Kieren McCarthy

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Professional carbon drone with GPS. Pic via Shutterstock

US government publishes drone best practices

You can't use drones to check whether your employee really is sick, or to take pictures of your neighbors, unless you're a news organization in which case the sky is the limit - or more accurately not the limit. That's according to advice published by the US government over how best to use drones – or unmanned aircraft systems …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 May 2016
Oculus Rift

Oculus backtracks on open software promise

VR headset company Oculus has backtracked on a promise not to lock down its software to its hardware. In an update put out this week, the company's digital rights management (DRM) system now checks whether the Oculus Rift headset is attached to the computer when playing a game. If it isn't, the game won't play, effectively …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 May 2016
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Symphony enters messaging app market

Entering an already crowded market, Symphony has announced it will produce an iOS app for its cloud-based messaging service. The Google-backed company's service is used largely by financial institutions due to its high-level security, but is currently only available through a browser. The iPhone app will be released next week …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 May 2016

Republicans threaten to derail internet transition

Republican congressmen are increasing their efforts to delay transition of a critical piece of internet infrastructure from the US government to a non-profit organization based in California. For the third time, a House Appropriations subcommittee has included a provision in a must-pass bill that would prevent the Department …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2016

Theranos bins two years of test results

The controversial blood-testing company Theranos has voided two years of results and issued tens of thousands of corrected reports, further undermining its credibility and raising serious questions over its future. The discarded results were run both on traditional testing machines and on Theranos' "revolutionary" Edison …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2016

Algeria suffers net blackout

Algeria experienced an internet blackout Thursday after a submarine cable that carries much of its traffic failed. The SMWE4 Annaba to Marseilles suffered a "technical problem," according to Algeria Telecom. Usually with submarine cables that means it has been accidentally cut, either by a trawler, or ship dragging an anchor, …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2016
Tesla Model 3

Tesla 3 orders fall by 12,200

Tesla has revised downward the number of pre-orders for its new Tesla 3 electric car, officially due in 2018. More than 8,000 customers have cancelled their orders – presumably because the unexpectedly high number of pre-orders and the fact that no one believes they will be filled in 2018 means they won't see their prized …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2016

Suckfly: The hacking group targeting India but taking weekends off

A professional hacking group called Suckfly is targeting India's infrastructure and economic base by zeroing in on individuals and installing tools to access their work networks. That's according to a blog post by Symantec that has analyzed and dug into the group's activities and methods. Symantec first spotted the group it …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2016
management intelligence

Now Suzuki admits cheating

Suzuki has joined the list of car manufacturers that admitted they cheated on emissions tests. "The company apologizes for the fact that we did not follow rules set by the country," said the Japanese company's CEO Osamu Suzuki. An estimated two million cars are affected. The company claims however that it did not intentionally …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2016

SEC warns cybersecurity is biggest threat to financial system

The chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Jo White, has warned that the biggest risk the financial system faces is cybersecurity. Speaking at the Financial Regulation Summit in Washington DC, White warned the industry that their policies and procedures were not up to scratch and without them they faced …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2016

Europe adopts new cybersecurity rules for key players

The European Council has adopted new cybersecurity rules to make networks and information services across the European Union safer and more secure. The network and information security (NIS) directive [PDF] will require providers of essential services – such as energy, transport, health and finance – and "digital service …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2016
Slices of madeira cake

IBM offers new IoT course

IBM has created a new internet of things course for developers. Run with and through online course company Coursera, it is designed "to demonstrate the power of the Internet of Things (IoT)" and will teach the architecture of an IoT solution "along with the design principles and concepts behind it," according to the company. …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 May 2016

Iraq shuts down internet to prevent exam cheating. The country's entire internet

The Iraqi government is repeatedly shutting down the country's entire internet to prevent students from cheating in their exams. That is the extraordinary conclusion reached by infrastructure experts delving into why the country has experienced a series of three-hour blackouts at the same time each day for three days in a row …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 May 2016

Politician claims porn tabs a malware experiment, then finds God

Congressional candidate Mike Webb had an immediate explanation for the porn tabs in his browser: he was conducting his own malware experiment. The Republican, who is vying for Virginia's 8th district, posted a screenshot of his computer to his Facebook page about a call he had received from a staffing agency, but failed to …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 May 2016

When the reach-around goes wrong. Or is that right?

