Iain Thomson

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Hacked US OPM boss: We'll fix our IT security – just give us $21 million

The boss of the US government's thoroughly ransacked Office of Personnel Management has – rightly – come in for a rough ride from members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Politicians on both sides of the trenches tore strips off the lamentable state of security in the agency, which was raided by …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2015
St Louis Cardinals

FBI to 'aggressively' probe St Louis Cardinals in baseball 'hack' storm

The St Louis Cardinals – the perennial good guys of pro baseball – are being investigated by the FBI after someone allegedly gatecrashed computer systems belonging to the Cardinals' former rivals, the Houston Astros. Office staff at the Cardinals may have gained unauthorized access to the Astros' internal databases using nothing …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2015
Ask toolbar

Vintage Ask toolbar is malware – and we'll kill Jeeves, says Microsoft

Older versions of the Ask toolbar, the bane of many a computer user over the years, has been declared persona non grata by Microsoft, and Redmond says its security software will now kill it on sight. In a June 11 update to its Malware Protection Center site, Microsoft states that older versions of the toolbar, which set itself …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jun 2015
Uranus

Moon blocks Uranus for stargazers Down Under

Inhabitants of Australasia who enjoy peering into Uranus are going to be denied on June 12 as the strange globe slides behind the Moon. It's not often that planets get occulted by the Moon, and losing Uranus isn't that common an occurrence, and this one is something only people in the southern hemisphere can indulge in. Those of …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift noggin-bucket ... heyyy, errr ... have we all got them on already?

Pics+Vid Oculus, on Thursday, showed off its Rift virtual reality digi-goggs that it will sell to world+dog in 2016. The upstart company also announced a new partnership with Microsoft: the Redmond software giant will bundle an Xbox wireless controller with every headset. "We're finally ready to deliver on the dream of VR," Brendan Iribe …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015

If hackers can spy on you all then so should we – US Senator logic

Following the cyber-attack during which dossiers on four million US government employees were stolen from Uncle Sam's servers, staggering out of the smoldering blast crater is Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). And he's not happy. In his soot-covered hand is a copy of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), and this week, he …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015
Gorn

Google's super-AI boffin, Bilderberg nobs, and a secret Austrian confab

Google is going to have more staffers than any other company at the annual Bilderberg Group meeting of US and European leaders, which begins on Thursday in the resort town of Telfs-Buchen in Austria. Eric Schmidt, a longtime member of the Bilderberg set, will be attending this year's shindig, where the cream of society (and …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015
A400M Atlas - RIAT 2013 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/24874528@N04/ cc 2.0 attribution sharealike https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Config file wipe blunder caused deadly Airbus A400M crash – claim

A dodgy software installation that deleted vital files caused last month's Airbus 400M transport plane crash in which four people died, it is claimed. On May 9, a test flight of the A400M, intended to replace the aging Hercules as a mainstay of NATO's air mobility fleet, crashed in Spain, killing four of the six crew. According …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jun 2015
LDSD

FLYING SAUCER crashes into Pacific off Hawaii - NASA

Sailors in waters to the west of the Hawaiian island of Kauai will have just seen a curious sight indeed: a flying saucer screaming out of the sky and smashing into the Pacific. The craft was NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), a 15-foot-wide saucer-shaped machine hooked up to a huge parachute to test methods for …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jun 2015
Samsung S6 active

Screw you, Apple! We're still making phones no one wants – Samsung

Sales of Samsung's smartphones have slipped of late in comparison to the iPhone, but the chaebol is trying to steal some of the thunder from Apple's WWDC announcements by announcing a new device of its own. The new handset, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, isn't much in the way of an evolution. Basically it's a S6 that's been …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 2015
LightSail

Bill Nye's bonkers LightSail spaceship unfurls solar sails at last

Pic The Planetary Society says its LightSail spacecraft has finally deployed its 32 sq metre solar sails. The Earth-orbiting craft is now harvesting energy from the momentum of the Sun's photons, we're told. Motor is running! Sail is Deploying!!! 39 Years after Prof. Sagan spoke of it! — Bill Nye (@BillNye) June 7, 2015 It's been …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 2015

The weapons pact threatening IT security research

Analysis The US government has rewritten chunks of an obscure weapons trade pact between itself, Europe, Russia, and other nations – a pact that is now casting its shadow over today's computer security tools. Dubbed the Wassenaar Agreement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, the treaty limits who …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jun 2015
Google car

Google: Our self-driving cars would be tip-top if you meatheads didn’t crash into them

Google's self-driving car engineers have released their first progress report, and they said they will publish monthly updates from now on. "We’ve made a lot of progress with our self-driving technology over the past six years, and we’re still learning," the report [PDF] stated. "Every day we head out onto public streets so we …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jun 2015
ISIS fighters

