Iain Thomson

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Alpha

You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights

Today's generation of fighter pilots could be the last of their breed, thanks to an AI system dubbed ALPHA that's proving unkillable in air combat. The US Air Force has just completed dogfighting trials in a simulator, pitching the software against retired Air Force Colonel Gene Lee. The AI – which ran on a $35 RaspberryPi …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jun 2016

25,000 malware-riddled CCTV cameras form network-crashing botnet

A massive network of hacked CCTV cameras is being used to bring down computers around the world, we're told. The unusual 25,000-strong botnet was apparently spotted by US security outfit Sucuri when it investigated an online assault against an ordinary jewelry store. The shop's website was flooded offline after drowning in 35 …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jun 2016
Vuture Velo cycling jersey

Magnetic, heat scanners to catch Tour de France electric motor cheats

Extra technology is being wheeled out for this year's Tour de France to scan bikes for hidden electric engines. In the past few years, there have been several cases of cyclists concealing small battery-powered motors in the tubes of their velocipedes to give a bit of extra speed during competitions. To protect the integrity …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2016

Visiting America? US border agents want your Twitter, Facebook URLs

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency wants to collect links to social network accounts of people visiting the Land of the FreeTM. Under new proposals, each traveler filling out an I-94 travel form or applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa will be asked for "information associated …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2016
chequered flag

NASCAR team red-flagged by ransomware attack

NASCAR, America's favorite no-right-turn racing format, has joined the growing ranks of people hit by, and paying out to fix, ransomware. The Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing (CSLFR) has admitted paying off ransomware runners after one of its main test computers got infected with Truecrypt malware. The laptop was quickly …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2016

Judge rules FBI can hack any time, any, place, anywhere

A federal district court in Virginia has ruled that the FBI has the right to hack into computers around the world without getting a local warrant, and without any review by courts. The ruling, by US District Judge Henry Morgan, comes during the prosecution of Edward Matish. Matish is one of the 100-plus suspects arrested …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2016

Opera cries foul over Microsoft Edge power-slurping claims

Microsoft's claim that its Edge browser is the thriftiest with power has drawn a sharp response from rival browser biz Opera, who called for open testing to work out which app provides better battery life. Earlier this week, Microsoft released research which, it claims, shows that the Edge browser that comes with Windows 10 …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2016
Laptop leaning against a stack of news papers in front of a world map illustration

Twilio IPO a success

There'll be champagne corks popping at cloudy comms firm Twilio after shares rose 71 per cent on the first day of trading. The company raised $150m after pricing its IPO at $15, but is currently trading at $25.67 a share, up $10.67 or 71 per cent. No doubt there'll be some profit taking at the end of the day, but it's a strong …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2016
Mark Zuckerberg's laptop

Zuck covers up mic and cam pickup because sharing isn't always good

A PR snapshot of Mark Zuckerberg's desk has shown quite how seriously the king of the information sharing economy takes his own privacy. On Tuesday, the Behoodied One shared an at-work picture to celebrate hitting 500 million active monthly users on Instagram. But a closer look by California startup employee Chris Olson shows …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jun 2016
Mitch McConnell

US Senate strikes down open-access FBI hacking warrant by just one honest vote

The US Senate has struck down an amendment that would have allowed the FBI to track internet histories and communications without judicial oversight, but a re-vote could be called as soon as today due to Senate rules. The amendment [PDF] to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act would have …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jun 2016
robot butler

Is it a car? Is it a rocket? No, it's Elon Musk's robot butler!

A scrappy bunch of Silicon valley A-listers have announced plans to build an artificial intelligence (AI) system that will clean your house, answer your questions, and beat you at Call of Duty. In a blog post OpenAI, a research company formed as a non-profit by Elon Musk, vengeful billionaire Peter Thiel, and the Y Combinator …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jun 2016

Pressure mounts against Rule 41 – the FBI's power to hack Tor, VPN users on sight

The campaign against Rule 41 – which will give cops and Feds in America the power to hack people's computers around the world – has kicked up a gear. Leaders of the US House of Representatives and Senate got a letter today urging them to block the rule change before it becomes permanent in December. The proposed legislative …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jun 2016
Edge other browsers

Microsoft joins battery-saving browser bandwagon with Edge claims

Microsoft has published new research in which it claims that its Edge browser, bundled with Windows 10, can outperform the competition when it comes to battery life. The lab rats at Redmond set up four identical charged laptops, each using a different browser to stream an identical video. The Laptop running Google Chrome ran …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jun 2016
sale

