Iain Thomson

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
Twilio SIGNAL

Twilio woos developers with add-on marketplace and SIM as a service

On day one of its SIGNAL Developer Conference in San Francisco, cloudy comms firm Twilio has announced a new marketplace for add-ons to its API and a new SIM-card-as-a-service offering to let IoT devices communicate via T‑Mobile. The add-ons marketplace, currently in beta, hosts 20 pieces of code that can be integrated by the …
Iain Thomson, 24 May 2016
stack of newspapers view from the side

Norton bans kernel.org

Bad news for Linux users: security suite Norton thinks that the Linux repository kernel.org is rife with threats. Norton Linux.org page Er, no Symantec's automated analysis system claims to have identified four threats to Norton users on the site and has red flagged it for anyone thinking of visiting. That will come as a …
Iain Thomson, 24 May 2016
Dread Pirate Roberts

Coders crack Oculus DRM in 24 hours, open door to mass piracy

On Friday Oculus broke its word and instituted DRM (digital rights management) controls on its virtual reality headset, blocking non-approved games from its kit. The weekend wasn't over when coders struck back and their crack only makes Oculus' problems worse. The Oculus DRM controls were supposed to kill off a popular piece …
Iain Thomson, 24 May 2016
robot rally car

Safety, pah! Digital Dukes of Hazzard have robot cars powersliding

Video Last month, Google, Ford and Uber started a lobbying group called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to promote autonomous vehicles on safety grounds, but boffins in Georgia are having far more fun with their hardware. While Google spends time pootling around Mountain View at 25mph, researchers at Georgia Tech, the …
Iain Thomson, 23 May 2016
taylor_swift_apple_648

SWIFT moves on security in wake of hacking attacks

The team behind the SWIFT financial transaction network is taking another look at its security after several hacking attempts against its customers. In February, hackers managed to siphon off $81m from Bangladesh's central bank in a raid that – but for a spelling mistake that alerted an analyst – could have taken a lot more. …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2016

Mars satellites show remains of massive tsunamis that ravaged Red Planet

Scientists think they have spotted the remains of two huge tsunamis on Mars caused by asteroids striking the planet back when it still had water. In a paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, the boffins say pictures from the imaging and radar satellites orbiting Mars show the effects of two separate asteroid strikes on …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2016
Chrome boss

Chrome OS to get Android apps via the magic of containers

Google I/O 2016 Google has pulled the move the software market has been waiting ages for, and built a system to run Android apps on its desktop operating system. The system works by setting up a Linux container in the Chrome operating system that runs a complete version of Android in a locked-down environment to minimize security issues. It's …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2016
Google's VR entry page

Forget high-powered PCs, mobile is the future of VR, says Google

Google I/O 2016 Google has been outlining plans for kickstarting its virtual reality portfolio this year, including new hardware, software tools, and developer support. Unlike Facebook's Oculus platform, which requires a high-end PC to crunch the code, Google thinks that you can get a perfectly decent VR experience just using a smartphone, …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2016
Loon balloon

Inside Project Loon – Google's megaplan to build a global internet

Google I/O 2016 Google's I/O developer conference isn't just about code – the Chocolate Factory has many schemes and attendees have been drawn to a large balloon hovering in a corner of the conference venue. The balloon is an example of Project Loon, Google's plan to loft thousands of balloons equipped with LTE antennae that will bring …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2016
android logo

Google asks the public to name the forthcoming Android N operating system

Google I/O 2016 Google has been using its developers conference to show off forthcoming improvements in Android N and is taking the unusual move of asking the public to name it. Traditionally Android builds have been named after foodstuffs, like Jellybean or KitKat – the later picked not for marketing dollars but as an attempt to show how " …
Iain Thomson, 18 May 2016
Google Home

Google slaps Siri with Assistant and Amazon with Home device

Google I/O 2016 Google is getting into the digital helper game with the launch of Assistant, a Siri-style online helper, and promised Google Home – an Echo-like listening station that can be used to house the helper. CEO Sundar Pichai explained that Assistant was the result of ten years of language processing by the Chocolate Factory. Over …
Iain Thomson, 18 May 2016
nulled

Dark web hacking forum hacked and members' privates exposed

In a deliciously ironic turn, the dark web hacking forum Nulled.io has had its user database stolen and published for all to see. Nulled is a forum where hackers exchange stolen credit card and identity details, malware-creation kits, and cracks to common software platforms. Unnamed hackers have broken into the site's database …
Iain Thomson, 17 May 2016
Super-villain Dr Evil puts finger to lip in scheming manner, asks for one million dollars. Pic: New Line Cinema

