Iain Thomson

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Chromebook Pro

Samsung's Chromebook Pro: Overpriced vanilla PC with a stylus. 'Wow'

Hands-on It's been nearly six years since Google announced the launch of its own operating system, Chrome OS, and the CR‑48 Chromebook running it. Since then, Chromebooks have carved out a solid chunk of market share for the operating system. Around 50 per cent of US schoolchildren use Chromebooks in the classroom and Chrome OS is now …
Iain Thomson, 10 Feb 2017
France taxi

Zut alors! Uber wrecked my marriage, fumes French businessman

A French businessman is suing Uber for a ridiculous amount of money, with the claim that the dial-a-ride app cost him his marriage. The unnamed monsieur, from the Côte d'Azur in southern France, says he borrowed his wife's iPhone to order an Uber ride. Although he claims to have logged out of the app, his wife still got …
Iain Thomson, 09 Feb 2017

Microsoft touts cheap-ish anti-patent troll protection shield for Azure-hosted devs

Patent trolls are a growing problem, and Microsoft thinks that it has the solution – an affordable-ish protection scheme for Azure customers. Under the newly announced Azure IP Advantage program, users of Microsoft's cloud compute service can sign up and get the backing of Redmond's arsenal of more than 10,000 technology …
Iain Thomson, 09 Feb 2017
Joe Kelly

Want to come to the US? Be prepared to hand over your passwords if you're on Trump's hit list

The new boss of the US Department of Homeland Security plans to dig deeper into the lives of some of those wishing to enter the Land of the FreeTM – even going as far as demanding web passwords and banking records. In a Q&A with the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, John Kelly said the previous administration had …
Iain Thomson, 08 Feb 2017

Pulsating white dwarf described as a 'dynamo' found, no, not in the back pages, 380 LY away

Fifty years after pulsars were discovered, scientists in the UK and South Africa have spotted the first white dwarf that mimics the emissions of a neutron star. Collapsed star AR Scorpii (AR Sco), spotted 380 light years away by a team from the University of Warwick and the South African Astronomical Observatory, is about the …
Iain Thomson, 08 Feb 2017

Russia (A) bans web porn as a 'bad influence' (B) decriminalizes domestic violence – or (C) all of the above?

Putin and his pals' ongoing attempt to keep Russians safe from the evils of pornography has taken another step forward with the banning of popular smut site Brazzers. The ban, announced by Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor, stems from a case brought last October against the site in the Bolsheglushitsky District …
Iain Thomson, 07 Feb 2017
Old people

Feds snooping on your email without a warrant? US lawmakers are on a war path to stop that

On Monday, the US House of Representatives – normally a body that can't agree on anything – voted unanimously to pass the Email Privacy Act (HR 387). The new legislation amends the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which states that Americans' emails that are unread or stored for more than 180 days can be …
Iain Thomson, 07 Feb 2017

NASA's Curiosity puts cat among the climate pigeons: Lack of CO2 sinks water theory

Data from NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has left scientists scratching their heads. On the one hand, the bot appears to have found evidence that water once flowed on Mars, but on the other hand, the readings suggest there couldn't have been. The problem stems from carbon dioxide, or rather the lack of it. Curiosity has been …
Iain Thomson, 07 Feb 2017

Web banking malware slurps $1.2m for crooks, now kingpin 'fesses up

An online banking malware scam netted criminals $1.2m in stolen funds – and now one of the ringleaders is now facing hard time in the big house. In August 2015, a Long Island online banking customer had $44,000 moved out of their account after a software nasty infected their PC and stole the account's login credentials. The …
Iain Thomson, 06 Feb 2017

Hacker: I made 160,000 printers spew out ASCII art around the world

Printers around the world have been hacked and instructed to churn out pages and even sales receipts of alarming ASCII art. The messages, which began spewing from internet-connected printers on Thursday, read: "Hacked. Stackoverflowin/stack the almighty, hacker god has returned to his throne, as the greatest memegod. Your …
Iain Thomson, 06 Feb 2017

Trump's immigration clampdown has Silicon Valley techies fearing for their house prices

America's technology world is still trying to sort out the kerfuffle caused by President Trump's anti-refugee and seemingly anti-Muslim immigration crackdown. Some engineers aren't just worried about losing their residency rights – they're also concerned about financial ruin. Earlier this week, an Apple staffer suggested to …
Iain Thomson, 04 Feb 2017

Thought your data was safe outside America after the Microsoft ruling? Think again

The US Department of Justice will be happy campers this weekend. A court in Pennsylvania has ruled that Google must obey domestic search warrants for data stored overseas. In other words, Google has to hand over to the FBI suspects' email regardless of where it is held. The ad giant had previously refused to comply with two …
Iain Thomson, 04 Feb 2017

