Iain Thomson

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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
Oprah

Linux devs open up universal Ubuntu Snap packages to other distros

Analysis The Snap application container system released in April with Ubuntu 16.04 is now going to be opened up to many other Linux distros after a surprise discovery by developers. In a press call to journalists, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth (accompanied at times by a rather excitable Labrador) explained that shortly after the …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jun 2016
A partially-eaten langos

Cisco is to spend $10m on infosec scholarships to 'widen talent pool'

Cisco is setting up a $10m scholarship fund to train the next generation of IT security staff. The Global Cybersecurity Scholarship Program will run for two years and will pay for 10,000 applicants to be trained in the art of cyber security. It includes a mentoring program to provide specialist knowledge. The basic coursework …
Iain Thomson, 14 Jun 2016
Philips Android TV

Forget Game of Thrones as Android ransomware infects TVs

Researchers at Trend Micro have spotted a new variant of ransomware code that can be used to lock down Android-powered smartphones and televisions. The FLocker (short for the Frantic Locker) malware has been in circulation since at least April 2015 and has concentrated on locking down smartphone handsets running the latest …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jun 2016
Facebook Safety Check alert Orlando

Orlando shootings bring Facebook's safety check to US soil

In the wake of the murder of 49 people in Orlando on Sunday morning, Facebook users in the US got their first real taste of the company's Safety Check service. "Waking up this morning, I was deeply saddened to hear about the shooting in Orlando. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the LGBT …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jun 2016
Poison pill

Crafty plan to give FBI warrantless access to browser histories axed

A sly attempt to grant the FBI warrantless access to people's browser histories in the US has been shot down by politicians. Unfortunately, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2015, which would have brought in some privacy safeguards for Americans, was cut down in the crossfire. The ECPA …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2016

Chinese space station 'out of control', will do best firework impression

The Chinese space agency has apparently lost control of its Tiangong 1 mini-space station, which is expected to return to Earth as a fireball. The Middle Kingdom's state media reported in March that the space station's systems had been shut down and the platform was officially retired. Now there's word from the science …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jun 2016
Tom Perkins

Silicon Valley granddad and HP boss-killer Tom Perkins dies aged 84

Obit Tom Perkins, seen by many as one of the grandfathers of Silicon Valley, has died at the age of 84 after a prolonged illness. Perkins was born in White Plains, New York, in 1932 and showed an early interest in technology, earning a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1953 and an MBA from Harvard four …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jun 2016

Hobbits really did exist – and endured erectus shrinkage, say boffins

A new paper in the journal Nature suggests that a hobbit-sized relative of modern humans shrunk to their diminutive status as a result of being trapped on an island. In 2003, archaeologists working on the Indonesian island of Flores found remains of a humanoid species that would have stood only 3.5 feet (1.06 meter) tall at …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jun 2016
Twitter for Mac New

Twitter: Don't know where hackers got those logins but it wasn't from us

Twitter has said it isn't the source of a database containing 32,888,300 login details of its users, but that it is investigating. The database, found by LeakedSource on dark web forums, contains one or two emails per user, their login name, and password, none of which is encrypted. LeakedSource has added the data to its …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jun 2016
Tin foil hat

Not-so Secret Rulers of the World gather to talk cybersecurity, AI and, er, TalkTalk?

It's the conspiracy theorists' favorite time of the year, as the annual Bilderberg Meeting kicks off on June 9 at the luxurious Taschenbergpalais Hotel in Dresden. The meetings, held since 1954, bring together around 130 business and political leaders from Europe and North America. This year ten main topics are up for …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jun 2016
Lexus screen

Lexus cars suffer Purple Screen of Death – code bug turns the air blue

US owners of later-model Lexus cars have had a frustrating day after an over-the-air update left the entertainment and navigation systems locked in a loop of restarts and flashing purple hues. Lexus has blamed "errant data" that was broadcast to some Lexi sold after 2014, causing the system controlling navigation, audio, …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jun 2016

Bing web searches may reveal you have cancer (so, er, don't use Bing?)

Search engine results can be a useful predictor for cancer and can even beat doctors to the mark, according to new research from Microsoft. In a paper published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, a Redmond team detailed how, by analyzing data from Bing users who looked up symptoms of pancreatic cancer, they could get an …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 2016

Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

Police in Oklahoma are deploying an electronic scanner that can drain currency from prepaid credit cards seized at the roadside using civil asset forfeiture laws. The Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) handheld scanner was developed at the request of the Department of Homeland Security for use by US border guards. …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 2016
ransomware

Calgary uni pays ransomware criminals $20k for its files back

Administrators at the University of Calgary, Canada, have caved in to criminals and paid a $20,000 ransom to decrypt their computer systems' files after getting hit by a malware infection. Last month, the university fell prey to ransomware, which installed itself on machines, scrambled documents and demanded cash to recover …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 2016

FBI tries again to get warrantless access to your browser history

US legislators are making another attempt to give the FBI access to anyone's web browser history with a new amendment to the pending review of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2015. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the amendment [PDF], which would allow the FBI to use National Security …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jun 2016