Iain Thomson

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
Dead PC

Suck it, PCs! 'Most' Google web searches 'come from mobiles'

Most Google web searches in America and a few other nations come from phones and tablets – outpacing desktops and laptops for the first time, we're told. According to NetMarketShare, Google owned a 92.22 per cent chunk of the global search engine market for mobiles and slabs, and 65.73 per cent of the desktop search market, in …
Iain Thomson, 05 May 2015
Big Bang

In a galaxy far, far away ... Boffins discover farthest ever star system

Pic Astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii say they have spotted the farthest galaxy known to humans – a galaxy 13 billion light-years away that formed 670 million years after the Big Bang. Youngest galaxy yet found I've seen things you people wouldn't believe... (click to enlarge) Several very old galaxies were …
Iain Thomson, 05 May 2015
Italy's first woman in space enjoys espresso on the ISS

Italian ISS trekkie sips first zero-G cup of espresso in SPAAAACE

The ISS now has a functioning espresso machine and it was Italy's first woman in space, astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who got the first shot – although not before donning a Star Trek uniform for the occasion. "Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised." Fresh espresso in the new Zero-G cup! To boldly brew... pic. …
Iain Thomson, 05 May 2015

Windows 10 bombshell: Microsoft to KILL OFF Patch Tuesday

Ignite 2015 Microsoft has shown off some of the new security mechanisms embedded in Windows 10, and revealed a change to its software updates. Windows supremo Terry Myerson reckons the revised security patch rollout – effectively ditching the monthly Patch Tuesday – will shame Google. "Google takes no responsibility to update customer …
Iain Thomson, 04 May 2015
Microsoft Ignite 2015

Word to your mother: Office 2016 preview flung at world + dog

Ignite 2015 If you want to get your hands on Office 2016, Microsoft has made it available now for download – but be warned, you'll have to take Office 2013 off before you do. Microsoft has marked the opening day of its Ignite conference (think TechEd and a bunch of other sysadmin shindigs rolled into one economical bundle) in Chicago by …
Iain Thomson, 04 May 2015
scanners

Shields up! Shields up! ASTRONAUTS flying to MARS will arrive BRAIN DAMAGED, boffins claim

A NASA-funded study into the effects of long-term space travel has a troubling conclusion: astronauts going to Mars could arrive with brain damage. The research, conducted by the University of California Irvine and published in the Science Advances journal, involved bombarding mice with ionised oxygen and titanium nuclei for six …
Iain Thomson, 02 May 2015
Unlocked padlock

'Just follow the damn Constitution!' FBI, DoJ skewered over demands for crypto backdoors

Vid FBI agents and US Department of Justice officials perhaps thought they were in for an easy ride during a congressional hearing on crime, terrorism and encryption. If so, they were mistaken. House reps on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee tore into the Feds' demands for skeleton keys to decrypt citizens' private files …
Iain Thomson, 01 May 2015

NSA-restraining US law edges closer to reality, leaves just 6.81 billion under mass surveillance

A law bill to mildly curb the NSA's blanket surveillance of innocent Americans has taken an important step toward being passed. On Thursday, the US House of Representatives' justice committee voted 25 to two in favor of a revised version of the USA Freedom Act – the original was killed last year in the Senate. Now it's looking …
Iain Thomson, 01 May 2015
Blue Origins

Amazon boss Bezos' Blue Origins declares test flight 'flawless' ... if you overlook one snafu

Video Blue Origins, the rocket company started by Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos, has staged its first test flight – with mixed results. Youtube Video The New Shepard rocket launched from the firm's test site in Texas on Wednesday – although word of the blastoff emerged on Thursday afternoon. It reached its target altitude of 307,000 feet …
Iain Thomson, 01 May 2015
messenger

NASA's Messenger craft SMASHES into Mercury: See ya later, alien crater

Pic NASA's Messenger space probe has slammed into the planet Mercury at 3.9km per second (8,724mph) – creating the first human-made crater on the innermost planet of our solar system. Well I guess it is time to say goodbye to all my friends, family, support team. I will be making my final impact very soon. — MESSENGER (@ …
Iain Thomson, 30 Apr 2015
Raiders of the lost ark