Bitcoin-ransoming Romney tax 'hacker' faces 25 years inside

A self-confessed hacker who sought a million-dollar Bitcoin payment in exchange for then-US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's tax records has been found guilty of extortion and fraud. In August 2012 Michael Mancil Brown, 37, sent a letter to one of Romney's accountants, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), claiming to have hacked …
Iain Thomson, 17 May 2016
trollstation

Art heist 'pranksters' sent down for six months

Four men that staged two art gallery thefts and a kidnapping as part of a "prank" for their YouTube channel have been jailed by a judge in the UK. The group, operating under the name Trollstation, staged faked thefts at the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain art museum in London this summer, causing panic among …
Iain Thomson, 16 May 2016
Photo by Michael Vadon

Guilty! Trump delivers orange justice to Amazon

Donald Trump has launched a stinging attack on Amazon after the Bezos-owned Washington Post launched an investigation into his background. In an interview on Fox News, the Republican's party's pick for president claimed a group of over 20 journalists at the Post were investigating his entire life. Far from an act of the power …
Iain Thomson, 13 May 2016
Switch

Opera claims 50 per cent power savings with browser update

Browser minnow Opera may have less than two per cent of the market, but thinks the 50 per cent boost to battery life it's baked into a new browser will help it to do better. "Modern processors do an amazing job in saving power by taking tiny naps multiple times per second, and what our development team focused on was writing …
Iain Thomson, 13 May 2016
Impact chip on the ISS

A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

British astronaut Tim Peake has sparked an orbital kerfuffle after he tweeted a picture showing a crack in the International Space Station's window. It was caused by space debris. Often asked if @Space_Station is hit by space debris. Yes – this chip is in a Cupola window https://t.co/iH87Dt80yV pic.twitter.com/7ZvVs4myM0 — Tim …
Iain Thomson, 12 May 2016
Hyperloop

First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Spectators in the Nevada desert have witnessed the first public test of a Hyperloop test vehicle as it accelerated from zero to over 100 miles per hour in a few seconds before running out of track. The vehicle, built by Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies), is intended to show off that the technology publicized by …
Iain Thomson, 12 May 2016
Man in a suit drinking tea out doors reading from his tablet

Dragon splashes down

After a month in orbit the SpaceX dragon capsule splashed down safely in the Pacific. The capsule hit the water at 1151 PT (1851 UTC) around 261 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, after successfully detaching from the International Space Station. It was successfully recovered and is now on its way back to the mainland …
Iain Thomson, 11 May 2016
meteorites

Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction

Californian scientists are testing a system this month that may save humanity in the not-too-distant future. Boffins at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will fire up high-energy lasers to see if they can successfully vaporize rocks from outer space. But don't worry; your tax dollars aren't being used to build …
Iain Thomson, 11 May 2016
Marc Benioff of Salesforce. Pic: Techcrunch

Marc Benioff apologizes as Salesforce NA14 instance goes TITSUP

Workers across the US have been tearing their hair out after the Salesforce NA14 instance suffered a Total Inability To Support Usual Performance around 11 hours ago. Salesforce outage map That's a lot of peeved Californians. Source: DownDetector. Outages have been reported across the US, with the epicenter in the company' …
Iain Thomson, 11 May 2016
Exoplanets

Kepler space telescope spots 1,284 new planets

It's barely been 30 years since NASA spotted its first planet outside our solar system but on Tuesday the agency reported its biggest collection of sightings to date – 1,284 confirmed planets, along with 1,327 additional probable sightings and 707 possibles. The data comes from NASA's Kepler space telescope, which has been …
Iain Thomson, 10 May 2016
band_aid_648

IE and Graphics head Microsoft's Patch Tuesday critical list

There's 15 flaw fixes covering 36 vulnerabilities in this month's patch bundle from Microsoft. Microsoft's browsers need a lot of work – Internet Explorer gets five fixes and the new Edge code has four. Both applications' patches have been named as critical by Redmond. There's also a five-fix bundle for Microsoft's graphics …
Iain Thomson, 10 May 2016

Infosec freeloaders not welcome as malware silo VirusTotal gets tough

Security firms that use the Google-owned VirusTotal malware database but don't contribute to the silo are going to find themselves out on a limb. For the past 12 years, researchers have been feeding samples of software nasties into VirusTotal, allowing antivirus engines to check they can detect malicious code. But the site has …
Iain Thomson, 09 May 2016
prison

Cyber-moolah boss gets 20 years' porridge for money laundering

The boss of virtual currency exchange Liberty Reserve has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $500,000 after pleading guilty to money laundering. Ten years ago, Arthur Budovsky, now 42, set up Liberty Reserve in Costa Rica to exchange virtual currencies for dollars and euros, taking a one per cent transaction fee …
Iain Thomson, 09 May 2016