ISIS command post obliterated after 'moron' jihadi snaps a selfie, says US Air Force

Medieval butcher bastards ISIS are adept at using the web to lure Western followers to their warped cause – but the internet can turn around and bite back. Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, head of US Air Combat Command, told a conference that analysts at the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group spotted a …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jun 2015
ISIS fighters

FBI: Apple and Google are helping ISIS by offering strong crypto

Apple and Google are helping terrorism by offering users encrypted communications, a senior FBI official has told the House Homeland Security Committee in Congress, and US law enforcement needs to stop them from doing it. Michael Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, told Congress that ISIS and …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jun 2015
America

Latest Snowden leak: NSA can snoop internet to catch 'hackers' – no warrants needed

The latest documents to be released from the Snowden archive show that the NSA was secretly authorized to carry out warrantless surveillance on US internet traffic in the name of cybersecurity. Two memos released by ProPublica in cooperation with The New York Times show that in May 2012, the US Justice Department authorized the …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jun 2015
Terminator

DARPA unTerminators gather for Robotics Challenge finals in Hell*

Schwarzenegger-sized robots that can break through walls are the staple of Hollywood, but the real thing is coming to California. The US military's secret-squirrel super-science-project unit DARPA is preparing to hold the finals of its Robotics Challenge contest in Los Angeles this weekend. 25 teams are flying in to take part …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jun 2015
Pluto's moon NIx

Hubble spots Pluto's moons are a chaotic mess of tumbling rock

Astronomy fans are still split over whether it was right to declassify Pluto as a planet in 2006 and call it a dwarf. Now the latest data from the Hubble Space telescope shows that the distant rock-ball is far weirder than we first thought. Pluto has one large moon, dubbed Charon after its discovery in 1978, and the two orbit …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jun 2015
WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks offers $100k for copies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – big biz's secret govt pact

For the last ten years, politicians and business leaders have been hammering out the largest trade deal in US history. Very few people have actually seen what's in it, and WikiLeaks wants to change that. Youtube Video The document-leaking website, run by Julian AssangeTM, is offering a $100,000 (£65k) reward for the text of …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jun 2015
Mitch McConnell

US Senate passes USA Freedom Act – a long lip service to NSA reforms

+Comment The US Senate has passed the USA Freedom Act that adds mild limits to Uncle Sam's intelligence agencies' activities on American soil. It was passed with a 67-32 vote. Glad the Senate finally passed the USA Freedom Act. It protects civil liberties and our national security. I'll sign it as soon as I get it. — President Obama (@ …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jun 2015
LDSD

NASA shock: Flying saucer predicted over Hawaii on Wednesday

Pic On Wednesday, inhabitants of the Hawaiian island of Kauai will see a flying saucer rise up into the air, fire its rocket motors, and head into space – as NASA tests its Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD). The LDSD is a circular spacecraft resembling the UFOs of old. It is 15ft (4.5m) across and weighs 6,808 pounds (3, …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jun 2015
Cessna

Forget black helicopters, FBI flying surveillance Cessnas over US cities. Warrant? What's that?

The FBI has confirmed it is using shell companies to fly surveillance aircraft with cellphone scanners and video cameras over US cities on a daily basis – and without the need for warrants. The aircraft were spotted over Baltimore last month monitoring the protests and riots in that city. An AP investigation has confirmed that …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jun 2015
Spy cat Zhuzha. Pic: Mark Vegas

US Patriot Act's phone spying rules are dead – but that means very little

Analysis For the last 36 hours the NSA hasn't been able to collect the metadata on every American's mobile phone calls, and yet the Republic still stands, despite warnings of dire consequences. "A small group of senators is standing in the way. And, unfortunately, some folks are trying to use this debate to score political points," said …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jun 2015

Facebook flings PGP-encrypted email at world+dog. Don't lose your private key

Hands-on Facebook can now powerfully encrypt notification emails sent to its users with PGP – keeping potentially sensitive messages out of the hands of hackers and other snoopers. The social network has also added a spot for people to share their public PGP keys via the HTTPS-protected website. "We are gradually rolling out an …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jun 2015
TOR Logo

Unmasking hidden Tor service users is too easy, say infosec bods

Updated Security researchers speaking at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam this week have demonstrated that users of hidden services on Tor are putting themselves at risk of being identified – if an attacker is willing to put in the time and resources. The discovery is significant, because browsing hidden services had been …
Iain Thomson, 30 May 2015
Kim Jong Un

NSA eggheads tried to bork Nork nukes with Stuxnet. It failed – report

The NSA tried to wreck North Korea's nuclear weapons lab using the centrifuge-knackering malware Stuxnet, and ultimately failed, multiple intelligence sources claim. US spies developed Stuxnet with the Israelis to attack and break Iran's nuke-fuel equipment from the mid to late 2000s. The software nasty was tweaked to thwart …
Iain Thomson, 29 May 2015
Cheetah

