Iain Thomson

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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
First part from 3D printer on ISS

NASA 'nauts have a go on Star Trek replicator IN SPAAAAACE (sort of)

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have tested their new 3D printer – proving they can manufacture small parts while in orbit, somewhat. "This first print is the initial step toward providing an on-demand machine shop capability away from Earth," said Niki Werkheiser, project manager for the ISS 3D Printer at NASA …
Iain Thomson, 26 Nov 2014

Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...

After Symantec published its report on the Regin super-spyware, there were many questions raised. Who coded it? What can it do? And – above all – why did it take so long for security vendors to notice it? Regin is a sophisticated piece of software. It can be customized for particular missions by inserting into its framework …
Iain Thomson, 26 Nov 2014
Sony PSP Vita

FTC: Sony told big fat WHOPPERS in its PlayStation Vita ads – and now it has to pay

Sony will dish out cash and vouchers to PlayStation Vita gamers following allegations its ads for the handheld console were lies. Commissioners at US trade watchdog the FTC voted five to none to approve the refunds after it was claimed the toy's ad campaign in late 2011 and early 2012 was misleading. The Vita went on sale in …
Iain Thomson, 25 Nov 2014

Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins

Vid After using a submersible robot to probe the frozen waters of Antarctica, climate and ecosystem scientists conclude its sea ice "may be thicker than previously thought." Youtube video of the Linux-powered sub in action "Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and …
Iain Thomson, 25 Nov 2014
Malware image

Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about

A public autopsy of sophisticated intelligence-gathering spyware Regin is causing waves today in the computer security world. But here's a question no one's answering: given this super-malware first popped up in 2008, why has everyone in the antivirus industry kept quiet about it until now? Has it really taken them years to …
Iain Thomson, 24 Nov 2014
X-wing and Y-wing starfighters of the Rebel Alliance approaching the Death Star

Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs

Pics and video SpaceX boss Elon Musk has been showing off steerable wings on his company's Falcon rocket booster – and a floating landing pad to catch the reusable craft out at sea. Musk revealed the tech in a series of tweets over the weekend. He said future builds of the Falcon rocket system would carry stabilizing tabs – dubbed "X-wings" – …
Iain Thomson, 24 Nov 2014
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

Judge OKs $450m deal to end ebook price-hike row. But Apple just won't let it die

A Manhattan judge has finally approved Apple's settlement in its long-running ebook price-fixing lawsuit: $400m will go to readers who paid over the odds, and $50m will go to the lawyers suing the iTunes Giant. The out-of-court deal was drawn up in June and was granted preliminary approval by District Court Judge Denise Cote in …
Iain Thomson, 22 Nov 2014
The European flag

Europe may ask Herr Google: Would you, er, snap off your search engine? Pretty please

The European Parliament will reportedly consider pressuring, say, ad giant Google to snap off its search engine and move it away from its biz operations. A draft motion, seen by the Financial Times, calls for the "unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services." The motion has the support of the two main blocs in …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014
Pigeon crapping on statue

That's all folks! US TV streaming upstart Aereo files for bankrupcy

It's the end of the line for the TV streaming biz Aereo: it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and appointed a chief restructuring officer to extract some remaining value from its assets. "Our engineering team created the first cloud-based, individual antenna and DVR that enabled you to record and watch live …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014
By Frank Wouters, licensed under CC 2.0

Hey, it's ... Gecko man, Gecko man, does almost whatever a GECKO can

Vid A graduate student at Stanford has successfully climbed a 3.7-metre glass wall using a pair of super-sticky gloves modeled on the feet of gecko lizards. Youtube Video The kit was developed at the California university with funding from Uncle Sam's boffinry headquarters DARPA. The gloves are covered with 24 little sticky pads – …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014

Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie FIRED in three-way fsck row

Toy giant Mattel has withdrawn from sale its painfully sexist Barbie book I Can Be A Computer Engineer after a storm of protest. It apologized for making the anatomically-impossible doll incapable of fixing a PC without two lads' help – let alone program any software for one. "The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014

You'll go APE for our new Gorilla Glass 4, Corning reckons

Corning has unveiled the fourth iteration of its Gorilla Glass – and claims the new see-through substance is twice as damage resistant as its previous version. It's also much better at surviving drops onto hard surfaces, apparently. Gorilla Glass version is used in the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lines, plus shedloads of …
Iain Thomson, 20 Nov 2014
Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies

After USA FREEDOM Act's failure, what's next for mass surveillance?

