’s orbit and could help protect spacecraft and Earth from potential collisions with this celestial debris., NASA said.+More on Network World: NASA shows off 10 engine helicopter/aircraft hybrid drone (video too!)+To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

FBI: CryptoWall ransomware plague rising

As the sad and sometimes scary examples of the scam known as ransomware propagates, the FBI this week said the CryptoWall variant is rapidly becoming the swindle of choice by criminals.The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center said between April 2014 and June 2015, it received 992 CryptoWall-related complaints, with victims reporting losses totaling over $18 million. And its not just user PCs that are being targeted, a growing number of victims are being hit with ransomware that locks down mobile phones and demands payments to unlock them.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

NASA: “Wild” technology will transform aviation

It’s not often you see a button-down organization like NASA call something “wild” but that’s what the space agency is calling six concepts – ranging from adding artificial intelligence to unmanned aircraft to using electricity for propulsion -- it has picked to study to revolutionize the aviation world.+More on Network World: Hot stuff: The coolest drones+The project, known as Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) is looking to develop what NASA called “something truly historic – the buzzword is ‘transformative’ – and help crack tomorrow's biggest challenges in aviation related to fuel use, the environment, and managing global growth in air traffic.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

FCC to smack AT&T with $100M fine for choking “unlimited” data plan speeds

The Federal Communications Commission said it plans to fine AT&T Mobility $100M – the agency’s largest fine ever -- for severely slowing down data speeds for customers with unlimited data plans. The FCC’s investigation revealed that millions of AT&T customers were slowed for an average of 12 days per billing cycle, significantly impeding their ability to use common data applications such as GPS mapping or streaming video. And the company failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive speeds slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised, the FCC stated.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

FCC to smack AT&T with $100M fine for choking “unlimited” data plan speeds

The Federal Communications Commission said it plans to fine AT&T Mobility $100M – the agency’s largest fine ever -- for severely slowing down data speeds for customers with unlimited data plans. The FCC’s investigation revealed that millions of AT&T customers were slowed for an average of 12 days per billing cycle, significantly impeding their ability to use common data applications such as GPS mapping or streaming video. And the company failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive speeds slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised, the FCC stated.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

SpaceX wants you to build Elon Musk’s Hyperloop pod

Looking to hasten the development of a Hyperloop pod transportation prototype, SpaceX this week said it would open a public completion to build a half-scale passenger system capable of traveling at speeds in excess of 760MPH.SpaceX founder, entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2013, envisioned the Hyperloop concept. He proposed building a network of elevated pneumatic tubes where specially build passenger pods could zip between two points – in this case between San Francisco and Los Angeles at speeds over 760MPH. Reuters Elon MuskTo read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

DARPA seeks high-speed inter-satellite communication technology

As the use of smaller satellites in larger constellations increases, the need for faster communications between spacecraft will be needed for improved availability for intelligence, surveillance, telecommunications and reconnaissance applications.The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency this week announced a program called “Inter-Satellite Communication Links (ISCL)” it hopes will see the development of lightweight, low-power, and low-cost inter-satellite communications technology that could be used in a wide range of small Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. Specifically, this program seeks to develop ISCLs with the highest practical data rates while having a per-link average weight of less than 2 pounds and an orbit-average power dissipation of less than 3 watts, DARPA stated.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

NTSB wants auto industry to speed collision avoidance technology adoption

The National Transportation Safety Board this week said it wants to see auto collision avoidance technology implemented in cars more quickly and recommended that such equipment become standard on all new passenger and commercial vehicles.The NTSB said that only 4 out of 684 passenger vehicle models in 2014 included a complete forward collision avoidance system as a standard feature. When these systems are offered as options, they are often bundled with other non-safety features, making the overall package more expensive.“You don’t pay extra for your seatbelt,” said Chairman NTSB Christopher Hart in a statement. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

DARPA spends $24M to smarten-up WAN edge

Officials of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) this week awarded two contracts worth a total of nearly $24 million to develop new networking and security technologies at the WAN edge.Raytheon BBN Technologies and Vencore Labs’ Applied Communication Sciences research program pretty much evenly divided the money which DARPA expects will develop technologies that “bolster the resilience of communication over IP networks solely by instantiating new capabilities in computing devices within user enclaves at the WAN edge.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

