Iain Thomson

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The North Korean computer system

FBI fingers Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?

The FBI claims to have found evidence linking North Korea with the hackers who ransacked Sony Pictures' servers and dumped gigabytes of sensitive data online. "As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the …
Iain Thomson, 19 Dec 2014

Microsoft fires legal salvo at phone 'tech support' scammers

Microsoft has launched its first US lawsuit against companies offering phoney phone support for its products and says it plans further operations in the UK and India to stamp out the scammers. Fake tech support calls have been around for a few years now. A caller will claim to be calling from Microsoft technical support saying …
Iain Thomson, 19 Dec 2014
ISIS leader Shakir Wahiyib with Facebook thumbs-up

New fear: ISIS killers use 'digital AK-47' malware to hunt victims

Malware has emerged from war-torn Syria targeting those protesting the rule of ISIS (ISIL, Islamic State, whatever the murderous humanity-hating fanatics are calling themselves these days.) The trivial Windows spyware, analyzed by University of Toronto internet watchdog Citizen Lab, was sent out in a small number of emails aimed …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014
GhostSwimmer

Don't panic, US Navy has only deployed a ROBOT SHARK (but where are the lasers?)

Pics and video The US Navy has shown off the first images of its latest aqua-drone: a five-foot-long robot shark that's been swimming off the shores of Virginia. The Navy's robot shark at rest GhostSwimmer at rest Dubbed GhostSwimmer, the 100lb machine (in Navy-speak, an AUV or autonomous underwater vehicle) is capable of swimming in water …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014

URL LOL: Delta splats web flight boarding pass snoop bug

Delta Airlines techies have fixed a flaw in the biz's paperless boarding pass system that allowed a hacker to access information on strangers' flights. The security vulnerability is down to the URLs used by Delta's website to serve digital copies of boarding passes to smartphones. These passes appear as QR codes which are …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014

Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Sony Pictures has confirmed the inevitable and cancelled the December 25 launch of The Interview after most major theater chains refused to run it. "The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners," said the National Association of …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014
The death of Venus Express

ESA: Venus probe doomed to fiery death on weird planet's surface

The European Space Agency has administered the last rites to its Venus Express probe, saying that the spacecraft is now out of control and has gone "gently into the night." "The available information provides evidence of the spacecraft losing attitude control most likely due to thrust problems during the raising maneuvers," said …
Iain Thomson, 17 Dec 2014
David Bowie life on mars

It's whiff, Jim, but not as we know it: Curiosity sniffs ORGANICS on Mars

Two new papers on the latest data from the compact chemistry laboratory aboard nuclear-tank Curiosity show organic compounds in Mars' atmosphere and rocks – and therefore offer tantalizing clues to the Red Planet's watery past. Youtube Video In the past 20 months Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory has sniffed …
Iain Thomson, 17 Dec 2014

Sony sued by ex-staff over daft security, leaked privates

As if Sony Pictures didn't have enough on its plate, now former employees have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Hollywood giant over the parlous state of its security – and to recoup the damage hackers have allegedly caused them. It comes as people claiming to have hacked the movie studio's servers today made bizarre …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2014
Mercury North pole

NASA asks world+dog to name Mercury's craters (back off, 4chan)

There's a chance to enter the history books (or at least a planetary geography atlas) as NASA is asking the public to help name five prominent features on Mercury, the tiny planet closest to the Sun. In 2004 NASA launched Messenger – its MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging probe – the first craft …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2014
Sony Pictures

Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

The Guardians of Peace, the hackers who plundered Sony Pictures' servers, has leaked more data swiped from the movie studio – and threatened a bigger document dump in the run up to Christmas in a set of sinister messages. It comes amid claims the Sony subsidiary's bosses knew its systems had been hacked, and sensitive …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2014

Microsoft, rivals together fight US govt's cloud data snatch

Microsoft has drummed up an impressive amount of support in its fight against the American government – which is demanding access to the US giant's servers in Ireland. Stateside prosecutors are trying to extract emails from systems on non-US soil using a search warrant obtained in a US court, and Microsoft is having none of it. …
Iain Thomson, 15 Dec 2014
LHC cooling

Cool Large Hadron Collider to fire into doubly powerful ring

CERN boffins have started powering up their improved Large Hadron Collider – and say the particle accelerator will fire with twice the energy of its previous run by March. "With this new energy level, the LHC will open new horizons for physics and for future discoveries," said CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. "I'm looking …
Iain Thomson, 15 Dec 2014
Picard Facepalm

Sony Pictures email hack: The bitter 'piracy war' between Google and Hollywood laid bare

Emails obtained after the Sony Pictures hacking attack have revealed just how badly the Motion Picture Ass. of America has been cocking up its fight against piracy. One set of leaked conversations, spotted by TorrentFreak, occurred between Sony studio executives talking about the problem of Google searches showing links to …
Iain Thomson, 13 Dec 2014
Air traffic control at NATS

REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

Analysis London's airspace was effectively shut down on Friday afternoon after a flight data server fell over, the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has confirmed to The Register after multiple sources gave us specific details of the cockup. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or diverted after NATS was forced to restrict the airspace …
Iain Thomson, 12 Dec 2014
President Putin on horseback

Google says NYET! to Putin, pulls techies out of Russia – report

Google has refused to deny that it's pulling its engineering team out of Russia, leaving only sales and marketing people behind. The reported shuttering of Google's engineering office comes after restrictive laws were passed by the Russian parliament that will force the web giant, and others like it, to keep all data on Russians …
Iain Thomson, 12 Dec 2014
storm

This week it rained in San Francisco and the power immediately blew out. Your tech utopia

Opinion It's amazing what 12 hours of something can do. For Silicon Valley, and particularly San Francisco, half a day of heavyish rain that would be described "April, maybe early May," by many Scots Highlanders, has caused massive problems and highlighted again why the area is losing its edge. At about 0730 PT on Thursday, a blown …
Iain Thomson, 12 Dec 2014
Laser weapon aboard USS Ponce

US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf

Pic and video After years of promises the US Navy has deployed its first operational laser cannon, which has been built into the USS Ponce and sent into a combat zone. The 30-kilowatt laser weapon system (LaWS) has been mounted high up on Ponce's superstructure, and a flashy video released by the Navy shows it blowing up parts of boats and a …
Iain Thomson, 11 Dec 2014
flames

Lenov-OUCH! 500,000 laptop cables recalled in burning mains cock-up

Lenovo is recalling about 500,000 AC power cords for its B, G, and V-series laptops and IdeaPads – after 15 cases were reported of the cables overheating, sparking, melting and burning. "Only the AC Power Line Cord is being recalled," Lenovo said on its global recall website. "The Adapter that connects to the computer is not …
Iain Thomson, 11 Dec 2014
Nobel Prize

DNA egghead James Watson sells Nobel prize for $4.8m, gets it back

DNA brainiac James Watson has got his Nobel Prize medal back from Russia’s richest man, who bought the gong from the scientist for $4.8m (£3m). While Watson gets to keep the medal, the money raised is still going to science. Watson, along with coworkers Maurice Wilkins and Francis Crick*, was awarded the Nobel Prize for …
Iain Thomson, 11 Dec 2014

Did rock-hard aliens turn young Earth MOIST? New probe data emerges

Data from Europe's comet-chasing Rosetta probe has cast further doubt on the theory Earth's oceans were seeded by icy space rocks pummeling our planet. In its ten-year game of catchup with Comet 67/P, the craft has been using its Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) to sample stuff flying off the …
Iain Thomson, 11 Dec 2014

'Critical' security bugs dating back to 1987 found in X Window

X.org, which develops the open-source X Window System for Linux and other Unix-y desktops, has warned security flaws have been discovered in the code – and some of them have been hanging around for 27 years. The bugs can be exploited by applications to crash the window system, or run malicious code as the root user if the X …
Iain Thomson, 10 Dec 2014

Parliament face-sit-in to spark mass debate on UK's stiff smut stance

The august members of Blighty's Parliament may have a rather unusual sight to see on Friday: glancing out of their office windows, they could cop an eyeful of pro-porn protesters staging a graphic demonstration of their ire. The rally, planned for 12pm GMT at the Old Palace Yard, concerns the Audiovisual Media Services …
Iain Thomson, 10 Dec 2014

Dirtbags dressed up malware as legit app using Sony crypto-certs

Miscreants were quick to capitalize on the theft of Sony's cryptographic certificates – used to sign a software nasty to make it look legit. An analysis of malware dubbed Destover was published by Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday, and shows the code was signed using a private certificate belonging to Sony to evade malware filters. …
Iain Thomson, 10 Dec 2014

RIP P4ssw0rd? IT giants agree to share patents to rollout two-factor auth

Passwords, right? If they're too weak, they can be worse than useless – but making them too strong means people do dumb things like writing them down or forget them and piss off IT workers with frequent reset requests. Now the FIDO Alliance – whose members include Microsoft, Google, ARM, PayPal, and Lenovo – has published the …
Iain Thomson, 10 Dec 2014
Blackphone

Coming to Blackphone: An app store loaded with privacy tools

Blackphone handsets can download and install a major software update today – ahead of the opening of an online store for privacy-focused apps for the mobes. Blackphone It's cute, it's black, it saves you from attack, it's the Blackphone The Blackphone runs its own hardened version of Android, dubbed PrivatOS, on custom …
Iain Thomson, 09 Dec 2014

