Richard Forno on Cyber Attacks on State Facilities

umbc-faculty-Rick-FornoRichard Forno was interviewed by the Associated Press about cyber attacks on the rise in Utah.

“Utah state officials have seen what they describe as a sharp uptick in attempts to hack into state computers in the last two years, and they think it related to the NSA data center south of Salt Lake City,”

wrote the Associated Press.

“Maybe these hackers are thinking: ‘If we can attack state systems, we can get info that NSA isn’t releasing,”

said Richard Forno.

Where does this leave Utah? Forno and Tim Junio, a cybersecurity researcher at Stanford University, say that the NSA data center may interest hackers who think they can get to the NSA by targeting state-run facilities that power the center.




Richard Forno on Cybersecurity and Government Accountability

Richard Forno, assistant director for UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity, made an
appearance on All Sides With Ann Fisher, a public radio program broadcast out of
umbc-faculty-Rick-FornoColumbus, Ohio to discuss cybersecurity and corporate accountability. Mandy Trimble was sitting in for Fisher. Guests along with Forno were: Joseph Marks, a cybersecurity reporter for Politico Pro, and Dakota Rudesill, an assistant professor of law at the Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University.

Trimble posed the question to Forno, should we implement corporate accountability in the event of cybersecurity breaches. Forno said, there is the “practicality of accountability,” because “problems like this [cybersecurity breaches] are quite likely to occur.”

“Would we “hold someone accountable for a traffic jam on the way to work?”

“It happens,” he said.

Listen to the program

Dave Marcotte, School of Public Policy, in The Conversation

As many states across the country have dealt with significant snowfall over the last two months, school districts have been forced to shut down for several days. School of Public Policy professor Dave Marcotte has conducted extensive research on the impact of snow days on student learning, and published an article in The Conversation about the work he has done with his colleagues.

Dave Marcotte“Research shows that fewer school days do reduce student performance, especially for the more disadvantaged students. Evidence from previous winters also shows that more days in school do, in fact, improve achievement for American students overall, something that has been hard to accomplish in recent times,” Marcotte wrote.

In his article, Marcotte referenced studies in Minnesota, Maryland, Colorado, and Massachusetts that have found in years with especially bad winters, there is a significant impact on scores and pass rates.

Marcotte also discussed why it’s possible decisions haven’t been made in states to increase the length of the school year: “…the most substantial obstacle to extending the school year is money. Re-constituting the school year means re-negotiating teacher and staff contracts, paying for extended use of buses and buildings, and in many cases retrofitting schools to include air conditioning to operate into the hot months of summer. Indeed, these costs led Oregon to repeal the provision to extend the school year of the 1991 Education Act for the 21st Century.”

To read Marcotte’s full article titled “Schools close and kids lose,” click here.

Rebecca Adelman, Media and Communication Studies, in The Conversation

Rebecca AdelmanIn the wake of Brian Williams’ six-month suspension from NBC News, Rebecca Adelman offered a fresh perspective on the story and argued that Williams’ actions were more complex than their first appearance on the surface.

Adelman, an assistant professor of media and communication studies, wrote an article for The Conversation in which she examined public reactions to Williams’ false claims about his experience reporting in Iraq and how they spoke to the way military service is valued in American culture: “…I’d suggest instead that Williams inadvertently revealed something about the profoundly contradictory place military service occupies in American culture,” Adelman wrote.

In her article, Adelman discussed how the automatic nature of public gratitude for military service in the United States makes it easy to mistake its origins.

“The Williams story revealed how readily, and convincingly, such attachments can be fabricated. Indeed, he explained his wrongdoings in terms of bewildered appreciation. It all started, he said in his apology, ‘in an effort to honor and thank’ the man who had protected him. This turned, he admitted, into a ‘bungled attempt … to thank one special veteran’ of the many who have his ‘greatest respect.'”

She added: “The public anger at Williams, in other words, may be rooted in something more than his deceitfulness. What may be upsetting us is his very visible failure to perform what many see as the purest expression of good citizenship – thanking the military.”

To read the full article titled “Brian Williams, the military and American culture, click here.

Biology and Batteries

In the quest to make a better battery Evgenia Barannikova, a graduate student at UMBC in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, has isolated a peptide, a small sequence of amino acids, which binds to lithium manganese nickel oxide (LMNO), a material that can be used to make high performance batteries.


“Biology provides several tools for us to solve important problems,” said Evgenia Barannikova, a graduate student at UMBC. Barannikova works in the lab of Mark Allen and studies how biological molecules in general can improve the properties of  in batteries. “By mimicking biological processes we can find the better solution,” she told

Read more at: 
Scientific American

John Rennie Short, Public Policy, in The Conversation

In light of the recent significant snowfall across parts of the Northeast, School of Public Policy professor John Rennie Short wrote an article for The Conversation in which he analyzed the impact of climate change on extreme weather events.

John Rennie ShortIn referencing the 60 inches of snow that fell in 30 days on Boston and parts of the wider region, Short wrote: “This is the new normal for weather in the US. Global climate change increases the chances that the once-a-century event is now a once-every-twenty-years occurrence. The country is now experiencing more severe weather events: long droughts in the Southwest, destructive wildfires in the West, and more intense hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.”

In his article, Short discussed urban planning and climate adaptation and the value of publicly funded services, among other topics.

“Immediately after a storm, there is public outcry for more and better emergency responses, but these priorities quickly move to the back of the line of government priorities as the event passes from memory. We are not good at using public monies for extreme, irregular events,” Short wrote. “Major weather events also expose the recurring dilemma of balancing public concerns with private interest. The shift of the past forty years towards private interests is embodied in the desire for small government, reducing taxation and shrinking the public sector.”

To read the full article titled “Extreme weather exposes the vulnerability of our cities to climate change,” click here.

Carlo DiClemente, Psychology, in the Baltimore Sun

In the wake of three hit-and-run accidents in the Baltimore region, the Baltimore Sun recently published an article addressing the question of what leads someone to flee an accident where another person may have suffered harm?

Carlo DiClemente

Psychology professor Carlo DiClemente was quoted in the article and discussed how alcohol, a factor in about 30 percent of traffic fatalities nationally, can amplify emotions of fear, shame, and guilt which overwhelm self-control.

“Rational decision-making is clearly difficult in an intoxicated state, particularly as blood-alcohol levels increase,” said DiClemente. “Fear and escape motivations kick in and, without good executive functioning, make flight more probable.”

DiClemente, who researches addictive behavior, was recently appointed to the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The council advises and makes recommendations to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) secretary, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) director on research program and policy matters in the field of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. For more information, click here.

To read the full article in the Baltimore Sun, click here.