Apple cancels preexisting military drone Pentagon contract after acquiring AI company

Apple | January 30, 2020

Less than three weeks after quietly acquiring artificial intelligence company Xnor.ai, Apple has swiftly canceled the company’s preexisting contract with the Pentagon that would have seen its tech used in the controversial “Project Maven” military drone operation. That’s according to a report from The Information, citing a person familiar with the matter. Project Maven is the Pentagon’s initiative to use artificial intelligence to identify objects and targets of interest in aerial footage captured by military drones. The project has been highly controversial due to the potential for AI to presumably identify and label potential targets. Thousands of employees at Google staged protests last year over the company’s contracts for Project Maven. Those protests ultimately lead to Google withdrawing from the contract.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

VAST Federal and Mercury Systems Collaborate to Build Ruggedized Ceres Platform for Military and Defense Operations at the Edge

VAST Federal | April 13, 2022

VAST Federal, a VAST Data subsidiary providing government agencies with mission-ready data platform solutions, announced a collaboration with Mercury Systems, a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, to deliver rugged, high-performance storage solutions for edge-based data capture and AI computing. Mercury’s upcoming rugged data storage systems will be based on Ceres, VAST Data’s next-generation storage platform concept, and will be purpose built to meet the unique size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements in the space-constrained platforms typical in land, sea, air, space and cyberspace deployments, where every inch and every ounce matters. Mercury’s new data storage systems will improve performance and simplify serviceability at the edge by using advanced hardware technologies including NVIDIA BlueField DPUs (data processing units), ruler-based hyperscale flash drives and storage-class memory. The addition of a ruggedized hardware enclosure allows VAST and its industry team members to satisfy the data flow demands of C5ISR (Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) to achieve ultimate situational awareness from Edge Environments to Ground Station to Centralized Command and Control. Universal Storage protects data throughout the entire C5ISR system so that commanders and their personnel can have reliable and secure access to the data that informs their mission. Additional details on the benefits of the rugged data solutions with Universal Storage will include: High Performance for Mission-Critical Edge Workloads. With Universal Storage as the software foundation, systems deliver the ultimate in data center-class, exabyte-scale network-attached storage (NAS) for edge workloads, empowering military and security personnel to quickly capture and analyze data for real-time response when faced with national security situations. The Universal Storage data platform is a PCIe Gen4 storage system that maximizes GPU utilization for inference at the edge, accelerating AI applications that run directly on field devices for faster decision making. Additionally, having data processed locally reduces the risk of data being intercepted while in transit to the cloud. Ease of Serviceability While Maintaining System Uptime. Mercury is designing the system so that everything is front serviceable–ruler SSDs, NVIDIA BlueField DPUs and SCM drives–and can easily be accessed when deployed in a plane, helicopter, submarine or other space constrained environments. Universal Storage software lays the foundation for a much more resilient architecture where failures and maintenance are non-disruptive to system operation. Meets Defense Industry’s SWaP Requirements. Whether on land, at sea, in the air, or in space, the system hardware architecture will combine with VAST’s efficiency codes to meet the SWaP requirements of edge computing — packing petabytes of data into SWaP-constrained environments. The solution will also support DC power and will perform in extreme conditions, such as high altitude and humidity levels or environments with heavy vibrations. Enhanced Data Protection for Fast Backup and Restore. To safeguard confidential data against all threats, edge computing systems must have built-in mechanisms to help prevent data losses and breaches, even in the most remote locations. Universal Storage delivers accelerated edge dataset backups with rapid recovery for mission-critical data and applications. The Indestructible Snapshots feature in VAST’s Universal Storage prevents critical backup copies and snapshots from being altered or destroyed when in a hostile environment. Our software-based approach allows us to team with best-of-breed technology providers like Mercury to reimagine the storage footprint for a variety of workloads at the edge, including sensor processing, AI and data analytics. This collaboration strengthens VAST’s commitment to place software at the heart of modern data infrastructure, and enables actionable insights from multiple field locations that can be sent back to Centralized Command and Control for deeper analysis and long-term data preservation.” Randy Hayes, Vice President, Public Sector of VAST Data Federal “Teaming with VAST Federal aligns well with our approach of rapidly integrating the latest-generation commercial technologies in order to future-proof A&D solutions and push server-class processing to the tactical edge,” said Dusty Kramer, Vice President and General Manager, Mercury Systems Edge business unit. “Mercury-VAST rugged data Universal Storage solutions combined with our ruggedized Intel® and GPU-based servers enable deployments in distributed, space-constrained locations with SWaP-enhanced efficiency, while facilitating AI and data analytics compute power at the edge to ensure crew safety and provide advanced threat assessment.” About VAST Federal VAST Federal, a subsidiary of VAST Data headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, helps the federal government modernize data center infrastructure with a unified all-flash platform called VAST Universal Storage. VAST Federal’s broad understanding of U.S. government contracts, security requirements, and architectural needs for real-time analytics models brings a new approach to the era of AI computing. About VAST Data VAST Data’s managed storage software unlocks the value of data and modernizes data centers, ushering in the era of AI computing. VAST delivers real-time access to all data and overcomes the historic cost barriers to building all-flash data centers. Since its launch in February 2019, VAST has become the fastest-selling infrastructure startup in history. About Mercury Systems, Inc. –Innovation that Matters Mercury Systems is a global commercial technology company serving the aerospace and defense industry. Headquartered in Andover, Mass., the company delivers trusted, secure open architecture processing solutions powering a broad range of mission-critical applications in the most challenging and demanding environments. Inspired by its purpose of delivering Innovation that Matters, By and For People Who Matter, Mercury helps make the world a safer, more secure place for all.

