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by Alex Koma June 12, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

Arlington voters can rest easy that Tuesday’s primary contest will be safe from cyberattacks, as local and federal election officials alike tout the county’s sound methods for counting ballots.

County election administrators welcomed a contingent from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security today (June 12), who swung by to study how Arlington is managing its voting technology as the threat of foreign meddling continues to loom large ahead of the fall’s midterms.

County Registrar Linda Lindberg touted her office’s “practical and low-key approach” during the visit, noting that the county uses paper ballots for all its elections. Though it may seem like an antiquated approach in the age of smartphones, election security experts have increasingly urged localities to abandon electronic voting machines in favor of having a paper record of all ballots cast, should intruders find a way to breach their systems and attempt to alter vote totals.

“Arlington takes a very pragmatic and a keep-it-simple approach,” Chris Krebs, a senior DHS official focusing on cybersecurity, told reporters. “We need to continue that trend toward a voter-verifiable paper trail… That’s the progress that we’re seeing nationwide.”

Krebs says he’s spent the last few months making similar trips and sitting down with state and local officials to make sure they understand the cybersecurity risks associated with voting technology. He added that federal officials are hoping to offer any help they can to localities struggling with securing their systems, though he noted that Arlington doesn’t need much in the way of resources.

Lindberg says her office has all manner of “checks and balances” throughout the process of testing vote-counting machines to insure that nothing was amiss before voters started showing up at the polls. She also noted that she’s set up a robust screening system for “spear phishing” attacks, after would-be hackers targeted elections officials in other states to try and trick them into clicking on fraudulent emails, giving them access to election systems.

“Arlington County actually has very strong, stringent controls in terms of the phishing attacks we’ve seen, mostly through emails,” Lindberg said. “We have good training, good screening of spam emails. In fact, important emails sometimes end up in my spam folder so you have to go back and look at that sort of thing.”

By and large, however, Krebs says DHS hasn’t seen the same sort of attacks on election officials that they did ahead of the 2016 election. But with intelligence leaders continuing to warn that Russian operatives could very well try to interfere with the midterms as a preamble to the presidential race in 2020, Krebs also doesn’t want to see local officials let their guard down.

“Even though we haven’t seen any activity the way we did in 2016 with direct threats to election infrastructure, we don’t need that direct threat,” Krebs said. “We take this issue very seriously.”

by Anna Merod March 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm 0

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Several Arlington startups, including Clarendon-based Adlumin, attended the SXSW conference on technology, music culture and film more than a week ago in Austin, Texas.

Adlumin, a cybersecurity company that uses machine learning to track client behavior and sends alerts for suspicious activity, participated in an AED-organized panel called “War Games: From Battlefield to Ballot Box.” The discussion touched on innovations and changes in the industry.

The discussion touched on innovations and changes in the industry, including trends in how cyber attacks are being perpetrated that panelists have encountered. Adlumin’s CEO Robert Johnston was on the panel for his experience dealing with the cyber attacks in 2016 on the Democratic National Committee.

“[Rob’s] seen it go from really a complete use of malware to get into a network to now it’s really on more stealing credentials,” said Timothy Evans, co-founder and VP of business development of Adlumin. “It’s more along the lines of what nation states are doing to hack into networks. Your regular criminal hacker is acting much more like a nation state,”

 “That is a real question — I think the U.S. citizens, we’re really concerned about what we’re doing to stop interference next year or this year in 2018,” he said, adding that there were at least six questions regarding efforts to prevent Russia from meddling in the 2018 midterms.

Andrea Limbago, chief social scientist at Endgame, a different cybersecurity company for enterprises also based in Clarendon, held a talk called “Bots, Trolls, Warriors & The Path Ahead” at SXSW. She discussed the intersection of policy and innovation needed to fight the bots and trolls.

Limbago said that the audience at her talk was engaging, which is something that she doesn’t always experience at tech conferences.

“It’s great having a growing tech community in Arlington, and then representing that out here [in Austin],” Limbago said.

Several other Arlington businesses were at SXSW, including Axios, Trustify, and Fortalice, said Cara O’Donnell, Arlington Economic Development’s public relations director.

Photo courtesy of Endgame

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday, March 13

Trivia Night: Are you smarter than a Catholic sister?*
Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6:30-9 p.m.

Test your pop culture and general knowledge against a team of Catholic Sisters, with drink specials and free appetizers. Prizes for top trivia teams.