Silicon Valley, HBO's satire on the eponymous tech haven, is at its best when it takes the brilliance and idealism of engineers and contorts them to fit the barmy business end of the industry. And so it was with the latest episode. As predicted, the show rebounded from a drab third episode to dive straight back into the …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2016
Great Wall of China by https://www.flickr.com/photos/matt512/ cc 2.0 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

China's new rules may break the internet warns US government

The Chinese government could fragment the internet if it pursues new registration rules for online addresses, the US government has warned. The warning by assistant commerce secretary Larry Strickling and state department ambassador Daniel Sepulveda comes in response to a decision by the Chinese government in March to require …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2016

Google tries social again

Google is making another effort in social media after the failure of Google+ with a new app called Spaces. The app, available from Monday, is designed to "build a better group sharing experience" and integrates with Google's other products including YouTube, search and its Chrome browser to make it "simple to find and share …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2016

Verisign settles .security XYZ lawsuit

Operator of the dot-com registry and two root servers, Verisign, has settled one of its two lawsuits against upstart .XYZ. CEO of XYZ, David Negari announced the news in an update on his personal blog. The unusual wording of the update was clearly a part of the settlement, with Negari noting that his company's actions had " …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2016
Slices of madeira cake

NSA newsletters published

An archive of internal newsletters from US spying agency, the National Security Agency (NSA), have been published online. The copies of SIDtoday - produced by the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directorate and placed on the organization's intranet - date back to 2003 and were part of the huge trove of documents supplied to …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2016
Magic act, image via Shutterstock

Is uBeam the new Theranos?

A former VP of engineering at a startup that promises fast, wireless charging of electronic devices has claimed that the technology doesn't work and its CEO is misleading people. The engineer in question, Paul Reynolds, posted his claims - as well as a number of other critical pieces on uBeam's CEO Meredith Perry - on a …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2016
Illustration of a man with a beard reading a tablet

Bots half all web traffic

Just under half of all web traffic is bots and crawlers, according to a new report. DeviceAtlas analyzed all the data received from its customers (the company provides analytics on website visitors) and concluded that 48 per cent of the "people" landing on websites were in fact search engine crawlers, content scrapers and …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2016
Afraid of the dark, image via Shutterstock

Americans cutting back on online activity over security and privacy fears

Nearly half of all Americans have not carried out a normal online task because of security and privacy fears, according to a new survey by the US government. Forty-five per cent of the 41,000 households contacted said they had decided not to do online banking, or buy goods online, or post on social networks because they were …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2016

Motion Picture Ass. of America to guard online henhouse

The Motion Picture Ass. of America will be given a direct line to kill domain names that it says contain pirated information. Under an agreement signed [PDF] with Radix Registry, the MPAA will be a "trusted notifier" across the whole range of Radix registries that include .website, .tech, .online, .space and .host. If the …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2016
Man shouting through a mega phone with abstract communication icons in the background

Mozilla wants Tor hole

Mozilla has filed an amicus brief [PDF] in a criminal case arguing that the US government should provide it with details of any security holes it knows about before it shares those details with others. The case concerns a public schools administration worker, Jay Michaud, who was charged with accessing a site that hosted child …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 May 2016

FBI director claims that videoing police is causing crime uptick

The director of the FBI, James Comey, has again claimed that citizens' use of mobile phones to record the police is causing an increase in crime, despite previous direct criticism over the claim from President Obama. According to Comey, the recent spate of videos recorded by ordinary citizens that have shown the police acting …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 May 2016