Author Archive

Kevin McCaney

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.
Digital Government

NGA joins SpaceNet satellite imagery initiative

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is joining a private-sector consortium that applies enhanced automation to geospatial intelligence.

Emerging Tech

Army to build drone airport in Texas

The Army’s Corps of Engineers has awarded a $33 million contract to SGS to build an airport for the Gray Eagle and Shadow UAVs at Fort Bliss in Texas.


Microsoft issues fix for zero-day IE flaw

The vulnerability in all supported versions of Windows has been exploited in watering hole attacks against targeted victims.

Digital Government

Prisons turn to analytics software for parole decisions

Risk assessment programs weigh factors beyond the traditional considerations of parole boards and seem to be having an effect.

Digital Government

NIH backs 3 projects to create medical co-robots

In its latest round of grants under the National Robotics Initiative, the agency is funding projects that could have bigger rewards down the road.


Military, NASA other agencies hit in series of attacks

A U.K. hacker has been charged with breaching thousands of U.S. networks over the past year, including systems run by the Army, NASA, EPA and other agencies.


State health exchanges outpace

As flounders, some of the health insurance exchanges that states established have been running smoothly.

Digital Government What went wrong?

The federal health care exchange website was forced into action by a hard deadline, despite bloated code and failed tests. What can agencies learn from the launch?

Digital Government

EPA site taps a deep well of water data

The How's My Waterway website and mobile app delivers easy-to-find, plain-language information on the condition of the nation's waters, drawn from the depths of EPA's technical databases.

Digital Government

Visual analytics app gives police a nearly omniscient view

Purdue University researchers' VALET combines crime, traffic, geospatial, weather and other data on one screen for real-time situational awareness and predictive capabilities.


Meltdowns zap NSA's giant new data center

Surges caused by arc fault failures have melted equipment and will delay operations at the $1.5 billion center for a year.

Digital Government

Shutdown fallout: Government online like it's 1999

Staff cutbacks as a result of the federal government shutdown have put agency websites into the Wayback Machine.

Digital Government

NOAA puts 170 years of hurricane history into one interactive site

Historical Hurricane Tracks lets users customize their searches and shows the tracks of hurricanes around the globe as far back as 1842, along with details on each storm.


Suspect NIST crypto standard long thought to have a back door

The agency is advising against using an elliptic curve algorithm adopted in 2006 that has concerned cryptographers from the beginning.


Forensics tool makes sure investigators don't come up empty

CyanLine's Fast Disk Acquisition System gives forensics teams a real-time preview of what's on a drive, including whether it's set to prevent copying.


Is the new iPhone's fingerprint scanner a sign of things to come?

If opened to app developers, Apple's Touch ID could give another authentication option to agencies looking to manage mobile devices, especially if other smartphone manufacturers follow suit.


A better way for supercomputers to search large data sets

Scientists at Berkeley lab develop "distributed merge trees" that let researchers take advantage of massively parallel architectures to sift through the noise and find what they're looking for.

Digital Government

Support for XP will extend past April 2014 -- for a price

Agencies that haven't moved completely off of Windows XP by the April 2014 deadline could still get some patches, but it will cost them. Is doing nothing an option?


University cybersecurity: Different, but still the same

Academic environments are built around sharing information, but securing their networks — and the mobile devices that use them — calls for the same layered approach other organizations use.

Digital Government

NASA builds FAA software to reduce flight delays

The agency's prototype software automates the process of managing ground traffic, letting air traffic controllers set takeoff times that are accurate to within seconds.