Wednesday, March 14

Shaping Arlington for a Smart & Secure Future*
County Board Room (2100 Clarendon Blvd)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

Listen to a panel discussion on how technology will shape Arlington, featuring government and cybersecurity experts. A reception with light refreshments will also be held.

Arlington Committee of 100 Virginia Hospital Center Expansion*
Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

The Committee of 100 is hosting a panel discussion on Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion, the county’s population growth and evolving community healthcare needs. Optional dinner served.

Thursday, March 15

Parenting Lecture: Parenting an Anxious Child
The Sycamore School (4600 N. Fairfax Drive)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Dr. Christine Golden will discuss the challenges of parenting a child with anxiety and offer some helpful strategies for managing behaviors. The lecture is free to attend.

Friday, March 16

St. Agnes Soup Supper*
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.

The church will offer meatless soups and a noodle dish, and more every Friday during the Lenten holiday. Guests are invited to stay for confession and the stations of the cross afterwards.

Saturday, March 17

Whitlow’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 9 a.m. – Close

Live Irish music and an open rooftop welcome you at Whitlow’s On Wilson’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Special Irish menu and March Madness games on the TVs all day.

WJAFC Open Day*
Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street)
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

A co-ed, free clinic to learn the Australian football game. Kids from 5-15 will learn starting at 9 a.m., with an adults clinic and co-ed non-contact game at 10:30 a.m.

Guinness and Gold*
Ten at Clarendon (3110 10th Street N.)
Time: 12-5 p.m.

Tour the Clarendon apartment building with a free Guinness and cash in on leasing deals. Leasing specials are subject to terms and conditions.

Wine Dinner*
Osteria da Nino (2900 S. Quincy Street)
Time: 6:30-10:30 p.m.

Join Tre Monti winery over a four course meal with five wines, including theThea Passito 2012 Romagna Albana DOCG raisin wine. Tickets are $75 per person.

Yorktown High School Presents “Almost, Maine”*
Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Boulevard)
Time: 7-9:30 p.m.

Students will be performing John Cariani’s “Almost Maine,” about a remote, mythical town and the effect of the northern lights on the lovestruck residents. Tickets are $10.

Sunday, March 18

St. Joseph’s Table Celebration
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 1-4 p.m.

Join the church following the noon mass for a procession to celebrate this feast day with a potluck lunch, live music, and a kids woodworking shop.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Katie Pyzyk January 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Startup Monday header
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Cybersecurity currently is a frequently discussed but often misunderstood field. At Adlumin, though, it’s a well-understood topic that’s more than just a buzzword. The employees design solutions to identify and prevent potential breaches in clients’ networks.

Adlumin logoCybersecurity is a broad term, but the Adlumin team targets what co-founder and VP of business development Timothy Evans calls “the Edward Snowden problem,” when a seemingly authorized user enters part of the network they’re not allowed to access.

“I realized that corporate breaches were continuing to succeed because attackers were able to steal the identities of employees and use that identity to attack the infrastructure as if they were that person,” said Adlumin president and CEO Robert Johnston. “The problem we set out to solve is the identity access and management piece.”

A small breach such as a user figuring out a computer password can compromise an entire business structure because the illegitimate user often gains access to other accounts with locally-saved passwords, such as Gmail or Twitter.

“Eventually [an intruder can] end up with the keys to the entire kingdom and they can literally access any system or cloud resource they want,” Johnston said.

That’s what happened during the Democratic National Committee hack last year when more than 100 users’ private email accounts were accessed, Johnston said. He led the response effort to the DNC breach and said those hackers “were able to access the system as if they were a user.”

Adlumin team membersAdlumin’s software can “see” and monitor every single user on a client’s network, even on a global scale. It incorporates user behavior analytics — which Johnston said not all cybersecurity companies deal with — to determine if a network is in danger.

“Rob decided we needed to solve a hard problem, which is to find intruders in a network. They don’t use things like malware or ransomware, they’re in the network and they look like your legitimate users,” Evans said. “There’s only one way to find them and that’s based on their behavior patterns to determine whether they’re a real user or a fake user.”

Adlumin’s software monitors a business’ network 24/7 to detect changes in user behaviors. Evans explained that it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to continuously update information about user habits. If the software detects a potential anomaly, it sends an alert. Think of it like a credit card company tracking a card user’s spending habits and sending a warning notification when an odd purchase occurs.

