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Iain Thomson

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Amazon snubs FTC: We'll see you in court over kids' in-app cash blowouts

Amazon has said it won't acquiesce to the Federal Trade Commission's plans to punish it for not preventing kids from running up in-app purchases on mummy and daddy's credit card. The FTC is seeking a punitive fine from Amazon, similar to the one levied on Apple. The agency says Amazon wasn't quick enough to crack down on …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jul 2014

EFF sues NSA over snoops 'hoarding' zero-day security bugs

Intelligence agencies are among the most prolific buyers of zero-day computer security flaws that can be used to spy on enemies foreign and domestic, or so it's claimed – and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a lawsuit to find out what exactly they are doing with them. "Since these vulnerabilities potentially …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jul 2014
Buncefield fire scene

Sorry, chaps! We didn't mean to steamroller legit No-IP users – Microsoft

Microsoft has admitted that it did disrupt a significant number of legitimate users of No-IP's dynamic DNS service, but says the problem is now sorted out. "Yesterday morning, Microsoft took steps to disrupt a cyber-attack that surreptitiously installed malware on millions of devices without their owners' knowledge through the …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jul 2014
Picard Facepalm

PayPal says sorry: Fat fingers froze fundraiser for anti-spy ProtonMail

PayPal has lifted its embargo on ProtonMail, the Swiss startup raising funds via Indiegogo to build a communications system hardened against surveillance. The payment giant claims the account freeze wasn't a matter of policy, but a simple cock-up. We are happy to announce that @PayPal has restored our account access. Thanks …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jul 2014
Super Earth

SUPER EARTH possibly home to life FOUND in our 'solar backyard'

A team led by Australian astronomers has discovered a huge planet relatively close to Earth that resides in the so-called Goldilocks zone, where conditions are right for liquid water to exist on the surface. GJ 832 c has a mass about five times that of Earth and orbits a red dwarf star every 16 days. The newly discovered planet …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jul 2014

Microsoft's anti-malware crusade knackers '4 MILLION' No-IP users

Microsoft has won a court order to gain control of 23 No-IP domains owned by dynamic DNS (DDNS) provider Vitalwerks Internet Solutions. The US software giant claimed the domains were being used by malware developed in the Middle East and Africa. Vitalwerks operates its No-IP DDNS service from Nevada, and there is no suggestion …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jul 2014
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Using Android 4.3? Don't let malware snatch your private login keys

If you're one of the 10.3 per cent of Android users running version 4.3, aka Jelly Bean, your login keys are at risk of theft – thanks to a vulnerability in the operating system's KeyStore software. KeyStore, as the name suggests, stores a user's cryptographic keys, which are used by apps to log into services without the user …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jun 2014
LG G Smartwatch running Android Wear

What's it like using the LG G smartwatch and Android Wear? Let us tell YOU

Wearable computing has been generating a lot of buzz ever since Pebble and others kickstarted the market last year and now the world's most popular smartphone OS builder has skin in the game and serious hardware partners. LG G Smartwatch running Android Wear LG G Smartwatch running Android Wear For months now the world + dog …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jun 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

Surprise! NSA's first ever 'transparency' 'report' is anything but

The US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has published the NSA's first "transparency report", revealing the number of "targets" spied on by the agency. Its definition of the word transparency, however, makes the data somewhat hard to fathom. "Within the Intelligence Community, the term 'target' has multiple …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2014

MPAA, meet the Streisand effect: Picture ass. slaps Reddit with takedown

The Motion Picture Ass. of America has shot itself in the foot by issuing a copyright takedown notice against a corner of Reddit – and promptly turned a virtually unused subredit into a popular forum. The discussion board, /r/FullLengthFilms, is a place for Redditors to post links to films available for streaming or download, …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2014
The US Cyber Command official seal

What is ex-NSA spyboss selling for $1m a month, asks US congressman

Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) is pushing for a formal investigation into the activities of General Keith Alexander now that the former head of the NSA has started his own very expensive security consultancy. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Gen Alexander. Last week it was reported that Alexander, who retired from …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2014
Google protest at Moscone Center

Occupy Google: Protesters attack ad giant as I/O gets underway

Google's I/O dev conference is traditionally a time when the company basks in the love of its community: but some other Bay Area residents have been making their displeasure with the Chocolate Factory known in a very vocal fashion. Occupy Google protestors "Give me a G..." A group working under the hashtag Occupy Google …

I/O NOOOOO!!! We sat through Google's bum numbing 3-hour keynote so you didn't have to