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GOVERNMENT FINANCE

City of Peekskill, NY selects Springbrook Software's cloud based Cirrus fully integrated local government ERP financial platform

Springbrook Software | December 21, 2021

Springbrook Software, a leading cloud-based ERP platform provider for local government agencies today announces that the City of Peekskill, New York has selected Springbrook's Cirrus Cloud platform to run its agency's entire financial and administrative operations. The City selected Springbrook over another regional software provider as part of a modernization initiative. Peekskill acquired Springbrook's Finance, Property Tax, Payroll, Fixed Assets, Purchase Orders and Accounts Receivable modules. All modules are delivered on a single, integrated platform which enables data to flow accurately and in real-time across all departmental units within the City, thereby ensuring accuracy, efficiency and transparency of information. "We started down the path of selecting an ERP system that enabled us to run our municipality from a single platform and found, through trial and error with another vendor, that Springbrook was the best alternative in the marketplace. We needed to get all our data into one single platform, and Springbrook's modern, cloud based Cirrus solution was the right answer for us." Matt Alexander, Finance Director for the City of Peekskill "The efficiency, data security and scalability of Springbrook's software means our entire back-office process is in sync," he added. "This accuracy and speed will help us respond to our commissioner requests and citizen needs with confidence." "The City of Peekskill's modernization vision is something that many local governments across the country are going through right now. A vital part of becoming a 21st century-ready city includes modernizing the technology backbone from which the city runs its core functions. Springbrook is proud to help the City of Peekskill make that transformation a success" said Robert Bonavito, CEO of Springbrook. About The City of Peekskill, NY The City of Peekskill is a thriving, historic community located on the banks of the Hudson River. Just under one hour north of New York City, Peekskill is culturally and economically vibrant, and it is blessed with abundant natural resources due to its location on the river and at the gateway to the Hudson Highlands. About Springbrook Software Springbrook Software is the country's leading cloud-based finance and administration software provider designing solutions specifically for small to medium sized local government agencies. More than 1700 cities, towns and districts from coast to coast use our suite of modern, high-performance solutions to manage their finances, payroll, utility billing and collect citizen payments. Springbrook is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with regional presence in Washington, New York and Massachusetts.

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CYBERSECURITY

XOR Security Awarded $31.4 Million Task Order to Provide Cyber Operations System Support for the United States Patent and Trademark Office