In addition to providing the monitoring software, Adlumin manages customers’ cyber infrastructure and training.

Clarendon-based Adlumin incorporated in June 2016 and was assisted by the Herndon-based Mach37 cybersecurity business incubator. It now has five full-time employees and plans further expansion this year.

“The Washington, D.C. metro area, and specifically Arlington, is an awesome place to do this business,” Evans said.

Noting the proximity to the country’s top intelligence agencies, Johnston said there’s “a lot of untapped human capital in this area” for cybersecurity.

As far as what’s in store for the future, Johnston said the Adlumin team will continue updating its software algorithms and wants to “dominate the identity and access management piece” of cybersecurity.

by ARLnow.com December 9, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Ballston time lapse photo (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Fmr. Arlington Resident John Glenn Dies — John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, has died at the age of 95. In an article first published in 2012, the Arlington Public Library blog recounted the five years that Glenn and his family lived on N. Harrison Street in Arlington. [Arlington Public Library]

Soon: Central Place Apartments, Restaurants — Residents are expected to start moving into the new Central Place apartment tower in Rosslyn at some point during the first three months of 2017. Restaurants coming to the ground floor of the building include Sweetgreen, Little Beet, Nando’s Peri-peri and McDonald’s, while Cava Grill and Compass Coffee has signed leases for the Central Place office tower. [Washington Business Journal]

Fort Myer Getting Drone Detector — Officials from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall said at a recent Arlington civic association meeting that the base is working to procure a drone detection system. The base commander said he’s worried about “miniaturized tools of terror, specifically drones carrying home-made bombs.” [Pentagram]

Video: Ovi Delivering Pizzas in Arlington — Okay, it’s just a commercial and didn’t really happen. But a new 30-second TV spot from Papa John’s imagines Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin delivering pizzas in Arlington in 2001 as he pursues a childhood dream to become “the best pizza delivery boy in the world.” [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

Local Startup Scores Big Military Contract — Clarendon-based cybersecurity firm Endgame has won a $18.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force. It’s believed to be “one of the largest endpoint protection software purchases in the Air Force’s history.” [Fedscoop]

Startups Recognized By County — Arlington County recognized four of the county’s fastest-growing companies this week as part of its second-annual “Fast Four” competition. The honorees were the Nicecream Factory ice cream shop in Arlington, Ballston-based Deep Learning Analytics, Clarendon consulting firm Enterprise Knowledge and Ballston-based software company Convoke. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Michelle Rosenfeld August 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Cybersecurity breaches cost companies billions of dollars each year, and according to research from IBM Security, the vast majority involve human error. Security training is the best way to combat such errors, but getting employees excited about cybersecurity can be a challenge.

“Like a great many businesses, Ataata was born out of a simple question,” said Michael Madon, CEO of the Arlington company. “After sitting through another series of security awareness training courses for my job, I wondered, ‘Why does security training have to be so long and boring?'”

“I realized that security awareness training doesn’t have to be miserable,” Madon added.

ataataThe name Ataata is a Maori word meaning “video” — and that’s just what the company offers. Ataata’s interactive security awareness videos are available through a data-driven online and mobile platform. The videos work with computers, smart phones and tablets, meeting employees on whatever device they use.

All industries are vulnerable to human error, but Madon said Ataata “is the antidote to human error” because it gives employees incentive to care about cybersecurity.

“Through innovative approaches to increasing employee engagement, Ataata will set the standard for awareness training and dramatically reduce risks of cyber breaches caused by human error while significantly lowering training and clean-up costs,” Madon said. “We do this through employing an interactive, gamified and data-driven training platform offering our clients an analytic engine that transforms engagement data into actionable information — replacing guess work with deep understanding.”

Madon PhotoMadon added, “we believe to maximize engagement, the experience should be compelling, informative, participatory [and] applicable. To that end, Ataata creates and curates interactive videos to boost engagement.”

Ataata users have a 90 percent cybersecurity training completion rate versus 50 percent for traditional cybersecurity training videos, Madon said. In addition, Madon said users are three times as engaged in Ataata videos than traditional videos, with longer view times, increased interactions and more sharing.

Just six months after launching, Ataata announced in late June that it closed its series seed preferred founding round led by ARRA Capital with participation from additional investors. Moving forward, the company plans to use funds to drive ongoing creative and technology development and bring its “best-in-class” proprietary content and software to market.