Airbus to sue NSA, German spies accused of swiping tech secrets

European aerospace giant Airbus is promising legal action over claims its top blueprints were stolen by German spies and given to America's intelligence agencies. "We are aware that as a large company in the sector, we are a target and subject of espionage," the company said in a statement to the AFP newswire. "However, in this …
Iain Thomson, 30 Apr 2015
pluto

NASA spies weird glow from Pluto's FRIGID pole

Pic NASA's New Horizons space probe has beamed back photos that seem to show that dwarf planet Pluto has a strange effulgent spot on its pole. Pluto's icy pole The pole shows up as a bright spot on the right of the image The spacecraft is more than 60 million miles away from the tiny world. New images released by NASA at a press …
Iain Thomson, 30 Apr 2015
Rand Paul

Rand Paul is trying to murder net neutrality. Is there a US presidential election, or something?

US presidential wannabe Rand Paul (R-KY) has filed a motion under the Congressional Review Act that could block the introduction of the Democrat-driven net neutrality rules. The joint resolution means both houses of Congress are highly likely to vote on a straight majority basis to reject the broadband regulations, drawn up by …
Iain Thomson, 30 Apr 2015

Calamity cargo capsule DOOMED: Space station pod in fireball re-entry

Vid Roscosmos has written off the Progress supply capsule that was supposed to deliver tons of cargo to the International Space Station. The Russian space agency said the out-of-control craft will burn up within days as it falls back to Earth. Youtube Video Igor Komarov, head of Roscosmos, told a press conference on Wednesday that …
Iain Thomson, 29 Apr 2015
JPMorgan

JP Morgan bank bod accused of flogging customer account info

The FBI has charged a former JP Morgan employee with selling customer information to thieves who wanted to empty accounts without triggering any alarms. Unsealed court records [PDF] recount that Peter Persaud, who worked at JP Morgan's Brooklyn branch, contacted an undercover FBI informant, and allegedly offered to sell him the …
Iain Thomson, 29 Apr 2015
sniper

DARPA's made a SELF-STEERING 50-cal bullet – with video proof

Vid The military boffins at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have shown off how the latest version of their "steerable bullet" lets a complete novice hit a distant target with pinpoint accuracy. EXACTO Live-Fire Tests, February 2015, DARPA The firearms program, dubbed the EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance ( …
Iain Thomson, 29 Apr 2015
LG G4 shot

LG slaps SIX CORE Snapdragon 808 in LEATHER G4 dog&bone – not overheaty 810

LG has whipped out its latest Android 5.1 smartphone, the G4, and pledged that the handset will burst upon an astonished USA within the next few months. It will be available with a ceramic or real leather backplate. The new smartphone looks remarkably similar to its G3 predecessor. It's got a 5.5-inch QuadHD (1440p, 538dpi) …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2015

MAYHEM in ORBIT: Russian cargo pod spins OUT OF CONTROL

Video Russian space boffins have lost control of a Progress cargo capsule which had been due to deliver 6,000lb of supplies to the International Space Station. The crazy podule is spinning and tumbling in orbit above the Earth as controllers try to establish contact with it. Youtube video The Progress 59 space-mule lifted off …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2015
America

WHY can't Silicon Valley create breakable non-breakable encryption, cry US politicians

Analysis At last week's RSA security conference, the halls were full of government speakers telling the tech community that it must do the impossible: invent a form of encryption that's strong, but also easy for law enforcement to crack. Ever since Apple and Google enabled full-device encryption by default on their mobile operating …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2015
spacex

SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time

Pic For the second time in a month, Elon's Musk-eteers at upstart rocket startup SpaceX have fired cargo into space – this time delivering the first satellite owned and operated by the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan. The launch was delayed slightly due to thick overhead clouds and thunderstorms in the area, but a gap in the …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2015
WordPress