Analysis This week the US Senate failed to get the required 60 votes to beat a Republican filibuster on the USA FREEDOM Act, which would have instituted mild controls on the bulk collection of communications data on American citizens. The vote was largely along party lines, although Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) voted with the Democrats to try …
Iain Thomson, 20 Nov 2014
Satellite

Slapnav: Looking for KINKY dark matter? Switch on the GPS!

Although our ancestors would have been amazed by GPS technology for the current generation it's pretty old hat. Nevertheless, scientists have come up with a new idea for using the network of positioning satellites that encircle our globe – the quest to find dark matter. In a paper published in the latest issue of Nature Physics …
Iain Thomson, 20 Nov 2014
Uncov chronicles the failure of Web 2.0

Blackpool hotel 'fines' couple £100 for crap TripAdvisor review

A British couple is fuming after a hotel reportedly charged them an extra £100 for leaving a damning TripAdvisor review. Tony and Jan Jenkinson spent one night at the Broadway Hotel in stunning Blackpool, were distinctly unimpressed with the experience, and wrote about it on travel reviews website TripAdvisor. But they had …
Iain Thomson, 19 Nov 2014

NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators

A law bill to reform some of the NSA's mass surveillance of innocent Americans died in the US Senate this evening. Democrats pushing through the proposed overhaul were two votes short of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster. While the bill would not have completely dismantled the NSA's spying operations, privacy …
Iain Thomson, 19 Nov 2014
Apple Watch

Get your CLOCK out, you coders: Apple emits Watch dev kit

Apple hasn't yet even set a date for the sale of its smart watch: but it's keen to have a full suite of apps ready at the launch – and it would like it if other people developed these at their own expense. hence it has put out an SDK. The SDK, dubbed WatchKit, is available now, and it includes a Watch emulator to run software on …
Iain Thomson, 19 Nov 2014
Spitting Image God

LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball

Scientists at the ESA claim that "organic" molecules - the so-called building blocks of life itself - have been found on the icy surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the sadly now defunct Philae lander probot. Dr Fred Goessmann, principal investigator on the Cometary Sampling and Composition instrument (COSAC), told BBC …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014
Bitcoins

Feds to auction off second tranche of Silk Road Bitcoins worth $19 MEEELLION

The US Marshals Service (USMS) is looking forward to another funding bonanza after holding another auction of Bitcoins seized from the Silk Road online bazaar that was allegedly run by Ross Ulbricht under the handle the Dread Pirate Roberts. The auction is for 50,000 Bitcoins, worth $19,241,924 at current market rates, and the …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014
French fries

Samsung, Apple soap opera drama: Korean giant WILL churn out chips for iPhones, iPads

Apple and Samsung have fought bitterly in the courtroom when it came to patents, but the two firms are still prepared to do business: namely the buying and selling of chips. Earlier this year, Apple reportedly decided to drop Samsung as its manufacturer of A-Series system-on-chip processors used in iPads and iPhones. Instead, …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014
leonids

It's space WAR: Comet launches fireballs at space-invading EARTH

Pic Early-bird skywatchers in the US are in for a treat this week: the annual Leonid meteor shower starts just after midnight and will peak just before dawn on Tuesday. leonids If you wish upon a star... "We're predicting 10 to 15 meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space …
Iain Thomson, 17 Nov 2014
Dr Matt Taylor

I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm

Vid A tearful Rosetta comet probe boffin has apologized after he appeared on camera wearing a shirt emblazoned with half-naked buxom women. Brit scientist Dr Matt Taylor wore the kinky attire during a live web video interview on Wednesday – as the world held its breath waiting for confirmation the Philae lander had made it to Comet …
Iain Thomson, 15 Nov 2014

AT&T mothballs creepy customer web stalking system (until everyone's forgotten about it)

AT&T has stopped stamping unique ID numbers on its customers, which allowed websites and ad networks to track them across the web. The telco promised to offer an opt-out switch if the system returns. "We have completed testing of the numeric code that would be part of any new mobile Relevant Advertising program we may launch," …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014
E Fun Nextbook