And how did Ataata end up in Arlington? “Arlington chose me,” Madon said. 

Madon was a founding member of Crystal City-based 1776, a global incubator and seed fund. He was looking for a space outside the District with a more cyber focus, and Arlington was an obvious choice.

by Adrian Cruz August 2, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

The Ballston office of Distil NetworksAn tech company with offices in Arlington has raised more than $21 million in its latest round of financing.

Distil Networks, a startup that wages war on online bots, announced the sum of its Series C fundraising period earlier today. The company said it has raised $65 million to date.

The firm will use the money to “bolster global marketing and sales efforts, strengthen core offerings, and double the current workforce over the next 12-18 months,” according to a press release.

Currently headquartered in San Francisco, Distil Networks builds tools to thwart malicious online bots that “are used by competitors, hackers and fraudsters and are the key culprits behind web scraping, account takeovers, competitive data mining, online fraud, and downtime,” the release said.

The company’s clients include Thomson Reuters, Yelp, Staples, easyJet and Stubhub.

More from the Distil Networks press release:

Distil Networks, Inc., the global leader in bot detection and mitigation, today announced that it has closed $21 million in Series C financing. The funding included participation from Silicon Valley Bank and existing venture investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Foundry Group, and TechStars. The new round brings Distil’s total funding to $65 million to date. The company plans to use the investment to bolster global marketing and sales efforts, strengthen core offerings, and double the current workforce over the next 12-18 months. 

Bad bots are used by competitors, hackers and fraudsters and are the key culprits behind web scraping, account takeovers, competitive data mining, online fraud, and downtime. Distil’s 2016 Bad Bot Landscape Report confirms that bots are gaining sophistication, finding that 88 percent of all bad bot traffic has one or more characteristics of an Advanced Persistent Bot (APB).

“As bots learn to better mimic human behavior and become harder to detect, solutions must innovate rapidly to thwart attacks,” said Rami Essaid, CEO and co-founder of Distil Networks. “Our investors understand the enormous challenge that web properties face when it comes to defending proprietary information while maintaining a positive user experience, and they have chosen to support Distil in our pursuit to create a safer web. With this round of funding, we are looking forward to building upon our momentum and continuing to lead the market with our advanced protection against bot activity.”

Since closing Series B financing in June of 2015, Distil has hit several key milestones, including:

Launching Distil API Security to reduce risk and downtime across critical API attack vectors.

Acquiring ScrapeSentry and their expert team of analysts to provide real-time, proactive website traffic analysis, customized reporting, and engineering assistance to enterprise customers.

Securing 100+ enterprise customers, including B&H Photo, Wayfair, and Glassdoor.

Expanding global reach with office opening in London and growing total employee headcount to 140, with built out teams in managed services, support, and data science.

“Since I joined the board of Distil, I’ve been continually impressed by the company’s ability to develop new products, streamline deployment, and exceed sales objectives,” said David Cowan, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “Naturally, I was eager to double down.”

Advanced Persistent Bots (APBs) have several advanced capabilities such as mimicking human behavior, loading JavaScript and external resources, cookie support, browser automation, and spoofing IP addresses and user agents. Their persistency aspect comes from their process for evading detection. For example, an APB might use 1000 IP addresses to make one request each, instead of one IP address to make 1000 requests, rendering impotent IP-centric defenses. According to Gartner, “fraudsters are also spreading their attacks over thousands of IP addresses — many of which are purposefully chosen to originate in locations that appear legitimate (for example, in the same geographic area that a target victim lives in). They are also slowing down their scripted attacks to move at the pace of an average human.”

by ARLnow.com December 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm 0

Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services web formArlington County has plugged a vulnerability in its automated services system for homeowners, after the vulnerability was brought to officials’ attention by ARLnow.com and a local IT services provider.

The vulnerability was in a phone system and website used by the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services to automate waste pickup scheduling and water service changes.

The phone system would allow a caller to enter either an account number or their address. When one entered an address, however, the system would then provide that homeowner’s name and account number.

With the account number, one could theoretically go online and shut off the home’s water service, or order a big pile of mulch to be delivered to their yard and billed to their account.

ARLnow.com tested the vulnerability and came one click away from sending a big mulch pile to the front yard of a national media personality who lives in Arlington. Through a spokeswoman, that individual declined to comment or be identified in this article.

