The Vaporstream Blog

"The Current"

Financial Services

We assume that if a website has a security certificate—indicated by an address that begins with “https” and (typically) that little padlock icon next to it—then the website is safe. It isn’t potentially malicious or trying to install malware or steal personal information. Until recently, if a site didn’t have a security certificate it was a red flag. But now hackers are using that very security certificate to trick users into thinking a malicious website is safe—and they’re specifically targeting the finance industry.

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Energy

Two weeks ago, the ExxonMobil complex in Baytown, Texas caught fire after a petrochemical unit exploded. This was the latest in a series of incidents at petrochemical units in the area: in March and April a series of fires occurred at the same ExxonMobil complex and nearby petrochemical storage facilities, releasing pollutants. Harris County, the county where these facilities are located, conducted an analysis of how local agencies and officials were responding to these incidents. As a result, the county decided to focus on improving communications during incident response—specifically, improving communications between agencies responding to the incidents and keeping the public informed.

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Privacy

Just last week, several security experts raised concerns over the potential for content monitoring on WhatsApp. This specific fear turned out to be unfounded, but the larger concern behind it—that free consumer tools don’t guarantee your privacy—is becoming increasingly relevant.

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Incident Response

With over 106 million customers and applicants’ personal data exposed, the Capital One breach is one of the biggest breaches of a financial institution in US history. A former employee of Amazon’s cloud-computing unit was able to exploit a vulnerability in Capital One's cloud service provider AWS,exposing some 140,000 Social Security Numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers of US customers.

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Energy

The US nuclear industry’s safety record is stellar, in part thanks to NRC regulations that arose from Three Mile Island. But complying with NRC regulations is costly: annual ongoing regulatory costs can range from $7.4 million to $15.5 million per plant and can have significant impact on plants and companies’ profitability—with regulatory costs in some cases exceeding profit margins. But while complying with NRC regulations is necessary, the high costs don’t have to be. Nuclear plants can easily and cost-effectively meet NRC regulations with streamlinedemergency preparedness plans that rapidly address events while reducing potential for error.

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