Iain Thomson

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An Amazon Prime Air drone

Amazon fires rocket up FAA for dithering on drone approval

Amazon has been complaining to US Congress about Uncle Sam's Federal Aviation Authority dragging its feet over rules that would allow commercial drones to operate in America's skies. Last week the FAA gave Amazon permission to carry out drone test flights, which the cloud giant hopes to use for ferrying small packages for its …
Iain Thomson, 25 Mar 2015
Mounties

Snowden dump details Canadian spies running false flag ops online

While the NSA headlines most of Ed Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance, the latest leaked documents reveal the Canadians are a dab hand at cyber-stuff, both defensive and offensive. Top-secret files, published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Intercept, show that Canuck intelligence has developed its own …
Iain Thomson, 24 Mar 2015
Unlocked padlock

Hawk like an Egyptian: Google is HOPPING MAD over fake SSL certs

Updated Google says security biz MCS Holdings has created unauthorized SSL certificates for some Google-owned websites. Anyone with these dodgy certificates could, in theory, set up a web server that masquerades as a legit Google site, and redirect people to the fake site by hijacking their DNS. Chrome and the latest Firefox web …
Iain Thomson, 24 Mar 2015
Azure App Service

Microsoft's three-way only goes one way: Backends merge into Azure App Service

Microsoft is merging its Azure Websites, Mobile Services, and BizTalk Services into a single service: Azure App Service. The Windows giant hopes the embiggened beast will woo developers to craft applications for all manner of things from smartphones and fondleslabs to desktop web browsers, all deployed from Redmond's cloud. " …
Iain Thomson, 24 Mar 2015
picard

Premera healthcare: US govt security audit gave hacked biz thumbs up

Serious doubt has been cast on the US government's data security regulations after Premera Blue Cross was declared secure by Uncle Sam – just months before the healthcare giant was ransacked for financial and medical information by hackers. The biz underwent a computer security audit by a federal watchdog in January 2014, was …
Iain Thomson, 23 Mar 2015
DJI Phantom 2 Drone

Drug drone not high enough: Brit lags' copter snared on prison wire

The first recorded attempt to smuggle drugs into a British prison using a drone has ended in failure – after the gear-bearing gizmo got tangled in razor wire. "We were called to reports that a small drone had been discovered alongside a package in netting above a perimeter wall at HMP Bedford at 11.30pm on March 6," a …
Iain Thomson, 23 Mar 2015

Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari EXPLOITED to OWN Mac, PCs at Pwn2Own 2015

Security vulns in every one of the big four web browsers were exploited at the Pwn2Own hacking contest on Friday to remotely execute arbitrary code on Windows PCs. Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer all fell to the skills of the competition entrants, some in less than a second. All the vulnerabilities exploited will …
Iain Thomson, 21 Mar 2015
jail

Silk Road coder turned dealer turned informant gets five years

A programmer turned drug dealer turned government informant has been sentenced to five years in prison after being caught up in the Silk Road shutdown. Steven Sadler, 40, was arrested at his home in Bellevue, Washington on July 31, 2013 by members of the Department of Homeland Security. Police found over a kilogram of cocaine …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2015
Tesla Model D

AUTOPILOT: Musk promises Tesla owners a HANDS-OFF hands-on

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk has claimed that an update to the software in his all-electric cars will seemingly magically turn them into self-driving autonomous vehicles. In a conference call with journalists on Thursday, Musk said that in about three months, Tesla will push out version 7.0 of the cars' operating system, and …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2015
putin topless

Kaspersky Lab hits back at Bloomberg's Russian spy link hit piece

Russian computer security biz Kaspersky Lab is working closely with Russia's intelligence services and gathering information on its customers, it has been claimed. An exposé, published by Bloomberg, details allegations that since 2012 Kaspersky has been replacing senior management staff with those close to the Russian Federal …
Iain Thomson, 19 Mar 2015

