MeriTalk News Briefs: GAO Investigating, FedRAMP Training, Storage Shrinking

Welcome to MeriTalk News Briefs, where we bring you all the day’s action that didn’t quite make the headlines. No need to shout about ‘em, but we do feel that they merit talk.

GAO Investigating FCC Over DDoS Complaints

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is investigating the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack earlier this year. In May, the FCC claimed that its commenting system was the victim of a DDoS attack during a controversial public debate over repealing net neutrality rules. The alleged DDoS attack slowed down, but did not disable the site. Critics have raised concerns that the massive increase in traffic may have come from citizens logging complaints against the Trump Administration’s stance on net neutrality rules, rather than automated computer bots. A GAO spokesperson confirmed to MeriTalk that the agency was investigating the FCC regarding the incident, but said the agency doesn’t have a projected release date for its findings.

FedRAMP Launches New Training Platform

The General Services Administration today launched a new FedRAMP training platform. The new platform will provide a comprehensive overview of FedRAMP’s training curriculum, enhanced capabilities and functionality, and a user-centered design. FedRAMP has already migrated its training offerings to the new platform. Users can register for an account by clicking here.

IARPA Seeking to Shrink Size, Energy Use, Storage Cost

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) on Thursday released its June 2018 Update, which announced its new Molecular Information Storage (MIST) program. “The goal of the MIST program is to develop deployable storage technologies that can eventually scale into the exabyte regime, and beyond, with reduced physical footprint, power and cost requirements relative to conventional storage technologies,” IARPA said. “MIST seeks to accomplish this by using sequence-controlled polymers as a data storage medium, and by building the necessary devices and information systems to interface with this medium.” IARPA sits underneath the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and assists the U.S. Intelligence Community with research and development of technology capabilities. IARPA is seeking proposals for the new project, due July 16, 2018.

Microsoft Goes 1,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Data Centers

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it is looking to leverage technology from submarines to move data centers under water. The tech giant is working with marine energy experts for the second phase of its “moonshot” to develop self-sufficient underwater data centers that can deliver high-speed cloud services to coastal cities. “More than half of the world’s population lives within about 120 miles of the coast,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “By putting data centers in bodies of water near coastal cities, data would have a short distance to travel to reach coastal communities, leading to fast and smooth web surfing, video streaming and game playing as well as authentic experiences for AI-driven technologies.” Microsoft announced earlier this week that an experimental, shipping-container-size prototype is already processing workloads on the seafloor near Scotland’s Orkney Islands. No word yet on when the technology will jump across the Atlantic.

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