MIT's robo-cheetah leaps walls in a cyborg hunt for Sarah Connor

Vid Robot builders at MIT have created a cyber-cat that can run and jump over objects without human control. Youtube Video The robot in question, the DARPA-funded Cheetah, is capable of leaping over walls 18 inches tall – more than half its own height – and continuing to run as fast as 22 kilometers per hour (13mph). "A running …
Iain Thomson, 29 May 2015
Google Photo

Google spins up 'FREE, unlimited' cloud photo storage 4 years before ad giant nixes it

Google I/O Google has wheeled out a cloud-hosted photo storage service that, it hopes, will mean that embarrassing images from your past can be organized by computers so you don't have to. Youtube video The photo album software, available on Android and iOS from Thursday, slurps up all the photos on your mobile, and uploads them to a …
Iain Thomson, 29 May 2015

And then the Google lad says: Of course you can use Android Wear without a smartphone

Google I/O Apple may be winning the PR war with its Watch, but Google thinks an open platform, and some nifty Android Wear software, can give it the edge in the smartwatch world. At its annual Google I/O developers shindig in San Francisco, the Chocolate Factory said in the first year of Android Wear the operating system has been updated …
Iain Thomson, 29 May 2015
Microsoft Clippy

Android M's Now on Tap cyber-secretary is like Clippy on Class A drugs

Google I/O Google today showed off the latest build of Android, version M, at its annual developer conference Google I/O in San Francisco. "Version L was a major release so with M we've gone back to basics," Sundar Pichai, Google's senior veep and heir presumptive to the advertising giant's throne. "The focus is on polish and quality and …
Iain Thomson, 28 May 2015
Robot spider

Don't PANIC but ... UNSTOPPABLE robots IMMUNE to injury built by boffins

If you're the future mother of a resistance leader who's destined to save the world from killer mechanoids then life just got a little tougher. Scientists have developed software that allows robots to work around injuries in minutes and carry on their assigned tasks. Youtube Video The research, published in the journal Nature, …
Iain Thomson, 28 May 2015

WTF is going on with the zombie NSA-friendly Patriot Act? Let us help

President Obama has told the US Senate to get its act together over the spy-friendly Patriot Act, key provisions of which are due to expire at midnight on Sunday. The three provisions that will lapse include Section 215, which the NSA uses as legal cover for its blanket slurping of citizens' mobile phone records, and which a US …
Iain Thomson, 27 May 2015

That EVIL TEXT that will CRASH your iPhone: We pop the hood

Analysis Cads and/or bounders can crash and reboot iPhones from afar by sending them specially crafted texts, thanks to a new vulnerability in iOS. A 75-byte sequence of unicode characters triggers the glitch, and can be smuggled into text messages, causing iThings to crash if they appear in the victim's notification screen. Texting the …
Iain Thomson, 27 May 2015

Oculus adds Surreal Vision to its virty portfolio

Oculus Rift, the big dog in virtual reality headsets, has snapped up British startup Surreal Vision for an undisclosed sum. "We’re thrilled to announce that the Surreal Vision team has joined Oculus Research!" the Facebook-owned firm said in a blog post. "Surreal Vision is one of the top computer vision teams in the world …
Iain Thomson, 27 May 2015
Hyundai Android Auto

First production car powered by Android Auto rolls out – and it's a Hyundai

Nearly a year after Google announced it was adapting Android to act as a car operating system, the first vehicle using the software has gone on sale from South Korean carmaker Hyundai. Google demoed its Android Auto operating system at last year's I/O developer conference, and said then it had 40 car companies lined up to use …
Iain Thomson, 26 May 2015
detour

eBay bug turns phishing email links into malware-stuffed booby prizes

eBay is racing to fix a second serious security flaw that may allow criminals to spread malware through files seemingly hosted by the online tat bazaar. The bug is closely related to an earlier one discovered by David Sopas, a researcher at security firm WebSegura in Portugal. The hole uncovered by Sopas, since closed by eBay, …
Iain Thomson, 23 May 2015
spy_eye_648

'The Google execs, the journalists, plus Brit and US spybosses in a cosy mansion confab'

A high-level private meeting between Silicon Valley execs, spies and others was held in the UK this month: on the agenda, the state of government surveillance, and what limits should be put on it. The attendee list is impressive. Key speakers apparently included former acting CIA boss John McLaughlin; former White House deputy …
Iain Thomson, 22 May 2015
Brain