Hackers prove security still a myth on Windows PCs, bag $320,000

Day one of the 2015 Pwn2Own hacking contest in Vancouver, Canada, saw big wins for contestants and headaches for software makers: competing teams successfully exploited fresh vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Reader, Microsoft's Windows and Internet Explorer, and Mozilla's Firefox, to hijack PCs. The competition, now in its …
Iain Thomson, 19 Mar 2015
Crop of doctor with pen and clipboard

Premera Blue Cross is sick after hackers plunder their servers

Health insurance firm Premera Blue Cross has admitted that it has become the latest victim of data theft after hackers targeted its IT department's servers in what's been dubbed a "sophisticated attack". On May 5 last year online hackers successfully penetrated Premera's defenses and cracked servers containing personal, …
Iain Thomson, 19 Mar 2015
Sir Terry Pratchett

Web geeks grant immortality to Sir Terry Pratchett – using smuggled web code

The death of Sir Terry Pratchett last week left many fans bereft, but some canny geeks have devised a system to ensure his name lives on in everyday web traffic. In Pratchett's 2004 book Going Postal, the deceased inventor of the "clacks," a form of communications system for sending data over large distances, is immortalized by …
Iain Thomson, 18 Mar 2015
Chinese fence

The West's cloud giants toss escape rope over Great Firewall – and China's not happy

The Chinese government is clamping down on cloud services provided by some of the world's biggest tech companies because they are being used to evade the Great Firewall. Activists outside China have admitted that they use US cloud providers like Microsoft and Amazon to hide encrypted packets in seemingly innocuous accounts in …
Iain Thomson, 18 Mar 2015
Larry Ellison

Oracle in dollar bother – but Larry's in a fighting mood over cloudy future

Larry Ellison appears unbothered by Oracle's third-quarter revenues remaining flat at US$9.3bn, despite that sum disappointing financial analysts. Big Red revealed its recent results today, and GAAP net income for the three-month period ended February 28 was $2.5bn, down three per cent year on year, or 56 cents per share. …
Iain Thomson, 18 Mar 2015
Monty Python death peasant collector

Internet Explorer LIVES ON, cackle sneaky Microsoft engineers

Microsoft is rumoured to have killed off its nearly 20-year-old Internet Explorer browser – but the firm has told The Register there's life in the old code yet. At the Microsoft Convergence conference in Atlanta, US, on Monday, Microsoft's marketing chief Chris Capossela appeared to suggest the recently announced Project Spartan …
Iain Thomson, 18 Mar 2015
Percentage of mobile malware on Android

Google adds evil-code scanning to Play Store

Google is cleaning up its app store to limit the amount of malware and age-inappropriate content. For the past two months the advertising giant has been quietly running a new scan of all applications for code that breaks its terms of service. Today it announced the program's existence, noting that the scanning is both automatic …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2015
AeroMobil

Flying cars will take to the skies in 2017, if government allows

A Czech firm thinks it's finally solved one of the tech world's most desirable objects, the flying car, and says the first consumer vehicles will be ready to lift off by 2017, government regulations permitting. Youtube Video Speaking at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, the AeroMobil company founder Juraj …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2015
stopwatch

FCC takes three-month pause to consider massive telecoms mergers

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced it's pausing before making a decision over the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) and AT&T's gobbling of DirecTV, citing legal issues. The agency planned to announce the results of its three-month review of both mergers at the end of March, but has …
Iain Thomson, 16 Mar 2015
Artist's conception of a watery asteroid being torn apart white dwarf GD 61

NASA wants you to help space mining corp strip mine the Solar System

NASA is crowdsourcing the hunt for asteroids in Earth's purview, and has teamed up with the proposed space mining corporation Planetary Resources to use your spare compute time to the project. Last year the Planetary Resources visited hipster festival SXSW to announce the Asteroid Data Hunter challenge, a $55,000 competition for …
Iain Thomson, 16 Mar 2015
Bigelow module on the ISS

SpaceX to deliver Bigelow blow-up job to ISS astronauts

Vid + pic Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace has been showing off the latest addition to the International Space Station: an inflatable module that will be used as a lounge and test facility in orbit. Youtube Video The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is a 13ft by 10ft inflatable capsule that will be lofted up to the ISS as part of …
Iain Thomson, 14 Mar 2015
teslacrypt

