Iain Thomson

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New GCHQ spymaster: US tech giants are 'command and control networks for TERROR'

The new head of Britain's equivalent to the NSA – Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – has used his first day on the job to lambaste US technology companies for daring to improve the security of their products. "However much they may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for …
Iain Thomson, 04 Nov 2014
putin topless

Russians hear Tim Cook is gay, pull dead Steve Jobs' enormous erection

Updated An iPhone-shaped monument in Russia has been torn down by homophobes after learning Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay. Business leaders in the Putin-led nation took down the erection after claiming Cook had "called for sodomy." Citing "gay propaganda" law, Russia dismantles memorial to Steve Jobs after Tim Cook comes out http://t.co/ …
Iain Thomson, 03 Nov 2014
SpaceShipTwo launch

Virgin Galactic vows to continue space program after 'serious anomaly'

Both Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites have vowed to continue the private exploration of space after Friday's crash that destroyed SpaceShipTwo, claimed the life of one pilot, and severely wounded another. SpaceShipTwo SpaceShipTwo at takeoff this morning "Space is hard, and today was a tough day. We are going to be …
Iain Thomson, 01 Nov 2014
SpaceShipTwo crash

Virgin's SpaceShipTwo crashes in Mojave Desert during test flight

Updated Richard Branson's commercial space company Virgin Galactic suffered a serious setback on Friday when a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo aircraft crashed during the testing of its rocket motor. SpaceShipTwo crash This doesn't look good "Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo …
Iain Thomson, 31 Oct 2014
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg

Danish court finds Pirate Bay cofounder guilty of hacking CSC servers

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, cofounder of the Pirate Bay, has been found guilty of hacking charges by a court in Denmark, which ruled that he and a 21-year-old accomplice had hacked US technology company CSC to gain access to Danish government servers. "We welcome the decision of the court, and the trial clearly demonstrated the …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2014

Lenovo completes Motorola purchase for $2.9bn – $10bn less than Google paid for it

Three years ago, Google splashed out $12.5bn for struggling mobe manufacturer Motorola, and on Thursday the Chocolate Factory completed its sale of Motorola's physical assets to Lenovo for just $2.91bn. Not all of the money will be going into Google's coffers right away, however. Lenovo is paying $660m in cash plus $750m in …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2014

Big Retail: We don't hate Apple, we hate the credit card companies

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) went on a PR offensive on Wednesday to explain what happened in the hacking attack that saw its testers' emails exposed, why its member retailers banned Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and what makes its CurrentC mobile payment system so great. Dekkers Davidson, CEO of MCX, which represents 50 …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2014
Nude gamers

No nudity, please, we're GAMING: Twitch asks players to cover up

Twitch, the streaming site where users show off their gaming prowess to the public, has altered its terms and conditions to ban users from being cheeky by playing in the buff. "Nerds are sexy, and you're all magnificent, beautiful creatures, but let's try and keep this about the games, shall we?" the firm's updated rules of …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
Fail and You

Big Retail's Apple Pay killer CurrentC HACKED, tester info nicked

CurrentC, the mobile payments system being pushed by some of the biggest retailers in the US, has been hacked – before the system is even fully up and running. "Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of our CurrentC pilot program participants and individuals who …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
Antares rocket fails

BONFIRE of the MEGA-BUCKS: $200m+ BURNED in SECONDS in Antares launch blast

Vid Reps from NASA and Orbital Sciences have been furiously explaining themselves at a press conference in the wake of the destruction of Orbital's Antares rocket – and possibly the partial loss of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Youtube Video "It's a really tough business," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
Antares rocket fails

KRAKKOOOM! Space Station supply mission in PODULE PRANG EXPLOSION CHAOS

Pics+Vid Orbital Sciences just can't seem to catch a break. Monday's launch of its Antares rocket was scrubbed by a rogue sailboat and on Tuesday the rocket exploded just seconds after launching from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Antares rocket fails There has been a vehicle anomaly. We will update as soon as we are …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
traffic lights

You! AT&T! The only thing 'unlimited' about you is your CHEEK, growl feds

The US Federal Trade Commission has begun legal action against AT&T over its unlimited data plans, claiming the telco didn't tell customers that their data services would in fact be throttled. The lawsuit claims that in 2007, AT&T started selling the iPhone with a $20 per month "unlimited" data plan. But by 2011, the demands on …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2014
Sorry we're closed

Apple, Google take on Main Street in BONKING-FOR-CASH struggle

When Apple honcho Tim Cook took to the stage to introduce Apple Pay, he promised it would simplify the way people pay for goods and services, but the road to that goal has not been smooth since. Last week came the news that some Apple Pay users were getting charged twice for the same purchases. Teething pains are to be expected …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2014
Supernova RCW 86