Within a week of ARLnow.com notifying the county, the automated phone system had been taken offline — callers now only have the option of speaking to a customer service representative — and some account number fields were removed from online forms.

“Our approach is customer-focused and to make it convenient for residents to make service requests, order mulch and report problems through the County website or by telephone,” said Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “It is a philosophy our customers value based on their feedback.”

“To date, we have not had a problem with people misusing the system,” Baxter continued. “As with any system, we are always looking for ways to improve while balancing the needs of our customers. Thanks for bringing this matter to our attention.”

Alexander Chamandy, the founder of Arlington-based IT services firm Envescent, LLC, was the first to spot the vulnerability.

“I discovered this unauthorized information disclosure issue by accident when scheduling a curbside pickup with Arlington,” he said. “It was disconcerting that one’s account information, name, address and other details could be shared with an unauthorized party. Because identity theft and data breaches are on the rise I felt it was important to alert ARLnow.com and Arlington County.”

by Heather Mongilio October 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Terry McAuliffe speaks in front of Arlington DemocratsGov. Terry McAuliffe is going back to high school.

The Virginia governor will be speaking to students at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) about career paths in cybersecurity tomorrow, Oct. 28, from 1:15-3 p.m.

McAuliffe will be joined by a panel of cyber security professionals who will talk about the different jobs in cybersecurity as well as the resources students need to pursue a career.

“The nation is in need of a strong cybersecurity workforce. The demand for skilled cyber professionals is at an all-time high, and will only increase as our country and world grow more dependent on cyber and information technology,” Arlington Public Schools said in a statement.

The panelists will talk about the average day of a cybersecurity specialist, what interested them in a cyber career and how they got their start. They will also perform a Wi-Fi Watering Hole attack demonstration.

The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor September 15, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

Alex ChamandyThe following post is written and sponsored by Alexander G. Chamandy of Envescent, LLC, the IT services provider to ARLnow.com.

In April 2015, the SEC issued a Cybersecurity Guidance update for registered investment companies and investment advisers.

The guidelines provided best practices for mitigating information leakage risks and improving data security. Too often many smaller investment houses may not have knowledgeable staff to implement and manage cybersecurity policies.

The cornerstones of cybersecurity 

The best practices are shaped around four key principles: compartmentalization; encryption; restricting remote access; and, controlling the usage of devices that may compromise internal security. The most critical considerations set forth are:

  • Data encryption: Backups, portable computers, data that flows outside of the company;
  • Network and system firewalls: Both hardware and software firewalls for network endpoints and individual systems;
  • Restricting the use of removable storage media (e.g., flash drives);
  • Deploying software that monitors technology systems for unauthorized intrusions;
  • Network segregation to restrict access; and
  • “System hardening” with the purpose of ensuring individual systems are locked down against attack.

Create a plan and follow through with it

To accomplish these essentials, you need to put in place both a policy and budget for active cybersecurity, consistent with the size and technological complexity of the operation. The basic important thought is that every system, network appliance, server, Internet connection, remote office (and its equipment) as well as portable devices, backups and other areas where data is transmitted or stored will need individual attention by a knowledgeable cybersecurity expert.

Investment managers without the needed internal cybersecurity expertise typically seek help of an outside consultant to deal effectively with this critical issue, and minimize potential exposure. An outside opinion most likely will shed light on overlooked but critical areas – such as the firmware version of a vulnerable network appliance, or remote ports that are exposed which don’t need to be open. These types of “invisible” or ignored issues may lead to large-scale breaches and other maladies.

Staying secure pays off in the long run

The primary goal of the SEC’s cybersecurity guidance is to help set forth a common framework for institutional best practices, casting light on commonly overlooked security flaws and spelling-out common sense steps to address them.

More importantly, however, it is a critical change in the landscape of the our regulatory and legal environment. With all of the recent (and ongoing) breaches — and given what is at stake for investment managers if their systems are hacked — it makes sense to shape and adopt a cybersecurity plan. It makes even more sense to put the plan into action before cybersecurity becomes a problem for your operation.

View the SEC Cybersecurity Guideline Update here: http://www.sec.gov/investment/im-guidance-2015-02.pdf

About the author

Alexander G. Chamandy is a seasoned IT professional with 20 years of industry experience and a lifelong Arlington resident. He has deep expertise helping small businesses with a number of IT issues, including cybersecurity, data recovery, networking, deploying and maintaining servers as well as open source software.