Sacre block! French publishers to sue Adblock maker – report

French publishers are reportedly planning to sue Eyeo, the makers of AdBlock Plus, over the upstart's practice of charging money to allow online adverts to pass through its filter software. According to L'Echos, the lawsuit is being considered by the French Internet Advertising Bureau and GESTE, a French publishers and content …
Iain Thomson, 09 Dec 2014
Artist's concept of Curiosity

Mars was a WET mistress: Curiosity probes once-moist bottom

NASA's nuclear-powered Curiosity rover has found evidence the three-mile-high Mount Sharp on Mars was once under a large lake. Mount Sharp lake A few billion years earlier and Curiosity would have needed water wings "We are making headway in solving the mystery of Mount Sharp," said Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger …
Iain Thomson, 08 Dec 2014
The launch explosion, captured in a Sea Launch video

Identity thieves slurp Sony Pictures staff info – as CEO sends 'don't sue me, bro' memo

Criminals are picking through gigabytes of leaked personal information from Sony Pictures' ransacked computer network, triggering identity theft alerts, staff have told The Register. We're told crooks are, as is inevitable these days, mining files dumped online by hackers, who comprehensively compromised the movie studio's …
Iain Thomson, 08 Dec 2014
GTA5

Furious GTA V gamers seek similar ban on violent, misogynistic title: the Holy Bible

Fuming gamers have hit back after Target and Kmart withdrew Grand Theft Auto V from sale in Australia. Last month campaigners started a petition on Change.org to get GTA5 banned by the big-box retail chains, claiming the game "encourages players to murder women for entertainment." The campaigners also claim the game trains …
Iain Thomson, 07 Dec 2014
Hacker image

'We're having panic attacks' ... Sony staff and families now threatened in emails

Sources within Sony Pictures have told The Register that employees received bizarre emails on Friday threatening them and their families if they don't take the side of hackers who raided the firm's corporate servers. The hackers, working under the moniker Guardians of Peace or GOP, have spent the past week dumping onto file- …
Iain Thomson, 06 Dec 2014
Angry Birds for PC

Angry Birds to angry words: Rovio flings 14% of its staff out the door

Troubled Finnish gaming studio Rovio has sacked 110 staff, almost 14 per cent of its workforce, but is claiming success as it had planned to dump 130 people. "Rovio estimates that its workforce will be reduced by approximately 110 employees. As part of its reorganization, several positions have been opened for internal …
Iain Thomson, 05 Dec 2014
cloud

Use Windows software on Android – Microsoft couldn't be app-ier

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made getting Windows apps everywhere via the cloud a central theme of his tenure at the top and next week the next stage will begin in this process when RemoteApp rolls out as a commercial service. Redmond announced RemoteApp at TechEd earlier this year and the system has been in preview for …
Iain Thomson, 05 Dec 2014
Early art on mussel shell

Boffins unearth the ultimate antique art - 500,000 years old

The oldest example of our ancestors' artistic talents has been unearthed, after spending over a century hiding in plain view. Early art on mussel shell Primitive doodle by primitive The artifact in question is a mussel shell found near the bones of a member of the species Homo Erectus in the 1890s by Dutch paleontologist …
Iain Thomson, 05 Dec 2014
snowden SXSW

Snowden files show NSA's AURORAGOLD pwned 70% of world's mobe networks

The NSA, and its British counterpart GCHQ, snooped on innocent telco employees and standards bodies to tap into mobile phone networks worldwide, according to the latest leak from the Edward Snowden archive. The mobile tapping system, dubbed AURORAGOLD, successfully cracked 701 of an estimated 985 cellular networks worldwide, …
Iain Thomson, 04 Dec 2014

Microsoft: So sorry for NOT paying Xbox indie game devs on time

Making computer games can be a hard slog for indie developers. Big studios have piles of R&D and marketing cash, and it's easy to see your pride and joy fall into unplayed obscurity. Microsoft sought to help indie developers with the Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) portal on its Live console marketplace, which was set up six years …
Iain Thomson, 04 Dec 2014
Galileo

Magnifico! Galileo satellite nudged back into correct orbit

The European Space Agency has managed to salvage one of two misplaced Galileo satellites that it is using to build an alternative to the US's GPS system. ESA launched the fifth and sixth satellite that will make up the Galileo constellation on August 22 – but the were sent into the wrong orbit. It was initially thought the …
Iain Thomson, 04 Dec 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft shareholders approve of CEO Satya Nadella's MASSIVE PACKAGE

A revolt by shareholders at Microsoft's annual general meeting over CEO Satya Nadella wages failed to materialize today – and his executive pay package was approved. Company advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services said it had significant concerns over the size of Nadella's package, which it estimated was worth over $90m …
Iain Thomson, 03 Dec 2014

