Iain Thomson

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One Plus 2

OnePlus 2: The smartie that's trying to outsmart Google's Android

First look Back in April, applecart-punching OnePlus made their first entry into mobiles with a new phone and an invite-only system that was popular with 'Droid fanciers but received an upturned nose and frosty shoulder from the big boys in the space. Now the biz is back with its second handset, the OnePlus 2. It will be available from …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jul 2015

NSA: We'll move your metadata into /dev/null when you stop suing us

The NSA has said it will delete its mountain of private telephone records belonging to millions of Americans – just as soon as people stop suing it for having done so. The agency's slurping of phone numbers, the times and dates of calls, and (in some case) the locations of cellphone calls, was exposed in the first-ever leak of …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jul 2015
Sad Android

Got an Android phone? SMASH IT with a hammer – and do it NOW

Android smartphones can be secretly infected by malware smuggled in via video text messages, allowing criminals to sneak inside as many as 950 million devices. You just need to know a victim's cellphone number to silently inject malicious software in their vulnerable gizmo. Once infected, your mobe's camera and mic can be used …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jul 2015
Pluto bumper sticker

YOW! Pluto STUNS boffins with HAZY, SHRINKY atmosphere

Pics and vid The latest New Horizons data blurt from the Kuiper Belt has yet again left astroboffins' flabbers gasted, this time because of its sensational revelations regarding the atmosphere of frosty freezeworld Pluto. Details about the dwarf planet's extraordinary surface have also been revealed by NASA, with flowing nitrogen ice …
Iain Thomson, 25 Jul 2015
Neil deGrasse Tyson

YOU! DEGRASSE! It's time to make Pluto a proper planet again, says NASA boffin

Those who feel that Pluto has always been a planet and jolly well ought to be one again have received a boost - this time from a top NASA boffin, albeit a slightly biased one. "It's very hard not to call an object with this level of complexity in its geology, and such complex seasons, a planet," said Alan Stern, New Horizons' …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jul 2015

Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Fiat Chrysler's bad week just got even worse: the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recalled 1.4 million of the manufacturer's cars after a dangerous software flaw was revealed just days ago. Renowned hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek warned on Tuesday of a ridiculous vuln in the computer systems …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jul 2015
Breaking bad

NIST in suspected 'meth lab' blast: US Congress is demanding answers

US Congress has opened an investigation into a blast at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that is suspected to be the result of a drug-cooking operation gone wrong. "At about 7:00pm Saturday, July 18, an explosion occurred in a laboratory room on the NIST campus in …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jul 2015

ROBOT SEEDS to be scattered into upper atmosphere of JUPITER: NASA scheme

Jupiter and Saturn - mighty gas giants of the Outer System beyond the asteroid belt. How to explore them, given that their lower atmospheres are a roiling, superheated, overpressurised hell? Answer: flying robots which would use the energy of the medium in which they travel to stay high up in the survivable layer. The so- …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jul 2015
Kepler 452b

NASA: 'Closest thing yet to ANOTHER EARTH' - FOUND

Pics NASA boffins say they have found the closest thing yet to another Earth – Kepler-452b. Apparently the Valeria*-esque planet has heavy gravity, such that should humans ever colonise it they would become immensely strong. "This is the closest thing we've yet found to another Earth," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis chief …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jul 2015

Facebook fails to block NY DA's fat warrants for profiles of suspected September 11 fraudsters

A decision by a New York judge means that people's Facebook profiles are an open book to prosecutors armed with a warrant, despite the firm's best efforts. Back in July 2013, the New York District Attorney obtained court warrants to access the full profiles and message databases of 381 NY Facebook users suspected of defrauding …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jul 2015

Security tool bod's hell: People think I wrote code for Hacking Team!

A respected security researcher has denied any involvement with Hacking Team after open-source code he wrote was found in smartphone spyware sold by the surveillance-ware maker. Collin Mulliner works in SecLab at Northeastern University in Massachusetts, US, and is a regular at hacking conferences. He told The Register he's …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jul 2015

Lottery IT security boss guilty of hacking lotto computer to win $14.3m

Iowa state lottery's IT security boss hacked his employer's computer system, and rigged the lottery so he could buy a winning ticket in a subsequent draw. On Tuesday, at the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines, Iowa, the disgraced director of information security was found guilty of fraud. Eddie Tipton, 52, installed a …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jul 2015
The Turbo Ace Octocopter. Pic: Turbo Ace

