Iain Thomson

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Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg asks the public to tell him where to go in 2015

Every year the behoodied prince of Facebook sets himself a personal goal, and this year he’s asking the public to tell him how to spend 2015 doing something new. “Every year I take on a challenge to broaden my perspective and learn something about the world beyond my work at Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote on his public social …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jan 2015
SpaceX barge landing spot

SpaceX six days from historic rocket landing attempt

On January 6, SpaceX will launch a critical supply mission to the International Space Station, but just as important as what is going up is what’ll (hopefully) come down. The CRS-5 mission was due to have taken place this month but the launch was delayed to allow NASA to add vitally needed supplies that were destroyed when …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jan 2015
Opportunity in clean room

NASA preps lobotomy for Opportunity rover to cure amnesia

NASA engineers are preparing a radical fix that could help the Opportunity Mars rover regain its fading faculties and continue its Red Planet mission. The rover, which has spent ten years rolling across the Martian plains, has been having memory problems for the last six months because the cells in its flash memory have been …
Iain Thomson, 31 Dec 2014
Dune sandworm

South Korea says NUCLEAR WORM is nothing to worry about

The South Korean Energy Minister has told the National Assembly that a newly discovered malware outbreak at one of the country's nuclear facilities is no big deal, and is not linked to a more serious breach earlier this month. Yoon Sang-jick said in a committee hearing that investigators had found a malware "worm" in one of the …
Iain Thomson, 30 Dec 2014
anonymousXENUCAKE

DON'T PANIC! Latest Anonymous data dump looks old hat

On the day after Christmas, Anonymous dumped out 13,000 credit card numbers and account details for a host of popular websites, but an analysis of the package by security experts shows that most of the data has been available online for ages. The dump was carried out "for the lulz," according to an Anonymous Twitter account. It …
Iain Thomson, 29 Dec 2014
The thumb of the German Defense Minister

German minister fingered as hacker 'steals' her thumbprint from a PHOTO

Security researchers claimed to have cloned the thumbprint of the German Defense Minister by photographing her hand at a press conference. In a presentation at the annual Chaos Computer Club hacker gathering in Hamburg, Germany, biometrics specialist Jan Krisller – known in the community as "Starbug" – explained how he'd taken a …
Iain Thomson, 29 Dec 2014
Surveillance image of Santa stick-up

NSA's Christmas Eve confession: We unlawfully spied on you for 12 years, soz

Slipping out unpleasant news at awkward times is a well-known PR practice – but the NSA has excelled itself by publishing on Christmas Eve internal reports detailing its unlawful surveillance. The agency dumped the docs online shortly after lunchtime on December 24, when most journalists are either heading home to their families …
Iain Thomson, 26 Dec 2014
Tesla Roadster

Tesla parades sleek model body and fab batt at Roadster fans

Elon Musk's Earth-bound transport company has upgraded its two-seater Roadster sports car design with a better battery – and a new body that will increase the range of the flash motors by up to 50 per cent, apparently. "Battery technology has continued a steady improvement in recent years, as has our experience in optimizing …
Iain Thomson, 26 Dec 2014
Kim Dotcom at Christmas

Dotcom 'saved' Xmas for Xbox – but no one can save Sony's titsup PlayStation Network

Updated A string of denial-of-service attacks that took down Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Christmas Day appear to have stopped – and New Zealand-based file-sharing baron Kim Dotcom claims the ceasefire is all thanks to him. The portly polymath tweeted on December 25 that he was peeved at not being able to play Destiny on …
Iain Thomson, 26 Dec 2014
Facebook privacy image

Judge kills Facebook's bid to dismiss private message sniffing case

A California judge has turned down Facebook's motion to dismiss a class-action suit against the company from users who are aggrieved that the social network was truffling through their private messages for advertising purposes. Facebook users Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley filed the suit 12 months ago claiming that the …
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014

Ireland: Hey, you. America. Hands off Microsoft's email cloud servers

The Irish government today supported Microsoft in its ongoing fight against US prosecutors – who appear to want access to server hard drives anywhere in the world. Microsoft has garnered serious backing from the technology industry in its case against American investigators. The Feds believe they have the right to access emails …
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014
Hybrid aircraft

Cambridge boffins and Boeing fly first hybrid airplane over British skies

Video The first hydrocarbon/electric aircraft has taken to the skies over Southern England as part of trials to find out if such combo systems have a place in aviation's future. Youtube Video The aircraft, a heavily modified microlight, uses a conventional four-stroke petrol engine as its main power source and an electric motor …
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014
Facepalm by Ron Mander

FCC: A few (680,000) net neutrality comments lost in 'XML gaffe'

The US Federal Communications Commission misplaced a huge tranche of public comments on its net neutrality proposals – and has blamed its outdated IT system. Four million missives were submitted via the FCC's website and in emails to staff; comments could be submitted in PDF, CSV, or plain text formats, and were converted into …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
Starbucks free Wi-Fi UK

Hilton, Marriott and co want permission to JAM guests' personal Wi-Fi

Top hotel chains want permission in the US to disrupt guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots – a move that would force people to use expensive hotel wireless instead. The hoteliers, including Hilton and Marriott, have urged US watchdog the FCC to allow them to cripple mobile hotspots because, they claim, such devices interfere with …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
NuStar's view of the Sun

NASA's 'crazy' plan yields dramatic pictures of our X-ray Sun

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) was designed to probe the distant galaxy looking for black holes, but NASA has recently been aiming the orbiting instrument at the Sun to get a close-up view of our star's atmosphere. "At first I thought the whole idea was crazy," said Fiona Harrison, principal investigator for …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
Kim Jong-un

Norks' internet goes TITSUP in possible DDoS attack

If the North Koreans really do have an elite hacking squad, it'll be twiddling its thumbs at the moment, as all internet activity in the country has gone dark in an outage that bears the hallmarks of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. "In the last 24 hours the signal has been getting worse and worse and today it went …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2014
Google car

Google's first stab at control-free ROBOT car rolls off the line

The engineering wizards in Google's workshops have unveiled the Chocolate Factory's first attempt at a completely control-free robot car, where passengers entrust themselves entirely to the machine. In May, Google announced it was going to start building cars without pedals or a steering wheel to test out the practicalities of …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2014
Artist's concept of Kepler 22b

Kepler's STILL GOT IT! Space telescope spots SUPER-EARTH 180 light years away

The Kepler space telescope might be damaged goods, but the clever hacks created by NASA's boffins have kept it running and it has spotted a new – if distant – planet that could harbor water, just like Earth. "Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kepler has been reborn and is continuing to make discoveries. Even better, the …
Iain Thomson, 20 Dec 2014
Google UK office logos

Google sues Mississippi Attorney General 'for doing MPAA's dirty work'

Google is taking legal action against the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging he exceeded his authority in suing the ad giant over piracy – and taking his cues from the Motion Picture Ass. of America. In October 2013, Hood filed a subpoena against Google, accusing the web ad giant of encouraging online piracy, …
Iain Thomson, 20 Dec 2014
The North Korean computer system

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

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has claimed 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 …
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