Fort Lauderdale websites DDoSed after Anonymous threats over feeding ban

Municipal websites in Fort Lauderdale, Florida suffered a distributed denial of service attack on Monday after Anonymous promised to disrupt the city's activities following the passing of local laws outlawing the feeding of homeless people. The attack occurred on Monday afternoon and led to massive congestion of the websites of …
Iain Thomson, 03 Dec 2014
Hacker image

An alleged 27GB Sony Pictures data dump. 65 PlayStation web servers. One baffling mystery

Sony PlayStation website servers were used to distribute a 27.78GB archive potentially containing sensitive data swiped from Sony Pictures computers, it's claimed. Until early on Tuesday afternoon, San Francisco time, more than 60 systems seeding the archive on the BitTorrent network appeared to be virtual servers in the Amazon …
Iain Thomson, 03 Dec 2014
Girl with panties off. Credit: Helga Weber

Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance

UK smut-makers will be bound by a new set of rules that bans some forms of sexual behavior – but only when viewed from servers in Blighty. From now on, porno-streaming services in the UK will have to follow the same guidelines as DVDs sold in adult stores across the Queen's realm, which means certain things are out of the …
Iain Thomson, 02 Dec 2014
Antares rocket fails

FOUR, count 'em, FOUR big rockets launching in next seven days

Spaceports are increasingly common these days but, if the coming week is anything to go by, then some sort of rocketry air traffic control could be something the boffins need to sort out. In all, four launches are planned for the coming week, from four different countries. This rate of activity is a reflection of quite how …
Iain Thomson, 02 Dec 2014
Clip Art cartoon of smiling sun

RIP Microsoft Clip Art – now you can fill your slides with web cat pics

Anyone who has sat through as many biz presentations as the average Reg hack will have come to loathe clip art – as so many PHBs think adding a few duff images to a boring PowerPoint shows how hip they are with technology. Now Microsoft has announced it's binning the clip art collection at the heart of this mediocrity. And the …
Iain Thomson, 01 Dec 2014

Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

The FBI has made it no secret that it hates Apple and Google's efforts to encrypt files in your smartphones and tablets. Now court documents have emerged showing just how far the Feds are willing to go to decrypt citizens' data. The paperwork has shown two cases where federal prosecutors have cited the All Writs Act – which was …
Iain Thomson, 01 Dec 2014
Hacker image

Sony employees face 'weeks of pen and paper' after crippling network hack

Sony Pictures still hasn't recovered from a comprehensive attack on its computer networks – and staff have been reduced to doing their work by hand – according to insiders. This notice stuck on lifts at Sony Pictures in London.. pic.twitter.com/RMZcQhjfYI — James Dean (@JamesDeanTimes) November 28, 2014 The infiltration by …
Iain Thomson, 28 Nov 2014
Hayabusa2 gives asteroid asteroid 1999JU3 the horn

Japan pauses asteroid BOMBING raid – still no word from Bruce Willis?

Japan's space agency JAXA has called off the launch of its Hayabusa2 asteroid-mining mission. The plan is to send a probe to a far-flung space rock, blast a hole in it, grab some material, and return it to Earth. However, bad weather on our home world this week has delayed the launch of the gutsy expedition to sometime next …
Iain Thomson, 28 Nov 2014
android tongue

That sub-$100 Android slab you got on Black Friday? RIDDLED with holes, say infosec bods

Those fighting through hordes of fellow crazed bargain junkies this Black Friday should avoid some of the cheapo Android tablets on offer. Security researchers at Bluebox Labs bought a dozen Android fondleslabs, each costing less than $100, and tested them for poor patching, dodgy OS installation, and sloppy security practices …
Iain Thomson, 28 Nov 2014
Lightning

Wireless Power standards are like Highlanders: There can be only ONE

Analysis It has been more than 100 years since the first wireless power systems were demonstrated and the principles are about as well-known as any in the technology field. While wireless networking has been the norm for over a decade, wireless power is still very much in its infancy and is years away from mass adoption. Last week, the …
Iain Thomson, 27 Nov 2014
Sony smartwatch crop

Sony cuff-puter to do one thing smartwatches can't: Give you DAYS of hot wrist action

Sony is to bring out a smartwatch with an e-paper screen that solves one of the biggest wearable shortfalls: battery life. Sources familiar with the project told Bloomberg the gadget will use the entire wrist band to display information, but it will not be as advanced as other arm-slabs on the market. Unlike today's crop of …
Iain Thomson, 27 Nov 2014
Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko on August 8th

Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring

Scientists on the Rosetta comet mission team report they are confident that the Philae lander is not down for the count and should be revived in the spring or summer of next year once it has had a chance to warm up a bit. "We expect to have enough energy to boot around March next year. Then Philae needs to be heated until we can …
Iain Thomson, 27 Nov 2014