Comments considered harmful: WordPress web hijack bug revealed

A frustrated Finnish security researcher has gone public with a vulnerability in WordPress that lets attackers hijack website admin accounts. The flaw was found by Jouko Pynnönen, and is a cross-site scripting (XSS) bug similar to one patched last week. It is buried within the widely used web publishing software's comments …
Iain Thomson, 27 Apr 2015
Hubble anniversary image

Hubble hits 25th anniversary IN SPAAACE – time for telescope to come home

Pics On 24 April, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida carrying a very special cargo: 24,490lbs (11,110kg) of advanced optics, electronics, and antennas that made up the Hubble Space Telescope. The 'scope has revolutionised our understanding of the universe, in part thanks to five …
Iain Thomson, 25 Apr 2015
Percentage of mobile malware on Android

Fandroids, take your phone's antivirus and burn it – Android bod

RSA 2015 Google takes a lot of stick from Apple and others over malware on the Android platform, but the company thinks the OS is now so secure that users don't need antivirus software. Speaking at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week, Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security, explained that Google is now scanning for …
Iain Thomson, 24 Apr 2015

ZOMBIE Google Glass 2 FEEDS ON Italian BRAINS, says specs supremo

Italian eyewear maker Luxottica has been working with Google engineers to come up with a new version of Glass – adding further weight to the suggestion the project isn't truly dead. The ad giant killed off Glass 1.0 sales in January after the unpopular program jumped the tracks. In March, Google's exec chairman Eric Schmidt …
Iain Thomson, 24 Apr 2015
David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

Licence to chill: Ex-CIA spyboss Petraeus gets probation for leaking US secrets to his mistress

General David Petraeus – the former head of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and briefly the head of the CIA – has been sentenced to two years' probation and fined $100,000 after admitting leaking America's secrets to his lover. Married Petraeus, 62, handed over military logs containing classified material to his official …
Iain Thomson, 24 Apr 2015
Liam Neeson Taken

Ransomware crims drop Bitcoin faster than Google axes services

RSA 2015 The falling price of Bitcoin is forcing ransomware masterminds to convert the crypto-currency as soon as they can. Rather than holding on to their ill-gotten BTC, the crims are simply laundering the ransom money as soon as possible. "I've seen this discussion in underground forums among Russian criminals," Etay Maor, senior …
Iain Thomson, 24 Apr 2015
Congress

America's cyber-security proto-laws branded 'surveillance in disguise'

The US House of Representatives has passed not one but two computer security bills that allow companies and Uncle Sam to share information about citizens, cyber-attacks and software vulnerabilities – and removes any legal liabilities for firms doing so. The Protecting Cyber Networks Act [PDF] (PCNA), which passed by 307 votes to …
Iain Thomson, 23 Apr 2015
windows 10 microsoft one windows

Windows 10 Device Guard: Microsoft's effort to keep malware off PCs

RSA 2015 On Wednesday, at the RSA conference in San Francisco, Microsoft veep Scott Charney outlined a new security mechanism in Windows 10 called Device Guard. We've taken a closer look. The details are a little vague – more information will emerge at the Build event next week – but from what we can tell, Device Guard wraps an extra …
Iain Thomson, 23 Apr 2015

Facebook, Google execs cough to their biggest privacy blunders

RSA 2015 Facebook, Google and Microsoft spent a few minutes today discussing at this year's RSA conference in San Francisco how they attempt to protect your privacy. El Reg asked execs present from the trio of tech giants to name their biggest privacy cockups, and surprisingly two out of the three had an answer. "Beacon might be a good …
Iain Thomson, 22 Apr 2015
America

Republicans in sneaky bid to reauthorize Patriot Act spying until 2020

The US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced a bill to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act to allow mass surveillance of innocent American citizens until December 31, 2020. Section 215 is due to expire on June 1, and there are going to be various attempts to either reform or abandon the provision. …
Iain Thomson, 22 Apr 2015
Clint Eastwood bounty hunter