Boffins snap first pics of hot white dwarf nova bursting out of its shell

Astronomers have caught the first pictures of a star in the early stages of going nova after a Japanese amateur skywatcher alerted the community to a new star showing up in the heavens. On August 14 of last year, Koichi Itagaki reported discovering a new star in the sky called Nova Delphinus 2013 around 14,800 light years from …
Iain Thomson, 27 Oct 2014
Sundar Pichai

Google boss Larry Page gives Sundar Pichai keys to the kingdom

Ten years after joining Google and with running Android, Chrome, and Google Apps already on his plate, Sundar Pichai's star has now risen even higher, gaining a new tranche of responsibilities in the process. On Friday, Google CEO Larry Page sent out a memo, seen by Re/code, advising employees that in addition to his current …
Iain Thomson, 25 Oct 2014
Alan Eustace

Breaking records: Google exec in terrifying SKY PLUNGE DRAMA

A top Google exec has broken the record for the highest free fall to Earth – in a largely self-funded stunt to explore the stratosphere. Alan Eustace Must not fart in there ... must not fart in there On Friday morning, Pacific time, Google's senior veep of Knowledge Alan Eustace rode a helium-filled balloon to more than 135, …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014
Scrooge McDuck

Silicon Valley scrooges paid staff $1.21 an hour in a 122-hour week

A successful Silicon Valley firm has admitted paying staff $1.21 an hour and working them for more than 120 hours a week. State officials got involved when an anonymous tipster alerted them to the activities of Electronics For Imaging, an international business based in the Bay Area that specializes in printing technology. The …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014
Image of HAL eye from 2001 movie with Chrome logo in eye

Google absorbs Oxford Uni boffins in artificial intelligence boost quest

Google has hired seven academics from Oxford University and signed partnerships with the engineering and computer science facilities to help it develop its DeepMind artificial intelligence system. "We are thrilled to welcome these extremely talented machine learning researchers to the Google DeepMind team and are excited about …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014

COMET 67P is basically TRAILING a HORRIFIC STENCH through space

The Rosetta probe that is orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is mainly preoccupied with firming up its plans for landing on the surface: however, there's still science to be done – and boffins have been taking a sniff at how the space snowball smells. For the last two months, the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014

Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL

Adobe has tweaked its Digital Editions 4 desktop ebook reader to now encrypt the data it secretly sends back to headquarters – data that details a user's reading habits. Previously, information on every single tome accessed by Digital Editions 4 was phoned home unencrypted, allowing anyone eavesdropping on a network to intercept …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2014
Neanderthal display in museum

RUMPY PUMPY: Bone says humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C.

Boffins in Germany have extracted the oldest human DNA yet discovered – from a 45,000-year-old thigh bone found in Siberia. And after studying the genetic goop, the researchers have concluded that humans started interbreeding with their Neanderthal cousins about 60,000 years ago. 45,000 year old human bone 'What a slut' A …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2014

Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email

Vid Email has been around for better than 40 years – but Google thinks you just can't handle its fiendish complexity. And lo, the web king has developed an application dubbed Inbox to make an easy job easier. Google Inbox Inbox from Google, for when plain email just isn't enough "We get more email now than ever, important …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014

Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees

A survey into what Americans fear most has shown that fears of identity theft and being unsafe online outweigh the fear of being shot. The poll of 1,500 Americans conducted by Chapman University in Orange, California, found that walking alone down a dark street is the situation that has Americans most fearful – beating the fear …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014
One Windows: Windows 10 will be delivered on multiple device types

Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all

Windows doesn't have the best reputation for security, but Microsoft has been outlining a series of improvements in the new operating system that it believes will stymie hackers and leave corporate data more secure. "We're no longer facing an evolution in security threats but a revolution," Chris Hallum, senior product manager …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014
hoverboard

Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes

The internet is aflutter over the Kickstarter campaign for the "Hendo Hoverboard", a magnetically levitating toy that the firm alleges will be available on October 21, 2015 – the same day that Michael J Fox programmed into the De Lorean for the second Back to the Future film. hoverboard As a consumer device it looks a little …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014

How to get $542m from Google: Dress as a SPACEMAN with dayglo dancers – Magic Leap

Vid Google and A-list venture capitalists have given more than half a billion dollars to Magic Leap, a mysterious startup that aims to "make computing more natural". Magic Leap Magic Leap ... your guess is as good as ours Magic Leap is based down in Florida, and has no products, revenue, or public business plan, as far as we can …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2014
Orionid meteor shower