Disaster-gawping cam drones to be blasted out of the sky in California

California politicians want emergency services to knock interfering drones out of the sky without fear of repercussion – after a gang of flying gizmos got in the way of firefighters tackling a terrifying blaze. Last Friday, a forest fire roared across Interstate 15 near Cajon Pass in southern California, forcing motorists to …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jul 2015

Robot surgeons kill 144 patients, hurt 1,391, malfunction 8,061 times

Surgery on humans using robots has been touted by some as a safer way to get your innards repaired – and now the figures are in for you to judge. A team of university eggheads have counted up the number of medical cockups in America reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2000 to 2013, and found there were …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jul 2015
Car crash

Jeep drivers can be HACKED to DEATH: All you need is the car's IP address

Anyone driving about in a new Jeep Cherokee should update its software: at the moment the car's brakes and engine can be remotely controlled by anyone with an internet connection. This update might not sound particularly important, but trust me, if you can, you really should install this one. pic.twitter.com/qhTCrBIho8 — …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jul 2015
Still from the movie Zoolander: Derek and a fellow model try to get the 'files' out of the Mac by smashing it to pieces. copyright Paramount Pictures

America's tweaks to weapons trade pact 'will make web less secure'

The period for comments on proposed amendments to the Wassenaar Arrangement – which governs the export of guns, lasers and proper weaponry, and computer hardware and software – ends today. So far, the tweaks concerning IT security products have received an overwhelming thumbs-down from the technology community. In May the US …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jul 2015

What goes up, Musk comedown: Falcon rocket failed to strut its stuff

A steel strut which failed under much less load than it was rated to carry was the cause of the recent mid-air explosion of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the International Space Station, according to SpaceX chief Elon Musk. In a teleconference with journalists, Musk said that the 2ft (60.96cm) long and one inch (2.54cm) …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2015

Comet-invader Philae goes silent, mothership Rosetta forced to retreat

The European Space Agency (ESA) has all but lost contact with its Philae lander on Comet 67P – and attempts to reestablish communications are being hampered by the rock itself. Philae, which was dropped off onto the comet from its mothership Rosetta, has more or less been silent for 11 days. Rosetta, which still orbits Comet …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2015

CVS shutters photo website in credit-card hack attack scare

Updated US drugstore* chain CVS has shut down its online photo printing service after it was compromised by hackers, who may have swiped people's bank card details. "We have been made aware that customer credit card information collected by the independent vendor who manages and hosts CVSPhoto.com may have been compromised," CVS …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jul 2015

You Musk be joking: Tesla's zero to 60MPH in 2.8 SECONDS is literally 'ludicrous'

Tesla boss Elon Musk has outlined new performance packages for his company's Model S sedan, including a "ludicrous" speed option that will turn the electric car into a darting demon. Musk also confirmed that his motor biz will have its delayed Model X SUV out in a few months, and promised the Model 3 budget car will be out by …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2015

NASA boffins peer at Pluto: Could it be ... is that ... OATMEAL?

Pics NASA has released the latest data sent back by its New Horizons probe and it includes images of smooth, segmented plains, possible hydrocarbon deposits and our first look at Pluto's moon, Nix. Youtube Video Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons team, explained at a press conference on Friday that NASA had …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2015

Happy NukeDay to you! 70 years in the shadow of the bomb post-Trinity

Pics and vid At 5:30am on July 16, 1945, American and British scientists watched the detonation of the world's first nuclear weapon and mankind entered the atomic age. Youtube Video The Trinity test was the high point of the Manhattan Project, the Allied powers' plan to develop an atomic bomb before the Germans or Japanese managed it. The …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2015

Space Station 'nauts dive for cover from flying Soviet junk

The International Space Station's crew sought refuge in the orbiting science lab's lifeboat on Thursday after NASA warned the habitat could be hit by flying satellite debris. Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and American astronaut Scott Kelly crammed themselves into the Soyuz podule that's attached to …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2015

Brit school software biz unchains lawyers after crappy security exposed

Brit biz Impero unleashed its legal eagles after someone published details of a security cockup in its school network management software. The disclosed design flaw in Impero's Education Pro can be exploited to execute commands and run malicious code on a school's Windows PCs. Last month, a security researcher called …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2015

Did speeding American manhole cover beat Sputnik into space? Top boffin speaks to El Reg

As any space enthusiast knows, beachball-sized Sputnik was the first manmade object to orbit the Earth after it was launched by the Soviets in October 1957. But it's possible the US managed to put an object into space a few months before that. In 1956, astrophysicist Dr Robert Brownlee was asked by his boss at the Los Alamos …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2015
Pluto surface

Behold: Pluto's huge ICE MOUNTAINS ... and signs of cryovolcanoes?

