News In Brief

Courtesy of UCR Today

UCR RESEARCHERS DEVELOP APP FOR MALWARE DETECTION 
With the help of engineering professors and graduate students, the UCR department of computer science has developed the online application, MyPageKeeper, which detects and combats cyber-crime. Researchers analyzed more than 40 million posts from 12,000 people who installed the app and managed to successfully flag 97 percent of spam and malware posts on Facebook.

Researchers introduced the new term “socware” to describe “social malware,” which traps all parasitic behavior in online social networks. Other results concluded that 49 percent of users were exposed to at least one socware post during the last four months. The application detects socware in online posts and immediately sends an alert tothe user. Researchers determined that words such as “free,” “hurry,” “deal” and “shocked” indicate possible spam in the posts. The application operates by continuously scanning the walls and news feed of subscribed users.
Possible changes include further customization of the application, which will automatically remove malicious posts from a user’s online social network.

$4.5 MILLION NSF GRANT FOR FIVE-YEAR RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM
On Oct. 3, the National Science Foundation awarded UC Santa Cruz a $4.5 million grant to help fund the university’s five-year research and education program on renewable energy. This program addresses the technical, social, and economic aspects of “community-scale renewable-energy micro grids.”

One of their goals is to learn how to integrate renewable energy sources such as bio-energy, solar energy and tidal energy with existing electrical grid. The interdisciplinary research team includes faculty with a broad range of expertise, such as: electrical engineering, computer engineering, politics, sociology, environmental studies, energy technology, chemical and materials engineering, and technology management professionals.

UC Santa Cruz is collaborating with UC Davis, Aalborg University and Technical University of Denmark on this project in order to further research in renewable energy. UC Santa Cruz’s Green Wharf Coastal Energy Research consists of exploring renewable energy micro grid systems in a marine environment while simultaneously looking for ways to reduce green house gas. UC Davis is working on a mixed-use neighborhood project in the West Village Community designed for renewable energy to reach “zero net energy.” Other facilities in California and Denmark will be used as test beds for studying the social aspects of small-scale micro-grid systems.

Online Voting Registration NOW AVAILABLE IN CALIFORNIA
On Sept. 24, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Senate Bill 397, which permits Californians to register to vote through an online registration system. As a result, this system will expedite the number of voting applicants and is specifically aimed at college students, who tend to live more transient lifestyles compared to an older demographic of Californians.
In 2009, the California Secretary of the State announced a printable voter registration form that could be linked to various websites. This initial shift to an online presence was met with instant success, especially among the younger demographic.
Based on a study by the Public Policy Institute of California, results reveal that those ages 55 and up made up 44 percent of likely voters, while those between the age bracket of 18 to 34 only represent 18 percent of likely voters. Eric McGhee, a policy fellow at the institute states that the system may appeal to younger Californians who are more in tune with modern technology.

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