ROBOQUAFF! Boffins build smooth robot arm to lift a pint of beer

Vid Scientists have developed a brain-controlled prosthetic arm that can perform fine motor movements well enough to lift a pint of beer without spilling it. Beer and the robot arm It's my round Mind-controlled prosthetic limbs are nothing new, but they tend to be rather jerky in their movement, which severely limits what people …
Iain Thomson, 22 May 2015
Snowden

Snowden latest: NSA planned sneak attacks on Android app stores

The latest package of documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden details how the intelligence services planned to host man-in-the-middle attacks to install tracking and control software onto Android smartphones. According to a presentation released from the Snowden archive to The Intercept the so-called "5 Eyes" nation's …
Iain Thomson, 22 May 2015
Dragon capsule lands in ocean

SpaceX signs off on another successful mission with Pacific splashdown

SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule has made a splash-landing in the Pacific Ocean as planned after detaching from the International Space Station. The month-long mission ended with a successful, if damp, landing and the 3,100lb of completed scientific experiments, broken hardware, and dirty clothes has been successfully retrieved. …
Iain Thomson, 21 May 2015
Rand Paul

Rand Paul stages Senate filibuster against Patriot Act

Update Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is currently four hours into a filibuster on the Senate floor over plans to renew sections of the Patriot Act that allow mass surveillance of American citizens. Exclusive video that answers the question: why a filibuster? https://t.co/4HxwQn0IEw — Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 20, 2015 "There comes a …
Iain Thomson, 21 May 2015
Car crash

Get off the phone!! Seven out of ten US drivers put theirs and your lives at risk

Over two-thirds of drivers are dangerously distracted by their smartphones. That's according to a survey of over 2,000 US road users quizzed about their activities while piloting a ton or so of metal down the freeway at high speed. In all, 61 per cent of drivers admitted to sending or reading text messages while behind the …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2015
ULA Atlas launch

US Air Force launches not-so-secret space plane. Thanks Russia

The US Air Force's not-so-secret space plane, the X37-B, has been successfully launched into low-Earth orbit along with an array of interesting test products. The rocket lifted off, after a 20 minute delay, at 1105 EDT (1505 UTC) from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday and delivered the space plane into orbit with its …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2015
The new Pirate Bay logo

Swedish government wins legal case to seize Pirate Bay domains

The Swedish government has won its case to seize piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se, but the site is already back up under another domain with a new logo to show it isn't beaten. The new round of whack-a-mole flared up on Tuesday when The Stockholm District Court ruled in a case brought by government prosecutors against Swedish …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2015
The X-37B space plane being hoisted into position

US Air Force reveals what's inside its top-secret space plane, this time

The US Air Force has responded to fears that it is weaponizing space through its secret space shuttle by providing some details of what it will contain at launch on Wednesday. The now not-so-secret X-37B will lift off at 1045 EDT (1445 UTC) from Cape Canaveral in Florida on an Atlas V rocket operated by the United Launch …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2015
Moments of perspiration

Airplane HACK PANIC! Hold on, it's surely a STORM in a TEACUP

Claims by a security researcher that he hacked an aircraft in flight have been questioned widely across the hacking community and the airline industry. According to a FBI affidavit, security researcher Chris Roberts claimed to have taken control of an airplane using an ordinary laptop connected to the aircraft’s In Flight …
Iain Thomson, 19 May 2015
Revenant in Doom reboot

Doom is BOOM! BOOM! BACK!

It's been nearly 11 years but Doom is back. Bethesda Software has released a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it teaser for the reboot of the famous first-person shooter and confirmed the game will be “unveiled” on June 14 at the E3 2015 games show in Los Angeles. It's been a long time since we've seen a truly new version of the 22-year …
Iain Thomson, 18 May 2015
VR

IN YOUR FACE, Linux and Apple fans! Oculus is Windows-only for now

Facebook's Oculus division has published the tech specs of its Rift virtual reality headset, and it would seem that Apple and Linux fans are out of luck. "Our development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content …
Iain Thomson, 16 May 2015
Quasar 3C 273

Astroboffins perplexed by QUADRUPLE QUASAR CLUSTER find

Baffled astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii are scratching their heads after finding a group of four quasars, a gathering that current cosmological thinking rates as a ten million-to-one chance of occurring. quasars Four into one shouldn't go "If you discover something which, according to current scientific wisdom …
Iain Thomson, 15 May 2015
Combo Breaker

Hacker 3D prints device that can crack a combo lock in 30 seconds

A California hacker who has become an expert in cracking locks has invented a 3D-printed machine that can crack a rotary combination lock in around 30 seconds – and he's released the plans, 3D models, and code as open source. Youtube Video A few weeks ago, Samy Kamkar told the world about a manufacturing flaw in Master Lock …
Iain Thomson, 15 May 2015