Watch live! NASA video streams Orionid meteor shower – or go outside and look yourself

Vid If you're in a position to see the constellation of Orion tonight then it's time to enjoy the annual Orionid meteor shower – as the Earth slams into the debris left by Halley's Comet's 1986 visit at about 148,000 MPH. orionids Look to the East for nature's fireworks display. Credit Dr. Tony Phillips "The Orionid meteor shower …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2014
Protesters outside FCC headquarters

US Senate's net neutrality warrior to Comcast: Remind us how much you hate web fast lanes

US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has urged Comcast to publicly swear it will not pave fast lanes across the internet for wealthy websites. Leahy, writing in an open letter, also wants the American telco to use its market and lobbying muscle to support net neutrality. Leahy noted that the amount of public comment on the issue has …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2014

China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog

Last week Apple CEO Tim Cook was very happy that the iPhone 6 is at last going on sale in China. But it seems the Chinese government has its own plans for owners of the new device. According to censorship watchdog Greatfire.org, Chinese state hackers began staging a massive man-in-the-middle attack against Apple iCloud.com users …
Iain Thomson, 20 Oct 2014
Biometric MasterCard

MasterCard adds fingerprint scanner to credit cards for spending sans the PIN

MasterCard and Norwegian biometrics firm Zwipe have announced the first fingerprint-activated credit card that the companies hope will replace signatures and PINs. "Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers," said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security …
Iain Thomson, 18 Oct 2014
The first X-37B following landing at Vandenberg AFB after the inaugural OTV-1 mission. Credit: USAF

America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft

The US Air Force has confirmed that its X-37B spacecraft designated Orbital Test Vehicle 3 has glided back to Earth and landed at 0924 PT (1724 UTC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base. "The landing of OTV-3 marks a hallmark event for the program," said the unnamed X-37B program manager in a statement. "The mission is our longest to …
Iain Thomson, 18 Oct 2014

Apple releases MEGA security patch round for OS X, Server and iTunes

While the world+dog was distracted by all the shiny new iThings Tim Cook was showing off on Thursday, Apple quietly puMPED out patches for 150 CVE-issued bugs in its server and desktop operating systems and the iTunes media player. The newly released OS X Yosemite, version 10.10, includes a fairly hefty patch load, more so than …
Iain Thomson, 17 Oct 2014
Mimas

That's no – actually it is: DEATH STAR MOON 'could be full of life-friendly water'

Mimas has long been thought to be one of the less noteworthy moons of its vast ringed primary, Saturn – apart from its frankly worrying resemblance to the Death Star, that is. But now, a new study indicates that the humdrum space boulder could have, er, hidden depths. Mimas Actually, that is a moon. Not a space station A team …
Iain Thomson, 17 Oct 2014
Two teenage girls - one whispering in other's ear

Careless Whisper? Anonymous messaging app accused of stalking users, blabbing to Feds

The makers of Whisper have denied claims that the anonymous messaging app is secretly tracking the whereabouts of its privacy-conscious users. The startup hit back following reports that detailed location logs are shared with the US government. Whisper is a two-year-old phone app that allows people to publish text overlaid on …
Iain Thomson, 17 Oct 2014

FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones

FBI director James Comey is continuing his charm offensive against phone encryption – by urging tech giants to do more to help the agency monitor people. In a speech to the Brookings Institute, Comey said the decision by Apple and Google to turn on file encryption by default in iOS and Android was seriously hampering the efforts …
Iain Thomson, 16 Oct 2014
Lockheed Martin's compact fusion reactor

Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

Pic Lockheed Martin has caused quite a stir with its announcement that it will ship fusion reactors the size of a truck within the next decade. Lockheed Martin's compact fusion reactor "Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent …
Iain Thomson, 16 Oct 2014
67P_Churyumov_Gerasimenko_August_8th

On Nov 12, a human-made space lab will try to HARPOON a COMET and land on it

Pic The European Space Agency (ESA) has officially set the date for its Rosetta probe's Philae lander to touch down on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The craft will harpoon and set down on the high-speed cosmic rock on November 12. Rosetta comet landing spot ESA hoping for a safe touchdown The Rosetta space probe is orbiting …
Iain Thomson, 16 Oct 2014
Nexus Family