Pics NASA has revealed the first high-resolution photograph of Pluto's surface, and the first proper picture of its largest moon Charon – and they are frankly very strange indeed. The Pluto snap shows ice mountains 11,000ft tall, and on both pics there are perplexing signs of geological activity – perhaps even cryovolcanoes spewing …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2015

Toyota recalls 625,000 hybrids: Software bug kills engines dead with THERMAL OVERLOAD

Toyota has become the third car manufacturer in two weeks to recall its cars because of software problems, with over 625,000 Prius hybrids needing an upgrade to stop the engine suddenly cutting out. On Tuesday Jaguar Land Rover recalled 65,000 of its Range Rover models over a software glitch that caused the cars to …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2015

Reddit CEO U-turn: Site no longer a bastion of free speech – and stop posting so much hate

The CEO of message-board website Reddit has been in the job for a few days, and he's already causing some redditors to choke on their cheetos. In a posting on the site announcements page, Steve Huffman – cofounder of the website and new chief exec following the departure of the hugely unpopular Ellen Pao – said he will crack …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2015

New Horizons: We've got a pretty pic of Pluto. Now let's get our SCIENCE on

Comment With everyone going ape over the dazzling new crisp pictures from NASA's New Horizons probe of the dwarf freezeworld Pluto, there are few voices asking if it was worth sending out a space probe to the far end of the Solar System – but it wasn't always that way. Pluto The eighth dwarf ... Very latest snap of Pluto from New …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jul 2015
TSA gloves

Citizenfour director Laura Poitras sues US for years of border security harassment

Filmmaker Laura Poitras, who won an Oscar for the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, is suing the US government to find out why she spent six years being repeatedly harassed by border security guards. "I'm filing this lawsuit because the government uses the US border to bypass the rule of law," said Poitras. "This simply …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jul 2015

US yoinks six Nigerians to Mississippi on '419 scam' charges

The US Department of Justice has successfully extradited six Nigerians from South Africa to face charges of running a series of scams against gullible Americans over the past 14 years. The six men, along with 14 other defendants resident in the US, face trial in Gulfport, Mississippi on nine federal charges, including …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jul 2015
Fibre Optic by Barta IV https://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Comcast: We're twice as fast as Google's 1Gbps Fiber (for x4 the price)

Google's stated aim of bringing some competition into the US broadband market has led to an interesting offer from Comcast – it'll double the Chocolate Factory's connection speed for more than four times the monthly cost. Comcast's Gigabit Pro Xfinity service, launched on Monday, will offer residential customers living within …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jul 2015

Hacking Team: We’ll be back in the spyware biz before you know it

Hacked snoopware maker Hacking Team says it will continue its operations as soon as possible – and claims the huge source-code leak it suffered didn’t get all of the company's crown jewels. "What happened earlier this summer in the attack on our company was a reckless and vicious crime," said CEO David Vincenzetti in the …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jul 2015
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

New Horizons mission to Pluto prepares for terrifying silence on Tuesday AM

On Tuesday morning at 0449 PDT (1149 UTC), the New Horizons space probe will make mankind’s first visit to Pluto, and there will be much rejoicing; but we won’t actually know if the mission is a success until much later. At a press conference on Monday the team, some of whom have been working on the project for more than 20 …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jul 2015
The new Pirate Bay logo

Pirate Bay founders 'cleared of copyright crimes' in Belgium

The four founders of the Pirate Bay have been cleared of copyright infringement in a Belgian court – after it was found that they couldn’t be held responsible for the site after selling it in 2006, it is reported. The Pirate Bay's cofounders Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, former site spokesman Peter Sunde, and site …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jul 2015

Canadian dirtbag jailed for SWAT'ing, doxing women gamers

A Canadian teenager who spent a year harassing women gamers and their families has been sentenced to 16 months in a youth prison and eight months' probation after admitting 23 charges. The tearaway made bogus emergency calls to the police – giving the addresses of his victims' so that armed SWAT teams would turn up at their …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jul 2015
Katherine Archuleta

US OPM boss quits after hackers stole chapter and verse on 21.5m Americans' lives

The director of the US Office of Personnel Management has handed in her resignation in the wake of further revelations about the scale of the hacking attack on the agency. "This morning, I offered, and the President accepted, my resignation as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management," she said in a statement. "I …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jul 2015
Black hole