XOR Security | May 25, 2022

XOR Security LLC (XOR) recently announced that it won a $31.4 million single-award task order to provide Cybersecurity Operations Support Services to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) within the Department of Commerce. The USPTO Office of the Chief Information Officer [OCIO] delivers information and technology to enable innovation, and these services are critical to USPTO's ability to achieve its mission, goals, and objectives, and its Cybersecurity Division (CD) is responsible for all aspects of USPTO Information Technology Security. These include leading and operating a state-of- the art security operations center, which manages responses to a wide range of security and system performance indicators on USPTO's information systems, network infrastructure, and software systems. Under this task order awarded by USPTO under General Services Administration (GSA) Highly Adaptive Cybersecurity Service (HACS) as a full and open opportunity, XOR will provide services typically associated with cybersecurity operations programs, and will help USPTO to ensure program alignment with Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, Executive Order (EO) 13800. Award of this task order does not constitute an endorsement by USPTO of XOR. XOR is committed to supporting our federal government agencies who face evolving cyber threats from a dynamic set of actors. We have over a decade of experience developing and supporting cyber operations and engineering platforms which enables us to deliver the most advanced technology and cybersecurity solutions for our customers." Razwan Raja, XOR Founder and Principal Wasif Shakeel, XOR Partner for Cyber Operations, added, "XOR is very excited to kick this project off. I want to thank USPTO for placing their trust in us and give special thanks to our entire team for their hard work leading up to this contract award." About XOR Security XOR Security is a small business leader delivering Security Operations, Security Engineering, Cyber Analytics, Cyber Intelligence, and Cyber Offense services across a portfolio of approximately 30 federal and commercial cybersecurity programs, including six Security Operations Centers which we currently lead as Prime contractor. Our highly technical cyber operations and engineering professionals are on the front lines of the cyber battlefield, helping to protect our nation's critical infrastructure. The greatest risk is the one that goes unseen. At XOR Security, we shed light on the shadows.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Israel's Ministry of Defense Selects Anjuna Security Software to Lockdown Sensitive Data in Public Clouds

Anjuna | February 17, 2022

Anjuna Security Inc., the Confidential Cloud company, today announced that Israel's Ministry of Defense (MOD) has entered into the public cloud for the first time with Anjuna's software, which offers the strongest data security available. With Anjuna Confidential Cloud software, the MOD can leverage Confidential Computing features available in cloud servers that eliminate exposure of data in use to insiders, malicious software and bad actors. Sensitive data and applications remain fully encrypted with Anjuna– without the need for any software modifications–and stay isolated and in full control of the MOD. The decision from the Israeli MOD represents a critical milestone for far greater adoption of the public cloud by organizations in regulated industries or those with highly sensitive data. To date, many companies and government organizations have held back from the public cloud because of security concerns and control issues. The stringent testing and subsequent selection by the MOD signals that with the widely available Confidential Computing technology already in cloud infrastructure and software from Anjuna, the public cloud is now secure enough for organizations with the strictest level of security and regulation. "With Anjuna Confidential Cloud software, we are able to leverage Confidential Computing to achieve public cloud scale, agility and economics and maximum data security immediately, without having to recode or refactor applications," said the Infrastructure Cloud Group Leader for the IMOD. "This will allow us to quickly move important workloads across public clouds without compromising the high level of security necessary to achieve our mission." Confidential Computing is the hardware-based capability that public cloud vendors, including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, have added to their servers to enable customers to secure data at runtime when it would otherwise be exposed. Protecting data and applications during execution closes a gap that effectively shuts out unauthorized personnel and creates a trusted environment within the public cloud that is under the control of the customer. Israel's MOD, which oversees most of the Israeli security forces and is responsible for the overall security of the Israeli nation, including the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), assigned a red team to conduct a thorough evaluation of the Anjuna Confidential Cloud software, using compute-intensive AI workloads as the initial application. Test considerations included the ability to secure against rogue or accidental insiders, third parties, criminal hackers and nation-states. The solution also had to be commercially available now, run across multiple cloud platforms and make both migrating applications and administration simple. In addition to fully securing workloads in public clouds without modification, the Anjuna Confidential Cloud software is attractive to the MOD because it provides a single, uniform encryption platform that protects all three states of data: storage, transit and execution. With Anjuna, organizations do not need to rely on the many different encryption schemes for each application and system, which causes undue confusion and complexity. The Confidential Cloud software provides a consistent data perimeter that also eliminates the risk of exposing encryption keys during runtime. "Israel's Ministry of Defense is among the most advanced and stringent security organizations in the world, so it is a tremendous advantage for them to now be able to turn public clouds into fully trusted environments capable of securely processing sensitive data. With Anjuna, it is both feasible and practical to make the public cloud at least as secure as private infrastructure. We are proud to add the IMOD as a customer." Ayal Yogev, co-founder, and CEO of Anjuna Anjuna Confidential Cloud software makes the use of Confidential Computing transparent to applications and operations, enabling their use without modification. It supports all applications, regardless of size or computational task. With Confidential Computing, companies can secure highly sensitive data, such as state secrets, AI code, intelligence and security details, personally identifiable information (PII), financial information and intellectual property. About Anjuna Anjuna Security makes the public cloud secure for business. Software from Anjuna Security effortlessly enables enterprises to safely run even their most sensitive workloads in the public cloud. Unlike complex perimeter security solutions easily breached by insiders and malicious code, Anjuna leverages the strongest hardware-based secure computing technologies available to make the public cloud the safest computing resource available anywhere. Anjuna is based in Palo Alto, California.

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