Throwing money at bug bounties won't beat zero-day dark markets

RSA 2015 The first academic study into the market for zero-day flaws has shown some surprising results, not least that throwing money at ever-larger bug bounty payouts might well be counterproductive. The research – which was carried out by MIT principal research scientist Michael Siegel and Katie Moussouris, chief policy officer of bug …
Iain Thomson, 22 Apr 2015
America

White House cyber-general says US must be able to cyber-nuke the worst of the cyber-worst

RSA 2015 The US government must hone its offensive capabilities to electronically attack those who menace America's interests, said the White House's Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel, quickly adding global ground rules for cyber-war have to be worked out first. On April 1, President Obama signed an executive order that would …
Iain Thomson, 21 Apr 2015
Vampire squid

VAMPIRE SQUID romps stun scientists: Unique sex lives revealed

Pic Scientists studying vampire squid have discovered the weird creatures of the vasty deep are unique among their class in the way they reproduce. Cephalopods, which include squid and octopuses, breed at the very end of their life cycles, funneling all their energy into creating eggs that are released shortly before the parent dies …
Iain Thomson, 21 Apr 2015
makerbot

Makerbot axes 'scores of staff' – 3D printing just doesn't pay the bills

3D printing pioneers Makerbot has culled roughly 80 employees at its Brooklyn headquarters, abolished three divisions, and closed three of its shops. "We at MakerBot are reorganizing our business in order to focus on what matters most to our customers. As part of this, we have implemented expense reductions, downsized our staff …
Iain Thomson, 17 Apr 2015
Drone strike simulation

US Navy's LOCUST DRONE CANNON is like death SWARMED up

Vid Drones are going to play a big part in future conflicts, and the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) knows it. The boffinry nerve-center has been showing off its latest idea – the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) that will throw massive swarms of networked aircraft into the skies to search for the enemy. Youtube Video …
Iain Thomson, 17 Apr 2015
SpaceX Dragon docking

One small shot for Man, one espresso maker IN SPAAACE: Dragon snatched by ISS

+Vid SpaceX has completed its sixth supply run to the International Space Station: the Dragon capsule, loaded up with cargo and launched on Tuesday, has finally arrived at the orbiting science lab. The space station's Canadian-built robot arm captured the capsule at 0655 ET (1155 UTC) after SpaceX engineers guided it in a slow but …
Iain Thomson, 17 Apr 2015
messenger

Don't shoot the Messenger: NASA's suicide probe to punch hole in Mercury

+Vid On April 30, a 16-metre-wide crater will be formed on the surface of Mercury by the hand of Man. Well, actually, by NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (Messenger) spacecraft, which will end its 11-year mission by piling into the planet's surface at 3.9km per second (8,724 MPH). The probe is …
Iain Thomson, 17 Apr 2015

Sysadmins, patch now: HTTP 'pings of death' are spewing across web to kill Windows servers

The SANS Institute has warned Windows IIS web server admins to get patching as miscreants are now exploiting a flaw in the software to crash websites. The security bug (CVE-2015-1635) allows attackers to knock web servers offline by sending a simple HTTP request. Microsoft fixed this denial-of-service vulnerability on Tuesday …
Iain Thomson, 16 Apr 2015
troll

Someone PLEASE stop patent trolls' stroking their favorite tool, cries Google and friends

A consortium of tech giants have written to senior US politicians demanding a reform of the International Trade Commission, one of America's key federal watchdogs. The biz goliaths, represented by the ITC Working Group, claim patent trolls are unfairly using the commission to extract money from their coffers, and hamper …
Iain Thomson, 16 Apr 2015
Sad cloud

IBM’s 700TB security threat database enters the cloud. Look to the heavens, hackers

IBM is putting its massive threat database up into the cloud for researchers, IT administrators, and anyone else to access in the hope of fundamentally changing how security companies defend against attackers. "Information sharing is something that has been discussed in legislation, within the industry, and between companies but …
Iain Thomson, 16 Apr 2015
Silhouette of spy discerning password from code uses a command on graphic user interface

'Arkansas cops tried to hack me with malware-ridden hard drive'