If your small business needs IT supportconsulting or website design contact Envescent, LLC. Our company has helped over 15,000 clients in the Washington, DC area and beyond since 1999.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com January 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm 10,617 0

President Obama speaks at Washington-Lee High SchoolPresident Obama will tour a federal cybersecurity office in Arlington Tuesday afternoon.

Obama is scheduled to visit the Ballston-based National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which is part of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

The president “will talk about efforts to increase information-sharing between companies and the government and to improve collaboration against threats,” according to the LA Times.

The visit is expected to result in significant temporary road closures in Arlington. It comes a day after terrorist supporters hacked the Twitter and YouTube accounts of United States Central Command.

by ARLnow.com June 30, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,540 0

Corgi eyes a graduation cake (Flickr pool photo by Eric)

Rip Sullivan Running for Delegate — Richard “Rip” Sullivan is the first candidate to announce his candidacy to replace the retiring Del. Bob Brink. Sullivan, a Democrat and a Fairfax County resident, said he’s running “to fight the Tea Party Republicans trying to roll back social and economic progress in Virginia.” [Rip Sullivan for Delegate]

Metro Fare Increase Takes Effect — Metrorail fares have been raised an average of 10 cents as of Sunday. Other changes include hikes to Metrobus fares, MetroAccess fares and Metro parking rates. [WMATA]

Arlington-Based Agency Works to Foil Hackers — Reporters were recently given a tour of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, a Department of Homeland Security-run hub for the U.S. government’s coordinated response to cyber attacks. The highly secure and classified office is located in a “non-descript” office building in Ballston, above a chain restaurant. [Bloomberg, InformationWeek]

‘Airbnb for Boats’ in D.C. — A service called Boatbound has launched in the D.C. area. It allows boat owners to rent out their boats to non-boat owners. The going rate for most boats on Boatbound is $200-500 per day. [Washington City Paper]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

by Ethan Rothstein December 2, 2013 at 10:45 am 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Nveloped's secure email deliveryNikhil Palekar’s angel-funded startup was born with a fax.

A few years ago, Palekar had to send some files to his doctor, and because email wasn’t secure enough for medical records, Palekar had to send a fax. Living in a one-bedroom apartment as a student in law school, he had no fax machine, but he didn’t see why there wasn’t a way to securely send files — or information — from his Gmail account.

“It seemed like there was a need for the service,” Palekar said. “I didn’t know why there couldn’t be an easy way to send stuff like this over email.”

Palekar had a background in computer science before he decided to attend law school, so he set about thinking of how to create a secure email service. After graduating law school and taking a job as a patent lawyer in Washington, D.C., Palekar started develop prototypes for his eventual product. In 2011, he left his job and started working full-time to launch Nveloped.

Nveloped founder and CEO Nikhil Palekar

Palekar has a practiced explanation for how Nveloped works. Normal email, he says, gets sent from one address, copied numerous times and delivered to the recipient. With Nveloped, clients instead send email recipients the equivalent of “an empty container.”

“When you open the message, that’s when we deliver the content,” Palekar said. “We provide access to that content dynamically.”

Before Palekar built anything, he said he had to look holistically at the problem he was trying to solve.

“It was trying to understand the deficiencies of regular email, which is really coming to light these days,” he said. “The first step was fully understanding why it was broken. The next step was how do you solve this in a way that’s easy for the sender and the receiver. Preserving a pleasant user experience was very important.”

In the summer of 2012, Palekar moved from his Arlington apartment for three months to Seattle to grow Nveloped at TechStars, a technology accelerator that provided Palekar with mentorship and connections that have proven vital.

Nveloped email expiration optionHe’s since moved back to the area, and with the help of people he’s met through TechStars, as well as the D.C. area startup community, Nveloped has raised $400,000 in angel funding and he said he has 10-20 clients. Palekar is the only full-time worker for the company, but he does have part-time and contract help for his growing business. He’s in the process of looking for a coworking office space in Arlington or D.C.

Most of Nveloped’s clients are in healthcare and financial services, and there are also clients with proprietary content — think of a news site that charges for its content — who wouldn’t want its subscribers forwarding email anyone could open without paying.