Gamers! Ransomware will scramble your save files unless you cough up $1,000

Researchers have spotted malware that targets gamers, and threatens to trash their in-game progress unless they pay up. teslacrypt target files Of the 185 file types encrypted, games are Teslacrypt's top target The software nasty, dubbed Teslacrypt, works in the same way as traditional ransomware like Cryptolocker. It …
Iain Thomson, 13 Mar 2015
Jamie Oliver

Telly chef Jamie Oliver in embarrassing infection double shocker

Mockney chef Jamie Oliver is a wizard at cooking – but his website team isn't exactly cordon bleu standard, as his webpages have put steaming dishes of malware back on the menu. Last month, researchers at security firm Malwarebytes found jamieoliver.com was hosting an exploit kit that could dish up malware to visitors looking …
Iain Thomson, 13 Mar 2015
Ganymede

ALIEN LIFE drenched in HOT FLUID on Jupiter's Ganymede – is that so?

The Hubble space telescope is usually eyeing up far away galaxies, but a novel technique has allowed it to peer inside the largest moon in our Solar System – and find signs of water. Jupiter's Ganymede is massive, about twice the size of Earth's moon, and has both an iron core and its own magnetosphere. Just as with Earth, that …
Iain Thomson, 13 Mar 2015
USB bomb

Forget viruses: Evil USB drive 'fries laptops with a power surge'

Security experts have been warning for years about the dangers of USB sticks as a conduit for malware, but a Russian researcher has bragged about coming up with a more direct method for borking a computer – with old-fashioned electricity. The idea is cunningly simple but fiendish, and reminds us of the Etherkiller: the …
Iain Thomson, 12 Mar 2015
Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Obit Sir Terry Pratchett has left us at the age of 66, but he has gifted the next generation a massive archive of fiction and non-fiction that will delight, amuse and inform readers for years to come. It's a sad day at the El Reg offices, many of us were devoted fans. He was born on April 28, 1948, and wrote fiction as a teen. At 17 …
Iain Thomson, 12 Mar 2015
Sir Terry Pratchett

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

Sir Terry Pratchett, author of more than 70 books including the hugely popular Discworld series, has died at his home in the company of his family and cat. He was 66. Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night. — Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) March 12, 2015 …
Iain Thomson, 12 Mar 2015
Hello Barbie

Mattel urged to scrap Wi-Fi mic Barbie after Register investigation

Privacy activists are urging Mattel to axe its Hello Barbie doll, which sends recordings of children's voices across the internet for voice-recognition analysis. The improbably proportioned doll is fitted with a small embedded computer, a microphone, a speaker and a Wi-Fi interface. When the toy's belt buckle is pressed, Barbie …
Iain Thomson, 12 Mar 2015
MIlky Way

Does my star look big in this? Milky Way 50 per cent fatter than expected

Vid The Milky Way galaxy could be up to 50 per cent wider than the previously estimated – a whopping 150,000 light years across, potentially – according to boffins. "In essence, what we found is that the disk of the Milky Way isn't just a disk of stars in a flat plane: it's corrugated," said Heidi Newberg, professor of physics, …
Iain Thomson, 11 Mar 2015

Google chips at Amazon's Glacier with Cloud Storage Nearline

Google wants to take a chunk out of Amazon's Glacier storage business with a cloud-based archive service that can start retrieving data in three seconds. The Google Cloud Storage Nearline service, now in beta, charges one cent per GB per month for data at rest. "Many of you operate a tiered data storage and archival process, in …
Iain Thomson, 11 Mar 2015
picard

Android SDK nonce flaw lets hackers fiddle with your Dropbox privates

IBM's security team has found an unsettling flaw that can leave the Dropbox accounts of mobile users wide open to snooping by attackers. The researchers spotted some sloppy coding in Dropbox's SDK Version 1.5.4 for Android. Applications that link to Dropbox accounts using the SDK may be vulnerable, owing to a flaw that can allow …
Iain Thomson, 11 Mar 2015
Fake Apple Watch