Google has kicked off its annual developer conference with a three-hour keynote in which the search kingpin explained where it's taking Android next: namely, your wrist, your car, your living room, and beyond. It was long enough to trouble your correspondent's laptop battery. Sundar Pichai, Google's head of Android division, …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2014

Supercomputing speed growth hits 'historical low' in new TOP500 list

There be merriment in the Middle Kingdom: the Tianhe-2 supercomputer at China's National University of Defense Technology is the most powerful datacruncher on the planet (that we know about) for the third time in a row. The TOP500 list, published every six months, noted that the Chinese system hit 33.86 petaflops on the Linpack …
Iain Thomson, 25 Jun 2014

Google offers $150 gift card for Chromebook Pixel data shutoff

Google has chosen to issue gift cards to customers who spent $1,449 on a shiny Chromebook Pixel with free Verizon LTE data only to find that the telco decided to ditch the offer early. At launch, the Pixel was touted as coming with two years of free LTE data from Verizon. Admittedly you only got 100MB a month, but that's enough …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2014

EXPOSED: Massive mobile malware network used by cops globally

A probe by Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and computer security firm Kaspersky Lab has uncovered a massive network of mobile malware for all phone types that is sold by an Italian firm to police forces around the world. The malware, dubbed Remote Control System (RCS), was produced by a company called Hacking Team. It …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2014
Curiosity looking good on first Martian birthday

One amazing reason why NASA boffins are celebrating Curiosity's 687th day on Mars

As Curiosity trundles across the plains of Mars, its controllers at NASA are preparing to hold a bit of a party – as on June 24 the rover celebrates its first full Martian year (687 Earth days) on the Red Planet. Curiosity looking good on first Martian birthday Curiosity is looking good on its first Martian birthday The rover …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2014
Bus jam

MIT boffins build 36 core processor with data-traffic smarts

Researchers at MIT say they have successfully built a 36-core processor that uses an internal networking system to get maximum data throughput from all the processing cores. MIT's new multicore, multi-bus, chip MIT's new multicore, multi-bus chip The design, unveiled at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture, …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2014
Reg man wears Google Glass

Google starts selling Glass to Brits – for £1,000 a pop

Google is opening up the sale of its Glass head-mounted computers to customers outside the US for the first time, and the UK is the first country to get them. "Beginning today, we're extending our open beta Explorer program to the UK. The world sees the UK as a center (actually, a centre) of innovation," said the Chocolate …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2014
orbcomm

Engineering fault stops SpaceX launch of machine comms satellite network

Elon Musk might have a tight timetable to get humans to Mars, but his SpaceX booster company is behind schedule on its current launch calendar, thanks to an engineering glitch. With minutes to go before launch at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX's latest Falcon rocket was shut down after engineers spotted pressure fluctuations in the unit …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jun 2014

D-Wave disputes benchmark study showing sluggish quantum computer

Quantum computing device manufacturer D-Wave is disputing a recently published study that claims the Canadian firm's systems aren't reliably faster than more-conventional computing systems. On Thursday an international team of computer scientists published a widely previewed paper in Science detailing a series of benchmark tests …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jun 2014
Surface Pro kickstand

Microsoft hopes for FONDLESLAB FRENZY as Surface Pro 3 debuts

As expected, Microsoft has started sales of its latest iteration of its Surface Pro, hoping that it'll be third-time's a charm for Redmond's attempts to seduce fondleslab buyers into the joys of Windows 8. "I'm pretty pumped today, because Surface Pro 3 – the tablet that can replace your laptop – is now on sale at retail stores …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jun 2014

Google, Microsoft to add remote KILL switch to phones

Pressure from US lawmakers has convinced Microsoft and Google to add a kill switch to their smartphone operating systems in a move to deter the larcenous. The pressure came from "Secure our Smartphones" (SOS), an organization set up by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jun 2014

Hackers reverse-engineer NSA spy kit using off-the-shelf parts

Last year Edward Snowden leaked the NSA's Advanced Network Technology catalog, a listing of the hardware and software tools the agency makes available to agents for spying. Now enterprising security experts are using the catalog to build similar tools using available electronics. The team, led by Michael Ossmann of Great Scott …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2014
John Legere

T-Mobile boss: 'High and mighty' Verizon and AT&T are 'raping you for every penny you have'

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is outspoken at the best of times, but went further than ever before in his criticism of the conduct of Verizon and AT&T in the US market at the company's latest Un-carrier initiative launch. "These high and mighty duopolists that are raping you for every penny you have," Legere said. "The fuckers hate …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2014