Confirmed: Dell software sell-off

Dell has confirmed rumors that it is selling off its software division to private equity firms Francisco Partners and Elliott Management. "Francisco Partners and Elliott Management's deep passion for technology and proven track records in nurturing and building software businesses will enable Dell Software's loyal base of …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jun 2016
game

Get-rich quick trick Twitch snitch: Bots sued for fake video views

Gameplay video streaming biz Twitch has had enough of bots on its network and, after failing to find a lasting tech solution, has started throwing sueballs instead. Bots have become a big problem for Amazon-owned Twitch and its users. The software agents are used to hit up players' online channels and artificially inflate …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jun 2016

Watch as SpaceX's latest Falcon rocket burns then crashes

Video SpaceX supremo Elon Musk's hopes of adding a fifth rocket to his collection of pre-used space hardware were dashed on Wednesday when the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket suffered a Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly. Now we know why. The Falcon 9 successfully delivered the two satellites it was carrying into geostationary orbit. …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2016

Dad of student slain in Paris terror massacre sues Google, Twitter, Facebook for their 'material support' of ISIS

A grieving father has sued Google, Twitter and Facebook, alleging the web giants enabled the Paris terrorist attacks that killed his daughter. Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, was a student spending a semester in the French capital when she and 129 others were murdered by gunmen and suicide bombers aligned with ISIS. She was the only …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2016

Official: Microsoft goes to pot, gives weed growers fix they need

Put this in your pipe and smoke it: Microsoft is offering pot growers software tools to help them stay on the right side of America's relaxed laws. Marijuana is legal in Microsoft's home state of Washington, as well as in Oregon, Colorado and Alaska, and is prescribed medicinally (with varying degrees of laxity) in California …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2016
John Brennan

Non-US encryption is 'theoretical,' claims CIA chief in backdoor debate

CIA director John Brennan told US senators they shouldn't worry about mandatory encryption backdoors hurting American businesses. And that's because, according to Brennan, there's no one else for people to turn to: if they don't want to use US-based technology because it's been forced to use weakened cryptography, they'll be …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2016
Cash in brown paper envelope CC 2.0 attribution StockMonkeys.com

Ex-SAP exec and pals accused of $500,000 insider trading scam

A former SAP executive and his associates allegedly ran an insider trading ring to net hundreds of thousands of dollars. Chris Salis was, until recently, global vice president and general manager for procurement at SAP. US financial watchdog the SEC claims he used his inside knowledge of SAP's takeover of Business Objects in …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2016

Microsoft planning blockchain-as-a-service for Azure apps

Microsoft might not be keen on Bitcoin, but it's cock-a-hoop about the backend blockchain the currency uses and has given the first details of Project Bletchley, a plan to add the tech into Azure services via some new middleware. "Project Bletchley is a vision for Microsoft to deliver Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) that is …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2016
Zuckerberg and Seinfeld

'I am not a lizard' Zuckerberg proclaims in public Q&A

Mark Zuckerberg has denied that he is a lizard during an hour-long Q&A session online, when questions from the internet got a bit silly – who'd have thought it. "I'm gonna have to go with 'no' on that. I am not a lizard," he said in response to an online question. "But keep the high-quality comments coming in please, this is …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jun 2016
SpaceX

SpaceX winning streak meets explosive end

SpaceX's winning streak came to an explosive end with one of its rockets blowing up during its attempted landing. The Falcon 9 rocket has - as its name suggests - nine rockets to take off, but uses just three to land. One of those failed to deliver full thrust on landing, causing it land very hard on the company's drone ship …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jun 2016
Laptop leaning against a stack of news papers in front of a world map illustration

Cygnus spacecraft on fire

NASA has deliberately set a fire inside a Cygnus spacecraft, after detaching from the International Space Station (ISS) for safety reasons. The capsule is carrying the Spacecraft Fire Experiment, which has ignited a variety of materials to study how they burn and spread in microgravity. The purpose is to help protect future …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jun 2016
Bear attack

Russian government hackers spent a year in our servers, admits DNC

The US Democratic National Committee (DNC) has confirmed that hackers thought to be part of Russian state intelligence have had access to their servers for nearly a year. They have read emails, chat logs, and opposition research documents. The attack was uncovered six weeks ago, after IT admins noticed something strange was …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jun 2016