As our reliance on the internet continues to expand into every area of our lives, the threat from cyber attacks and hacking are never far from the headlines. This month, Horizon looks at how Europe can keep its digital borders intact. We find out how artificial intelligence is learning on the job to better detect security breaches and how the unique way that you interact with your phone or computer could be used to verify your digital identity. Plus, we find out what the EU is doing to protect critical infrastructure such as power grids from an increased threat of attack.
Critical infrastructures such as railway networks, power stations and telephone grids are under daily attack by cyber criminals, according to Georg Peter, who is responsible for the European Reference Network for Critical Infrastructure Protection (ERNCIP), an important part of the EU response to help countries defend their assets.
Automated vehicles have the potential to revolutionise our day-to-day lives, but these kind of cyber-physical systems are vulnerable to attack by criminals. Horizon spoke with Dr Alexander Kröller, a research manager at Dutch navigation company TomTom, to explore the risks that hacking and viruses pose to self-driving cars.
The tendency for people to be creatures of habit is being put to good use in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to new identification software that uses typical login times and locations, keystroke dynamics and in-app behaviour to verify if someone is who they say they are.
Neon lights, astrophysics, lightning and, of course, televisions – plasma is all around us. But what exactly is it and how can we harness its power? This month, Horizon takes an in-depth look at the fourth state of matter, finding out how it could be used to fix environmental problems such as wastewater contamination and factory emissions. We speak to the scientists who are attempting to use plasma energy to create more powerful particle accelerators and probe the mysteries of the universe. We also find out how researchers are trying to recreate astrophysical plasma in their labs and investigate the potential of cold plasma to save lives.
Regenerative medicine takes a different approach to treating disease by aiming to regrow, repair or replace tissues and organs to restore their normal functions instead of just treating symptoms. This month, Horizon takes a deeper look at the promise of this emerging field and takes stock of where we are now. We look at how scientists are beginning human trials of a technique that repurposes cells from one part of the body to treat disorders in another, and find out how 3D printing is helping to tackle arthritis. We also look at the challenges of mass producing the raw materials for regenerative medicine - stem cells - and some of the regulatory and ethical issues that are emerging as the industry develops.
Non-surgical ways of detecting endometriosis, such as blood tests, could reduce the time taken for a diagnosis, and researchers hope it will have a significant impact on the quality of life of women who live with the complex and painful condition.
Requiring drones to identify and authorise themselves before they can fly, which could be achieved by fitting them with SIM cards, could help to protect people's privacy by providing an effective way to register both users and machines, according to air traffic management expert Robin Garrity. He has been working on the U-space plan, which sets out a vision for how drones can be integrated into airspace, particularly in urban environments. It is part of work being conducted by the SESAR Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership that coordinates EU research activities in air traffic management.
Complex and painful disease has been historically overlooked, researchers say.
Robin Garrity says that registration, identification and geofencing will increase security.
Chemical switches on DNA could explain how the environment may influence the traits we pass on, according to Prof. Thomas Carell.