DARPA wants to make complex 3D printing trustworthy, dependable, safe

DARPA A laser beam heats a metal powder to additively build a product layer by layer. If additive manufacturing technologies like 3D printing are to become mainstream for complex engineering tasks – think building combat fighter aircraft wings or complete rocket engines – there needs to be a major uptick in the reliability and trustworthiness of such tools.+More on Network World: The hottest 3D printing projects+To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

DARPA wants you to verify software flaws by playing games

Can online gamers perform the sometimes tedious software verification work typically done by professional coding experts?Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) think so and were so impressed with their first crowdsourced flaw-detecting games, they announced an new round of five games this week designed for improved playability as well as increased software verification effectiveness.+More on Network World: Hot stuff: The coolest drones+DARPA began the program known as Crowd Sourced Formal Verification (CSFV) in December 2013 and opened the Verigames web portal (http://www.verigames.com/home), which offered five free online formal verification games.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

FCC ruling could bolster robocall battle

The Federal Communications Commission could soon clear a path to help in the ongoing battle to fight unwanted and in many cases illegal robocalls and text messages.FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing a number of changes that the FCC says would “close loopholes and strengthen consumer protections already on the books,” such as the widely used Do-Not-Call Registry. The FCC proposals were in response to industry players who sought clarity on how the Commission enforces the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)."The FCC wants to make it clear: Telephone companies can – and in fact should – offer consumers robocall-blocking tools," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a blog post. In the past some carriers we concerned that blocking automated calls could be construed as violations of the TCPA that requires them to ensure that all calls placed over their networks reach their intended recipients.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Feds want terabit-speed optical SDN-based system

A branch in the US Department of Energy want to take software-defined network technology and combine it with a high-speed underlying optical system that will be capable of supporting large scientific applications.+More on Network World: What network technology is going to shake up your WAN?+Specifically the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research in the Office of Science at the U.S. DOE said that networks are becoming too complicated to manage and control, especially as they provide critical support for sophisticated distributed extreme-scale science activities and Big Data-intensive scientific collaborations.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Feds want terabit-speed optical SDN-based system

A branch in the US Department of Energy want to take software-defined network technology and combine it with a high-speed underlying optical system that will be capable of supporting large scientific applications.+More on Network World: What network technology is going to shake up your WAN?+Specifically the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research in the Office of Science at the U.S. DOE said that networks are becoming too complicated to manage and control, especially as they provide critical support for sophisticated distributed extreme-scale science activities and Big Data-intensive scientific collaborations.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Hot stuff: The coolest drones

DronesImage by Northrop Grumman/Chad Slattery/Handout via ReutersThe world of drones – military and public – is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up with the changes. Here we take a look at some of the most recent advancements, such as getting drones to fly as a group, deliver orders in restaurants and take advanced technology into space. Read on:To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Hot stuff: The coolest drones

DronesImage by Northrop Grumman/Chad Slattery/Handout via ReutersThe world of drones – military and public – is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up with the changes. Here we take a look at some of the most recent advancements, such as getting drones to fly as a group, deliver orders in restaurants and take advanced technology into space. Read on:To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Energy Dept. wants big wind energy technology in all 50 states

Bigger wind turbines and towers are just part of what the United States needs to more effectively use wind energy in all 50 states. That was the basic thrust of a future wind energy call to arms report called “Enabling Wind Power nationwide” issued this week by the Department of Energy which details new technology that can reach higher into the sky to capture more energy and more powerful turbines to generate more gigawatts.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

NASA details bleeding edge communications ideas

Some of the “revolutionary concepts” NASA detailed this week in its 2015 Technology Roadmaps sound like they are straight out of James Bond’s Q Branch – the research division that creates all of the super-agent’s really cool technology.Amongst the myriad concepts outlined in the Roadmaps – which lay out the new technologies and directions NASA hopes will steer its aeronautics, science and human exploration missions for the next 20 years -- were six high-risk high-reward technologies the space agency says are so “far out” that exactly how they would be developed is a not clear yet, NASA said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

FAA: Big tech challenges for massive Washington, DC warbirds flyover

It will be one of the largest gatherings of flying WWII aircraft in history as 56 famous vintage warbirds will fly through restricted airspace over the National Mall Friday in remembrance of the 70th anniversary of VE-Day or Victory in Europe Day.The huge flyover, dubbed the “The Arsenal of Democracy,” of so many different types of aircraft – from seaplanes to fighters and the only flying B-29 Superfortress – was no easy undertaking. Reuters P-38 Lightning (right); P-51 (left)To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here