Can't pay $349 for an Apple Watch? Get a Chinese knockoff for less than $50

China's legendary counterfeit craftsmen have been quick on the draw and are selling rip-off Apple Watch lookalikes for a fraction of the price, even though Cook & Co haven't shipped any devices as yet. "These guys are specialists," Laurent Le Pen, founder of Shenzhen smartwatch maker Omate, told CNN. "The speed at which they can …
Iain Thomson, 10 Mar 2015
A hammer and bent screw

Ouch! Google crocks capacitors and deviates DRAM to root Linux

Last summer Google gathered a bunch of leet security researchers as its Project Zero team and instructed them to find unusual zero-day flaws. They've had plenty of success on the software front – but on Monday announced a hardware hack that's a real doozy. The technique, dubbed "rowhammer", rapidly writes and rewrites memory to …
Iain Thomson, 10 Mar 2015
Liam Neeson Taken

Never escape the boss again: Salesforce tracks down your best people any time, any place

Salesforce is adding new "intelligent" software to its CRM system that hunts down the right sales or support staffer for a particular task no matter where they are. "The Service Cloud Intelligence Engine harnesses the power of data science to improve workflows, business processes and deliver seamless customer service across any …
Iain Thomson, 09 Mar 2015
Saudi Snapchat meeting

Teen sex pic swap shop SnapChat seeks Saudi cash to keep selfies flowing

Bosses at selfie-swapping upstart Snapchat spent the weekend in Saudi Arabia seeking investment from the Warren Buffett of the Middle East: Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. The self-destructing-photo app biz is looking for about $500m, and hopes the prince – a member of Saudi Arabia's ruling royal family – can chip in a few million …
Iain Thomson, 09 Mar 2015
big droplets falling from rain cloud

Bank of America wants to shove its IT into an OpenCompute cloud. What could go wrong?

Selling hardware to the financial industry used to be a cash cow for big-name server makers, but they will be getting short shrift from Bank of America, which is shifting its IT into a white-box-powered, software-defined cloud. "I worry that some of the partners that we work closely with won't be able to make this journey," …
Iain Thomson, 07 Mar 2015
Spam

BILLION email address spam scam: Feds collar two blokes, hunt another

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has shed light on what it's calling the largest computer security breach in American history – after three men were charged with hacking email hosting firms, stealing email addresses, and then using the businesses' data centers to run a spam operation. "These men — operating from Vietnam, the …
Iain Thomson, 06 Mar 2015
Ceres

Will NASA's Dawn spot ALIEN LIFE on asteroid belt dwarf world Ceres?

Vid + Pic After seven years, and more than three billion miles of travel, the Dawn spacecraft has been captured by the gravity of the Solar System's dwarf planet Ceres. The NASA probe entered a stable orbit at 0439 PST (1239 UTC) on Friday. "We feel exhilarated," said Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission at the …
Iain Thomson, 06 Mar 2015
VR

AMD LiquidVR toolkit takes the vomit out of virtual reality

AMD, always the more graphics-minded of the two x86 powerhouses behind PCs, is gearing up to cash in on the virtual reality craze with a developer kit that should smooth out some of the problems with the nascent technology. The LiquidVR SDK release by the chipmeisters is aimed at solving some of the basic problems with VR as it …
Iain Thomson, 06 Mar 2015
Google car

Bad news: Robo-cars will make you work BILLIONS more hours. Good news: In 2040

A new report from management consultants McKinsey & Co. suggests the widespread adoption of autonomous cars will save billions of man-hours a year (or make us all work more hours, depending on your outlook) but not for a while. The dossier notes that software-driven vehicles are already in use commercially. Mining conglomerate …
Iain Thomson, 05 Mar 2015
Intel NUC