Elon Musk: Just watch me – I'll put HUMAN BOOTS on Mars by 2026

Electrocar and rocket tycoon Elon Musk says he'll put the first human beings on Mars well before the 2020s are finished – and also promised to float his SpaceX firm on Earth stock exchanges once the interplanetary mission gets underway. "I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jun 2014
Winnie-the-Pooh honey

FTC seeks DEFCON help to finger illegal robocallers

The Federal Trade Commission is to host a cash competition at this year's DEFCON hacking conference in Las Vegas, with the goal of building a honeypot that can lure in robocallers and allow technologists to analyze how to block them in the future. "Honeypots have been used extensively among information security specialists, but …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2014

FBI arrests claims NullCrew hacker in Tennessee takedown

The FBI has arrested a Tennessee man on computer crime charges, claiming he is a key player in the NullCrew hacking squad that attacked businesses and educational institutions from 2012 onwards. Court filings claim Timothy Justin French, 20, is known online as "Orbit", and took part in hacking attacks against two US universities …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2014

Tech companies are raising their game (and pants) post-Snowden

If there’s a positive to the disclosures by ex-National Security Contractor (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, it’s that it’s been a disaster for technology and internet firms. Yes, a positive. In the last year we’ve learned the NSA has backdoors placed in the hardware that makes networks, the existence of massive funnels placed …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jun 2014
Cisco CEO John Chambers speaking at Cisco Live! 2014

John Chambers sold millions of shares on first day of Cisco Live!

Paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that as Cisco's CEO was wandering around the Moscone Center keynote room delivering his annual address to the Cisco Live! Conference, his brokers were selling shares in the company hand over fist. According to the latest SEC Form 4 filing, Chambers sold 2,050,000 …
Iain Thomson, 24 May 2014
Project Tango handsets

Google could make two for Tango with 3D tablet plans

Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group has already announced plans for a smartphone dubbed Project Tango that can map out 3D environments, but a report suggests the same technology will be built into a line of tablets as well. According to The Wall Street Journal, the boffins at ATAP have designed a seven-inch …
Iain Thomson, 23 May 2014

US skywatchers get Earth's first peek at new meteor shower

Astronomers, both professional and amateur, are gearing up for the first glimpse of a meteor shower as our planet moves thought the trail of a recently discovered visitor from the stars. Comet 209P/LINEAR was first spotted in 2004, and was first thought to be a large asteroid or minor planet – but as it fell sunwards it began to …
Iain Thomson, 23 May 2014
Carmack Oculus

Oculus boss: True virtual reality is 'a decade or two' away

Fans of William Gibson who want their own pair of virtual reality sunglasses will have to wait a lot longer to realize their dreams, according to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe. Iribe said that his company only reached the first level of acceptable virtual reality around eight months ago using their well-known skiing-goggle headset. …
Iain Thomson, 22 May 2014
barney

MIPS maneuvers for world+dog adoption with open source foundation

A new open source non-profit foundation dubbed prpl (pronounced purple) has been set up in an effort to promote the use of the MIPS architecture in everything from data centers to individual devices. The foundation is the brainchild of Imagination Technologies, which acquired MIPS in February 2013. Imagination has signed up …
Iain Thomson, 22 May 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

Congress guts law to restrict NSA spying, civil liberty groups appalled

Civil liberties groups have reacted angrily after Congress changed key provisions in the USA FREEDOM Act before submitting it to a full vote by the House of Representatives, scheduled for Thursday. "This legislation was designed to prohibit bulk collection, but has been made so weak that it fails to adequately protect against …
Iain Thomson, 21 May 2014
Google Toilet Paper

Google hit by class action lawsuit over claimed AdSense fraud

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Google over allegations by a claimed former employee that the Chocolate Factory is defrauding users of its AdSense platform. The legal action, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday, claims that Google knowingly canceled the AdSense accounts …
Iain Thomson, 21 May 2014
ISEE-3 hackers prepare to reboot spacecraft

Space hackers prepare to reactivate antiquated spacecraft

A team of space enthusiasts has picked up the first new contact with International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) probe and is preparing to fire its boosters for the first time since 1987, after a team of privateers crowdsourced over $125,000 for the project. ISEE-3 hackers prepare to reboot spacecraft ISEE-3 hackers prepare to …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2014
Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface 3 Pro: Flip me over, fondle me up

The touchscreen Surface Pro 3, unveiled on Tuesday, is Microsoft's latest attempt to bridge the gap between laptops and tablets. Panos Panay claims Surface Pro 3 is one device to rule them all Panos Panay claims Surface Pro 3 is one device to rule them all "It starts with dreaming the impossible," gushed Microsoft CEO Satya …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2014
Graphic depicting Venus Express in orbit about the second planet. Credit: ESA