Walmart's $99 crap-let will make people hate Windows 8.1 even more

Walmart, that well-known purveyor of the finest America has to offer, will flog a $99 Windows 8 tablet for this year's Black Friday. Youtube Video As you'd expect at that price, the E Fun Nextbook is an utter dog: it has a 1.8GHz Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM – the bare minimum for Windows 8.1 to function. The tablet …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014

US Marshals commit DIRTBOX INTRUSION on Americans, says report

US marshals have reportedly fitted mini mobile phone cells, nicknamed dirtboxes, inside aircraft so that they can locate mobes from the sky. Or, in other words, another one of Uncle Sam's agencies has found another way to secretly track citizens. The g-men, who work for the courts and track down fugitives, have a fleet of light …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014
How Philae lands on the comet

Dark side of the DUNE: Probot snaps shadowy comet surface selfie

Panoramic pic The fate of the ESA's Philae comet lander may be adding grey to boffins' hair, but the craft is still functioning – and has sent back its first panoramic selfie from Comet 67P's surface. Philae panorama Light! I need light! Click to enlarge Thanks to the space rock's low gravity, the probe bounced at least a kilometre over …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014
Concept art of a hypothetical HTC Facebook phone

Facebook's plain English data policy: WE'LL SELL YOU LIKE A PIG at a fair

Facebook has papered over its terms of use with a supposedly plain-English version, so that its users won't have to worry their pretty heads about being sold off to advertisers. Facebook Privacy Rights Yeah, right You can find the new "privacy basics" site here, or if you're not a child, the less insulting "data policy" site …
Iain Thomson, 13 Nov 2014
Android 5.0 "Lollipop"

SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google

Google is gradually handing out the fifth major iteration of its Android OS, codenamed Lollipop, to some fortunate devices – and has made the firmware available for folk to download and install. #AndroidLollipop rollout has started and will soon be available on most #Nexus devices. Dessert is served. pic.twitter.com/XVFX2tEbHv …
Iain Thomson, 13 Nov 2014
Samsung Simband

Samsung: Every breath you take, every step you make, we'll be watching

Developer conference Samsung really wants to be a key player in the much ballyhooed internet-of-things, but admits it can't do the job alone. It needs software developers to come up with ways to draw people into IoT – and has been showing off hardware it hopes someone will write some apps for. During the opening keynote of the Samsung Developers …
Iain Thomson, 13 Nov 2014

FCC makes up its mind about net neutrality: Er, we'll decide in 2015

US watchdog the FCC has decided to ponder a little more on the fate of net neutrality – and delayed a crucial vote on the issue until next year. The regulator is in the middle of rewriting its rules to guarantee an "open internet" for all, after Verizon decided it didn't like the original rules and sued the agency. And won. FCC …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014
Massive storm on Uranus

'Scope boffins get INSIDE URANUS after snapping mystery spots

Pics Uranus is one of the darkest places in our Solar System, so it's hard to spot from Earth. However, astronomers have caught the gas giant lighting up as unexplained storms ripped away its atmospheric cover. Massive storm on Uranus Something is rumbling deep within Uranus Using the W. M. Keck II Telescope on Hawaii, astronomers …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014
Nexus 6

LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

Review We've been running the new Google-mungous big Nexus 6 smartphone and Android 5.0 through our hands-on real-world testing – and here are the results. Nexus 6 The Nexus range is Google's attempt to show the world exactly what an Android phone should be. As we've seen with past models, that usually means a stripped-down handset …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014

Alibaba reports China's Singles Day is the world's biggest orgy of shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the orgy of shopping that takes place after the US Thanksgiving holiday, has lost its crown as the biggest shopping event of the year to China's Singles Day, after Middle Kingdom buyers splurged over US$9bn consoling themselves for being sad and alone. Singles Day, so named because of the date 11. …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014
iPhone proposal in China

Chinese coder's got 99 problems and getting hitched is one: Huge iPhone woo plot FAILS

A Chinese software developer learned the hard way that money can't buy you love, even if you invest it in iPhones – or 99 of the things, to be precise. iPhone proposal in China "Will you do me the honor of.." No!" The unnamed technology worker from Guangzhou spent over RMB 500,000 (around $82,000) buying up 99 iPhone 6 …
Iain Thomson, 11 Nov 2014