Despite TechStars’ reputation — it has accelerators in a half-dozen cities around the country — Palekar said finding clients who entrusted him with their email security was a challenge, but perhaps not as difficult as some would expect.

“The early stages are difficult, but there are people who know they need a solution to this problem,” he said. “Part of this process was giving people context for your product and showing them its value.”

Even though Palekar was already in the D.C. area, he said this is the best city in the country for his particular tech startup. His clients are from all over the country, he said, but as he takes on new business it’s likely it comes more from this region.

“D.C. is really growing as a startup community,” he said. “As things develop further, there are going to be areas where D.C. is very strong, and cybersecurity is one of them.”

by ARLnow.com October 1, 2012 at 9:20 am 3,366 12 Comments

Cybersecurity Center to Open in Ballston — Virginia Tech and defense contractor L-3 Communications are set to jointly open a cybersecurity research center in Ballston on Friday. The center will be located at the Virginia Tech Research Center building at 900 N. Glebe Road. [Washington Post]

Arlington Gearing Up for Nov. Election — In anticipation of election day on Nov. 6, Arlington County is encouraging residents to register to vote and, if necessary, vote absentee. The deadline for voter registration is Oct. 15, and the deadline for absentee ballots is Oct. 30. This year, the county is also allowing voters to cast their absentee ballot in person, at three absentee polling places: Courthouse Plaza, Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center, and the Madison Community Center. [Arlington County]

Generals, Patriots Win — The Washington-Lee Generals and the Yorktown Patriots both emerged victorious in local high school football action over the weekend. Yorktown defeated the Stuart Raiders 41-3, and Washington-Lee downed the winless Wakefield Warriorts 49-14. Bishop O’Connell, meanwhile, suffered its first loss, at the hands of the visiting DeMatha Stags. The Stags won 41-10. [Sun Gazette]

New Books By Arlington Authors — Two recently-released books by Arlington authors are receiving good reviews. Radical Chapters by Arlington resident and McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Michael Doyle received an upbeat review by Palo Alto Weekly. The book details the life and times of a Roy Kepler, who was both a prominent peace activist and a groundbreaking bookstore owner.  Darkbeast, by Arlington author Morgan Keyes, has picked up a number of good reviews on Amazon.com. The novel follows twelve-year-old Keara, who runs away from home rather than sacrifice Caw, her magical raven darkbeast.

Flickr pool photo by Maryva2

by Katie Pyzyk April 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm 3,788 11 Comments

Leaders in the cybersecurity industry gathered at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Ballston this morning to attend a forum hosted by Rep. Jim Moran (D).

Discussion revolved around cyber threats America faces and how best to address the problems as funding dwindles. Speakers noted it’s important to look ahead and focus on what threats may arise, as opposed to those already known.

“We get used to what the current threat level is, and forget how rapidly that can change, ” said Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, Director of Intelligence for U.S. Cyber Command.

Cox said although it doesn’t appear that groups like Al Qaeda have an immediate ability to wage a large scale cyber attack, that’s quickly changing. He stressed America’s need to be prepared to go on the offensive, instead of simply defending itself against cyber attacks.

“Our job is to plan to do things we hope we never, ever have to do,” Cox said.

During her keynote remarks, Teri Takai, the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, spoke of the recently announced intention to expand a program to help bridge the information gap between government entities and the private sector. Currently, the DoD has a partnership with 37 companies, in which classified information about potential cyber attacks is shared among all the participants. The goal is to expand that number to 200 companies this year. Takai believes the approval from the White House may come in as little as 60 days.

“This is important because this really looks beyond just the DoD world,” Takai said.

Takai said there’s an active effort to look at how to best assess risk in the government’s supply chain. That includes not only ensuring the security of computer hardware and software in use, but also knowing everyone who has access to the network and what they have access to.

Moran said a significant sticking point in information sharing is that private businesses often keep quiet when their systems are hacked. He said at some point, private firms will realize they can’t protect themselves on their own, and will have to be part of the team. He believes the situation requires more collaboration than what exists right now.

“Private firms don’t want to reveal when they’ve been hit and how much they’ve lost,” Moran said. “The government is going to have to play a bigger role.”

Moran reiterated the need for priorities to shift toward cyber from the traditional “boots on the ground” approach to security. He’s confident that as plans for increasing information sharing about cyber security expand, the money to implement such plans will follow.

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