GIGANTIC galaxy-chomping black hole rips boffins a new one

A team of astroboffins from ETH Zurich's Institute for Astronomy have discovered an enormous black hole that shouldn't exist. The black hole is one of the largest ever recorded, the equivalent of about seven billion the mass of our Sun. It resides in the heart of galaxy CID-947, which is around 11 billion light years away, …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jul 2015
Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)

NASA chooses ace SPACE PILOTS who'll take the USA back into manned flight

NASA has chosen the astronauts who will be first in the upcoming return by America to manned space operations. All four are veteran space fliers and former military test pilots. "For as long as I’ve been Administrator, President Obama has made it very clear that returning the launches of American astronauts to American soil is …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jul 2015
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Wow, another NSA leak: Network security code appears on GitHub

The NSA today revealed it has uploaded source code to GitHub to help IT admins lock down their networks of Linux machines. The open-source software is called the System Integrity Management Platform (SIMP). It is designed to make sure networks comply with US Department of Defense security standards, but the spy agency says it …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jul 2015
Jeb Johnson

US Homeland Security boss wants nationwide law for reporting network break-ins

Politicians need to educate themselves about technology and enact new legislation to strengthen America's computer networks against attack, according to the director of US Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. Speaking at a conference organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Johnson said that top of his wish …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jul 2015
James Comey

Crap crypto crackdown coming as FBI boss testifies to US Congress

Senators on both sides of the political divide in the US support the idea of forcing American tech firms to cripple their encryption systems so that the cops and Feds can snoop on people at will. On Wednesday, FBI director James Comey told both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee how device …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jul 2015
airplane just kidding shot

Router cockup grounds United Airlines flights WORLDWIDE

A single dodgy router managed to crash the entire United Airlines computer network, leading to the cancellation of flights across the globe. See that long line, that's @united in Boise. see any other lines at other airlines? Nope, don't fly #UnitedAirlines pic.twitter.com/PnWRcGtPJM — Jeralyn Novak (@AgCommunicator) July 8, …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jul 2015

Security gurus deliver coup de grace to US govt's encryption backdoor demands

With congressional hearings due on Wednesday to discuss US government plans to force tech companies to install backdoors in their encryption systems, some of the leading minds in the security world have published a paper on how, and if, such a system would work. The authors of the 34-page paper [PDF] read like a who's who of …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jul 2015
Johnny Cab

Robo-taxis, what are they good for? Er, the environment and traffic

Taxi firms that move from human drivers of gas-powered cabs to automated electric taxis could cut vehicle emissions by over 90 per cent, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Most of these emission cuts come from shifting from oil power to electric, but the study found that autonomous taxi services …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jul 2015
Black hole

Ginormous HIDDEN BLACK HOLES flood the universe – boffins

Pics NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) X-Ray telescope has observed a cluster of massive black holes that were hidden from Earth's view by interstellar dust clouds. Crucially, the findings indicate that there many more holes dotted around the universe than first thought. The black hole spotted by Durham …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jul 2015

Pluto probe brain OVERLOAD: Titsup New Horizons explained

NASA has explained in detail how its New Horizons deep-space probe suffered a computer meltdown just as it was moving in towards its destination: the tiny frost-world Pluto on the fringes of the Solar System. At 2pm Eastern Time on Saturday July 4 – Independence Day in the US – contact with the spacecraft was lost. The ground …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jul 2015

Hacking Team havoc shows even 'security experts' suck at security

Analysis Over the weekend, 400GB of highly sensitive files belonging to Italian malware spyware software house Hacking Team were spread over the internet for everyone to see. The leaked source code and documents look legit, and match what is already known about the secretive firm, which specializes in selling software for monitoring …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jul 2015
Kuratas robot


Vids An industrial company in Japan has accepted an American challenge to a duel between massive robots the size of buildings and weighing in at many tons each, each piloted by human crews. Youtube Video Last month Boston-based Megabots issued a vid challenge to their competitors at Suidobashi Heavy Industries for an international …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jul 2015

Self/Less: Crap science, eyebrow acting, and immortality for the 1%

Film review Director Tarsem Singh has something of a fascination with technology and medicine. His first film, The Cell, posited using a virtual reality mind meld system and his latest, Self/Less, is all about swapping minds though the power of high tech. Daniel, a cancer-stricken New York property developer (Ben Kingsley), receives an …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jul 2015