Uncle Sam probes SpaceX – but crack nothing to be alarmed about, we're told

Boeing and SpaceX craft designed to take humans into orbit suffer fractures, according to a leaked report by the US government's General Accountability Office. The dossier, seen by The Wall Street Journal, states that SpaceX has an issue with cracking turbine blades in the fuel delivery system for its rockets. Boeing, …
Iain Thomson, 03 Feb 2017

GCHQ cyber-chief slams security outfits peddling 'medieval witchcraft'

Usenix Enigma 2017 The chief technical director of GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre has rebuked infosec companies for spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about hackers to sell products. At the Enigma 2017 conference this week, Dr Ian Levy said world-plus-dog were trying to flog security defenses to tackle "advanced persistent threats," …
Iain Thomson, 03 Feb 2017
John Launchbury

AI vuln-hunter bots have seen things you people wouldn't believe

Usenix Enigma 2017 Machine-learning systems are unearthing new classes of bugs in operating systems and apps, according to bods from America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The exact nature of these new bug types remains under wraps, although we hear that at least one involves exploitable vulnerabilities in data queues. …
Iain Thomson, 03 Feb 2017
Secret service

Wanna protect your data center? Take tips from the US Secret Service

Usenix Enigma 2017 Data center managers should take some tips from the US Secret Service when protecting vital servers from hackers, says someone who has been through a White House lockdown. In a presentation at Enigma 2017, Nathaniel Gleicher – a former director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council and now head of …
Iain Thomson, 02 Feb 2017

Ohio bloke accused of torching own home after his pacemaker rats him out to cops

A man has been indicted on arson and insurance fraud charges after police got hold of readings from his pacemaker that called his alibi into question. Last September, firefighters in Middletown, Ohio, were called to a blaze gutting Ross Compton's house. The 59-year-old chap told police the fire broke out indoors, and that he …
Iain Thomson, 01 Feb 2017

What's the difference between you and a sea slug? When it comes to IT security, nothing

Usenix Enigma Several academics have been using brain scanning methods to see how people handle computer security, and the resounding result is that our brains are biochemically working against us in this realm. In a talk at the Enigma 2017 security conference, Anthony Vance, professor of information systems at Brigham Young University in …
Iain Thomson, 01 Feb 2017

We need to talk about Granny: She's way more likely to fall for phishing

Usenix Enigma 2017 Research has shown that older people – particularly older women – are more susceptible to phishing scams. You may think our oldies are more suspicious of strangers, but that's sadly not the case. The study was presented at the Enigma 2017 conference by Daniela Oliveira, a professor in the department of computer engineering at …
Iain Thomson, 01 Feb 2017
Stamos Tabriz fireside chat

Human memory, or the lack of it, is the biggest security bug on the 'net

Usenix Enigma 2017 The life of the security IT professional would be a lot easier if people were capable of remembering enough passwords so that they didn't need to reuse them. That was the considered opinion of Facebook’s head of security Alex Stamos and Google’s security princess (her actual Chocolate Factory job title) and Enigma 2017 …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jan 2017
Kim drone

Want to bring down that pesky drone? Try the power of sound

Usenix Enigma 2017 Hacking sensors isn’t as big an area of research as hacking operating systems and firmware, but the results of simple physical hacks can be far-reaching. In a talk at Enigma 2017 Yongdae Kim, professor in the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s Graduate School of Information Security, showed how active and …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jan 2017
Emily Schechter

Google's Chrome is about to get rather in-your-face about HTTPS

Usenix Enigma 2017 Google and Firefox have been key drivers in the quest to get more people using HTTPS online, and starting this week the hammer is coming down. In a speech at Usenix Enigma 2017, Emily Schechter, a product manager for Chrome security, said that progress on HTTPS adoption was going well – currently over half of the top 100 …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jan 2017

Forgot your GitHub password? Facebook cooks up spec to reset logins via social network

Usenix Enigma 2017 Facebook has published a specification for providing secure and reliable account recovery in websites and applications. Recovering access to accounts is, judging from our article archives, too easy for developers to screw up: passwords are stored in plain text, security questions can be guessed or bypassed, and so on. In his …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jan 2017
Apollo 1

NASA honors Apollo 1 crew 50 years after deadly launchpad fire

Pics and video On Friday, NASA unveiled a new memorial for Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward White II, and Pilot Roger Chaffee, who perished when fire broke out in their Apollo 1 capsule. Youtube Video The three were running a test of the capsule on January 27, 1967 ahead of its first flight the following month, with …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jan 2017

Tesla sues ex-manager 'for stealing 100GBs of Autopilot secrets'

Tesla has sued a former employee who left to set up a rival business, claiming he tried a not-so cunning plan to steal company secrets and lure away key staff. Sterling Anderson joined Tesla in 2014 as a senior product manager working on the Model X SUV. In 2015, he became director of the Autopilot team. At the end of 2016, he …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jan 2017

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