Intel slaps Iris Pro GPUs into Core i7 silicon to woo desktop gamers

Intel is bunging its Iris Pro graphics circuits into its fifth-generation "Broadwell" Core i7 processor to catch the eyes of gamers. And the chip giant has been working with Microsoft and GPU toolkit-maker Raptr to optimize game code. At a press shindig during this year's Games Developer Conference in San Francisco, Pete Baker, …
Iain Thomson, 05 Mar 2015
Frontier Developments' Elite:Dangerous Logo

Frontier promises it won't 'dumb down' Elite: Dangerous for Xbox

The Elite: Dangerous massively multiplayer online role-playing game is breaking its reliance on the PC and coming to consoles, but maker Frontier Developments has told players not to panic – there'll be no compromises made in the translation. "I've said we'd be mad not to consider bringing Elite: Dangerous to console. Well, that …
Iain Thomson, 05 Mar 2015
Homo jaw

Boffins find Earth's earliest Homo in Ethiopian hilltop

It looks like mankind's earliest ancestors go back a lot further than first thought. After 13 years digging in the Rift Valley region of Ethiopia, team of researchers have found a 2.8-million-year-old jawbone from our genus. Creatures of the genus Homo were thought to have evolved around two million years ago, producing various …
Iain Thomson, 05 Mar 2015
Stegosaurus

Sophie the Stegosaurus was a teenaged fat lass claims triple-D model

Pic + vid Scientists at the Natural History Museum have used 3D models to work out what its famous Stegosaurus would have weighed when she was alive. And the answer is: a lot. The dino exists today at the London museum as a skeleton nicknamed Sophie after the daughter of the hedge fund manager who bought the ancient bones. It is the most …
Iain Thomson, 04 Mar 2015

FREAK show: Apple and Android SSL WIDE OPEN to snoopers

Security researchers are warning of a flaw in OpenSSL and Apple's SecureTransport – a hangover from the days when the US government was twitchy about the spread of cryptography. It's a flaw that allows an attacker to decrypt your login cookies, and other sensitive information, from your HTTPS connections if you use a vulnerable …
Iain Thomson, 03 Mar 2015
Exploded iPhone

'Fry-OS 8' iPhone BLEW UP MY PANTS wails roasted Johnson

A bloke on Long Island, New York, claims an iPhone 5C exploded in his pants, putting him in hospital for 10 days with second and third-degree burns. Incredible, isn't it? Someone bought an iPhone 5C. Apple has told The Register it is investigating the pocket bomb allegation. Erik Johnson, 29, who works as an escalator and …
Iain Thomson, 03 Mar 2015
David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

The spy who leaked me: Ex-CIA boss Petraeus 'fesses up to blabbing intel to his mistress

The US Department of Justice has reached a settlement with General David Petraeus allowing the former military leader and ex-head of the CIA to avoid prison for handing over classified information to his lover. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge: one count of unauthorized removal and retention of …
Iain Thomson, 03 Mar 2015

Forget 1,000 lashes for Facebook posts, Saudis now want to behead blogger Raif Badawi

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for announcing he is an atheist on Facebook – may now be beheaded by his government. "We have received information from reliable sources that there are attempts within the Penal Court to retry ‪‎Raif Badawi‬ on apostasy charges again," his wife said in …
Iain Thomson, 03 Mar 2015
Android 5.0 "Lollipop"

Google's 'encrypted-by-default' Android is NOT encrypting by default

Updated Last year, Google said Android 5, codenamed Lollipop, will encrypt the contents of smartphones and tablets by default. Now it's had to do some backtracking. In short, despite Google's boasts that Lollipop will encrypt handhelds' data by default "out of the box," that simply isn't being enforced on all devices running Android 5. …
Iain Thomson, 02 Mar 2015
SpaceX launches electric satellites into orbit

SpaceX lofts two all-electric ion-drive comsats to Clarke orbit

Pics Another month, another successful SpaceX launch. This time, a Falcon 9 sent into orbit a twin set of communications satellites that eschew chemical-engine propellant in favor of solar power. Typically, half the weight of a satellite is its propulsion fuel, used to maneuver it into position once in space. However, the two just- …
Iain Thomson, 02 Mar 2015