A lawyer representing three police whistleblowers has claimed a hard drive sent to him with evidence for his case was deliberately infected with password-stealing malware. Matthew Campbell, a lawyer with the Pinnacle Law Firm in North Little Rock, Arkansas, is working on behalf of three past and present officers of the Fort …
Iain Thomson, 15 Apr 2015
pluto

NASA probe sent to faraway planet finds DWARF world instead: Pics

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has taken the first true color photograph of Pluto and its largest moon Charon – all while speeding toward the dwarf planet at four kilometres a second (8,950 miles per hour). The pictures were taken from around 115 million kilometres (71 million miles) away and so are somewhat blobby to say the …
Iain Thomson, 15 Apr 2015
Microsoft's telepresence teaser

Microsoft points at Skype, Lync: You two, in my office – right now

Microsoft has confirmed it will roll out Skype for Business – the service formerly known as Microsoft Lync – across its subscription-based Office 365 cloud this month. "Skype for Business Online is now rolling out to Office 365 customers worldwide, and we expect the roll out to be complete by the end of May," said the Skype team …
Iain Thomson, 15 Apr 2015
SpaceX CRS-6 launch

Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase

Vid SpaceX very nearly landed the lower stage of its Falcon 9 rocket in one piece at sea on Tuesday – as the capsule payload of the rocket successfully made its way towards the International Space Station. The rocket, carrying a Dragon cargo capsule loaded with supplies for the space station, blasted off on schedule, and separated …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2015

Selfie sticks BANNED by Apple: No hipster tools' tools allowed at WWDC

Apple is selling tickets to this year's Worldwide Developers Conference – though if you get hold of one, leave your selfie stick in the hotel room. Those wishing to attend have until Friday to register for Cupertino's lottery system. The confab will be held between June 8 and 12 in San Francisco's Moscone West conference center …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2015
SpaceX CRS-6 patch

HOVER ROCKET space station podule mission LIGHTNING HOLD DRAMA

NASA has postponed today's launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket – loaded up with supplies for the International Space Station, including a new espresso coffee machine – after an approaching storm started blasting out. The craft was set to liftoff about an hour ago from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Launch postponed due to lightning …
Iain Thomson, 13 Apr 2015
Ransom note saying "Pay Up" in blackmail type

Welcome to the FUTURE: Maine cops pay Bitcoin ransom to end office hostage drama

Blundering cops in Maine, US, have enriched malware masterminds by paying up to decrypt files held hostage by ransomware. Four city police departments and a sheriff's office in Lincoln County share a common computer network run by Burgess Computer, which hosts the plods' administrative files. Then one day the entire system was …
Iain Thomson, 13 Apr 2015
Toilet

Grandmaster FLUSH: Chess champ booted for allegedly cheating with iPod app in the loo

A chess grandmaster has been thrown out of an international tournament after he allegedly used an Apple iPod hidden in a toilet cubicle to cheat. Gaioz Nigalidze, Georgia's national chess champion, was playing Armenian granmaster Tigran Petrosian at the prestigious Dubai Open tournament over the weekend when his repeated trips …
Iain Thomson, 13 Apr 2015
troll

Tech troll's podcasting patent blown out of the water by EFF torpedo

US patent judges have invalidated chunks of a podcasting patent used by troll non-practicing entity Personal Audio LLC to extract money from top podcasters and broadcasters. Personal Audio doesn't produce podcasting software or hardware; its sole purpose is to sue people who allegedly infringe the patents it holds in the …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2015
SpaceX' autonomous spaceport drone ship

Urine for a treat this Monday, ISS 'nauts: SpaceX to launch pee-powered coffee pot

Vid SpaceX is preparing to send a load of supplies up to the International Space Station – a resupply mission due to launch on Monday at 1633 EDT (2033 UTC, 1333 PDT). Three miutes after takeoff, the reusable first stage of the Falcon rocket carrying the cargo will separate and be piloted back to Earth, so SpaceX can try to land the …
Iain Thomson, 10 Apr 2015