Venus Express to get final acid bath before crashing to surface

After eight years orbiting the second planet of our solar system, the Venus Express probe is going to die this year, but the European Space Agency has some interesting plans to get the most out of the pre-teen before it disintegrates. Venus Express left our planet in 2005 and began orbiting its namesake planet four months later …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2014
James Bond in the Bahamas

Latest Snowden leak claims NSA bugged ALL mobile calls in the Bahamas

A fresh dossier of documents apparently from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claims that the NSA is running a telephone-tapping system that records the metadata and content of all mobile phone calls of two countries, including the island paradise of the Bahamas. The documents, published in The Intercept, state that the system, …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2014

US authorities name five Chinese military hackers wanted for espionage

The US Department of Justice has named five members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army that, it claims, carried out an eight-year hacking campaign against some American companies to steal commercially sensitive information. "These represent the first ever charges against known state actors for infiltrating U.S. commercial …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2014

Apple, Google: WE SURRENDER ... to each other in patent war truce

Apple and Google have asked a US federal judge to dismiss all patent litigation between the two companies after four years of legal battles, we're told. Documents submitted on Friday to a Washington federal appeals court requested an end to the patent war, the pair revealed. Piles of allegations of infringement were consolidated …
Iain Thomson, 17 May 2014
Pinky and the Brain

Baidu poaches Google Brain inventor for Silicon Valley AI project

The creator of Google's massive machine learning system has been hired by the Chinese search-and-more company Baidu as its new chief scientist. Andrew Ng, who is also the director of Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab, has been hired to set up an AI research project for the Chinese firm that will be carried out at …
Iain Thomson, 16 May 2014

Titsup Russian rocket EXPLODES, destroys $275m telly satellite

It's red faces all round at the Russian space agency after its latest Proton rocket launch failed midflight, destroying a very expensive satellite that was due to beam digital TV all over the former Soviet Union. The Proton-M rocket, carrying a European-built Express AM4R telecommunications satellite, launched from the …
Iain Thomson, 16 May 2014
Mi Pad

Xiaomi launches Mi Pad fondleslablette – your (legal) move, Apple

Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi, whose CEO models himself on Steve Jobs, has released a tablet the same size and shape as an iPad mini with the somewhat-derivative name Mi Pad. Mi Pad Look familiar? The Mi Pad has a 7.9-inch screen with a resolution of 2048-by-1536 – the same resolution as the iPad mini with Retina Display. It …
Iain Thomson, 15 May 2014
Mars

NASA agonizes over plan for Mars rock sample return mission

America's top rock hounds are gathering in Virginia to decide where on Mars they want NASA's next rover to land – not just so it can survey the Red Planet but also so that it can send back useful samples. NASA has already announced that it will send a newish rover to Mars in 2020. The probe will use the same body shell as the …
Iain Thomson, 15 May 2014
Sonic Screwdriver - Doctor Who

Scots team builds SONIC SCREWDRIVER to repair damaged nerves

A team of scientists and engineers at the University of Glasgow (who are presumably big fans of Dr. Who) are developing a "sonic screwdriver" to help build tissue samples for medicine with a tartan design. Cells that mimic Scotland's most famous designs Cells that mimic Scotland's most famous designs BBC references aside, the …
Iain Thomson, 15 May 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Deflation hits Tim Cook – date with him now costs only half as much

The annual charity auction of executive meetings has seen Tim Cook's value cut by half, but he's still head-and-shoulders more popular than anyone else in the tech industry with buyers. The opportunity for lunch with the Apple boss at Cupertino, and a front seat at the next big Apple technology launch, was auctioned off for the …
Iain Thomson, 14 May 2014

Mozilla agrees to add DRM support to Firefox – under protest

Mozilla has announced that it will add Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) for digital rights management into a future build of Firefox, even if the organization disagrees with the technology on principle. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to add EME into the specifications for HTML5 at the behest of Microsoft, Google, and …
Iain Thomson, 14 May 2014
Iranian flag flying

Iranian hacktivists move into hardcore hacking against West, dissidents

Security firm FireEye has been tracking an Iranian hacking group that has moved from simple defacement of websites to actively targeting Western defense contractors and those within Iran's borders who are trying to circumvent the regime's censorship firewall. The hacking group, calling itself the Ajax Security Team, has been …
Iain Thomson, 14 May 2014