Aboard the GOOD SHIP LOLLIPOP, there's a Mobe and a Slab and a TELLYBOX

Pics Google has released its latest iteration of the Android OS, plus a triple deployment for the new software in three new devices – a trendy big phone, a slablet and a telly box. Nexus Family New Nexus family to go with the new OS Android 5.0, codenamed Lollipop, got an extensive preview during June's Google I/O conference, and …
Iain Thomson, 15 Oct 2014
WAves

Benioff promises Wave of Lightning to mobilise Salesforce

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff's keynote at the annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco is usually a theatrical affair, but his company may have outdone itself this time. The three-hour session featured sets by the ageing Beach Boys, a Hawaiian dance spectacular and blessing ceremony, and a drone delivery by Coca Cola. But …
Iain Thomson, 15 Oct 2014
Skype iPad

Qik as mud: Skype adds self-destructing video messages years too late

Apps to record and share short video messages are ten a penny – and now Microsoft has thrown its hat into the ring with Qik, an app that came along with its Skype purchase. "A small team of Skype designers and developers recently took up the challenge to build a new app to run alongside Skype and provide an ongoing form of video …
Iain Thomson, 14 Oct 2014

South Korea faces $1bn bill after hackers raid national ID database

The South Korean government is considering a complete overhaul of its national identity number computer system – after hackers comprehensively ransacked it and now hold the ID codes for as much as 80 per cent of the population. Each South Korean citizen is issued with a lifetime unique ID number. This number is used in all …
Iain Thomson, 14 Oct 2014
Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen cuts the waffle, says bank cards creamed in 395 eateries

Dairy Queen has admitted to being hacked, six weeks after reports first surfaced that the US fast-food chain's tills were compromised. "We discovered evidence that the systems of some DQ locations and one Orange Julius location were infected with the widely-reported Backoff malware that is targeting retailers across the country …
Iain Thomson, 10 Oct 2014

Prez Obama backs net neutrality – but can't do anything about it. Thanks, Obama

In a visit to California, US President Obama has reiterated support for full net neutrality, but said it wasn't something he could do anything about. "I know one of the things that people are most concerned about is paid prioritization, the notion that somehow some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more …
Iain Thomson, 10 Oct 2014
Killer whale

OMG, we're gonna be invaded by NEXUS 6 replicants – no, wait. It's just a rumored phablet

Google is reportedly planning to get into the phablet market with a 5.9-inch handset code named Shamu: the device is expected to emerge later this month, and the Android operating system will be updated to support it. Two sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that the new handset will be manufactured by …
Iain Thomson, 10 Oct 2014
Siding Spring Mars flyby

NASA: Mars satellites menaced by speeding SPACE ALIEN

Pics On October 19, comet Siding Spring will make a very close flyby of Mars. And that's why NASA will hide its satellites in the area behind the Red Planet – to protect the agency's valuable hardware from passing comet debris. Siding Spring duck and cover Everybody hide! The comet, first spotted on January 3 last year by Robert …
Iain Thomson, 10 Oct 2014
xfinity wifi

Remember that tale of a fired accountant who blamed Comcast? It's kinda true, says telco

Updated Comcast has publicly apologized to Conal O'Rourke, the accountant who claims he was fired for moaning about the ISP's lousy service. "What happened with Mr O'Rourke's service is completely unacceptable," said Charlie Herrin, Comcast's recently appointed VP of customer experience, in a company blog post. "Despite our attempts to …
Iain Thomson, 09 Oct 2014
Thirty Meter Telescope

Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Peaceful protesters successfully halted the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the world's largest telescope for a few hours before being removed by police. Thirty Meter Telescope The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will be the largest Earth-based telescope ever built with, as the name implies, a 30-meter reflective …
Iain Thomson, 09 Oct 2014

NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn

Top Silicon Valley execs have warned that the NSA's continued surveillance of innocent people will rupture the internet – which is bad news for business. Oh, and bad news for hundreds of thousands of workers, and America's moral authority, too. The suits were speaking at a roundtable organized by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in …
Iain Thomson, 09 Oct 2014
xfinity wifi

Strange tale of an angry bean counter, Comcast and a shock 'firing'

A Comcast customer who complained about being overcharged and crap service alleges someone at the ISP got him fired as a result. The punter, described by The Consumerist as an "experienced accountant at one of the nation’s most prestigious firms," signed up with America's largest ISP in 2013 at an introductory rate, but said …
Iain Thomson, 08 Oct 2014

Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

Adobe confirmed its Digital Editions software insecurely phones home your ebook reading history to Adobe – to thwart piracy. And the company insisted the secret snooping is covered in its terms and conditions. Version 4 of the application makes a note of every page read, and when, in the digital tomes it accesses, and then …
Iain Thomson, 08 Oct 2014