Videos

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IoT worm can hack Philips Hue lightbulbs, spread across cities

Researchers have developed a proof-of-concept worm they say can rip through Philips Hue lightbulbs across entire cities – causing the insecure web-connected globes to flick on and off. The software nasty, detailed in a paper titled IoT Goes Nuclear: Creating a ZigBee Chain Reaction [PDF], exploits hardcoded symmetric …
Darren Pauli, 10 Nov 2016
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Silicon Valley's oligarchs got a punch in the head – and that's actually good thing

Comment Looking for silver linings from the Election of President Donald J Trump? There may not be many – but I might just have found one. A Republican trifecta (controlling the White House and both Houses) would be the big news today as it signals a "change election", and it hasn't happened since 1928. But Trump is Trump, so that isn …
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What's that, Adobe? A Photoshop for faking voices?

Recorded voice evidence will never quite be the same again. It might not even be "evidence". Last week, Adobe demonstrated a voice manipulation package called VoCo – a research project, and not (yet) a product, it says. Described as a "Photoshop for voiceovers", VoCo is actually quite brilliant. Given a speaking sample of …
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Computer glitches force US election poll stations to stay open for longer

Polling stations in the swing US state of North Carolina will stay open late after mystery glitches stopped electronic voting systems from working. The board of elections in the political battleground voted within the past hour or so to allow eight precincts in Durham and Columbus counties to stay open past the previously …
Shaun Nichols, 9 Nov 2016
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Judge throws out Trump lawyer's demand for poll worker info – because it'll feed Twitter trolls

A judge in Nevada has thrown out a lawsuit from a lawyer representing Donald Trump, arguing that she would not order the release of election poll worker information due to "Twitter trolls." "There will no harassment," argued Brian Hardy, the campaign's lawyer, who wants the details about people present at an early-voting poll …
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Microsoft prises open Azure containers, pours in a little Kubernetes

Faced with an increasingly untidy template-base in the Azure Container Service (ACS), Microsoft's decided the best way to get things under control is to open source it and let the community handle things. Over here at GitHub, Redmond explains the open-sourced ACS Engine can generate Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates for …
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Is that you, HAL? AI can now see secrets through lipreading – kinda

AI surveillance could be about to get a lot more advanced, as researchers move on from using neural networks for facial recognition to lipreading. A paper submitted by researchers from the University of Oxford, Google DeepMind and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research is under review for ICLR 2017 (Conference on …
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Zerg rush! Now Google DeepMind, Blizzard train AIs with StarCraft battles

Vid Google DeepMind is partnering with Blizzard Entertainment, the producers of the hugely popular StarCraft game, to set the real-time strategy game as the next challenge in AI. The announcement was made during BlizzCon, a video games convention held by Blizzard Entertainment today, and comes right after researchers from Facebook …
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Any questions? No, not you again at the back, please God no

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Toy bears and model aeroplanes. Mini tubs of Pringles. Super-expensive watches that look like rusty bicycle parts adorned with a mashed insects. [sings] These are a few of my faaaavourite thiiiiings. Yes indeed, every modern luxury that Western capitalism can conjure are to be found on board this no-frills flight across the …
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Microsoft's chaps slap Slack chat brats with yackety-yak app

Microsoft has created Teams, an Office 365 chat app that is a direct competitor to Slack in the messaging sphere. Teams sits on top of Office 365 Business and Enterprise editions and allows users to create private or public online chat groups, communicate via Skype for videoconferencing, and link in Office apps and third-party …
Iain Thomson, 2 Nov 2016
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Teen UK hacker pleads guilty after earning $385k from DDoS tool

A 19 year-old Hertfordshire man has pled guilty to running the Titanium Stresser booter service that offered distributed denial of service (DDoS)-as-a-service. Such services are often marketed as innocuous and legitimate stress testing tools, but are instead often used for cheap and effective attacks of websites. Prosecutors …
Darren Pauli, 2 Nov 2016
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Sound-mufflers chuck acoustic sleep blanket at the noise-plagued

Ever wondered why the Bose-style noise-cancelling technology can’t be made to work for rooms? Actually it can, but getting it to muffle sudden noises such as dogs barking or gunshots, so your sleep isn’t broken, and doing so at consumer prices represents a whole new set of challenges. A new Kickstarter project from sound- …
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Docker user? Haven't patched Dirty COW yet? Got bad news for you

Here's another reason to pay attention to patching your Linux systems against the Dirty COW vulnerability: it can be used to escape Docker containers. That news comes from Paranoid Software's Gabriel Lawrence, who describes the escape here. Dirty COW is a race condition in Linux arising from how Copy-On-Write (the COW in the …
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SpaceX to explosion conspiracy theorists: There's no grassy knoll at Cape Canaveral

Video Conspiracy theorists can stop looking for a grassy knoll near SpaceX's Cape Canaveral launch complex: the company reckons it's close to explaining why its September launch failed so spectacularly. The explosion destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket, roughly US$200 million of Facebook satellite payload, and extensively damaged the launch …
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Geohot gone geocold on georides: Comma.ai self-driving car kit cancelled

George "Geohot" Hotz is cancelling his Comma.ai self-driving car project after the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) threatened to fine him tens of thousands of dollars over safety concerns. Hotz, who made a name for himself jailbreaking iPhone and PlayStation firmware, had been planning to launch Comma …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Oct 2016
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Getting your tongue around foreign tech-talk is easier than you think

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I live in a bag-arse. Bag-arses are great places to live in. School-run monster trucks avoid them. Transient pedestrian litter-louts don’t even know they exist. Noisy buses and smelly lorries refuse to come anywhere near a bag-arse. The street sign even has “Bag-arse” proudly displayed under the name in bold red letters. Of …
Alistair Dabbs, 28 Oct 2016
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Hacker's Icarus machine steals drones midflight

PacSec Security researcher Jonathan Andersson has developed a tidy hardware module capable of fully hijacking a variety of popular drones and remote control gear running over the most popular protocol. Trend Micro's advanced security group manager told The Register he developed the Icarus box, and it only needs to be within range of …
Darren Pauli, 27 Oct 2016
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Microsoft goes back to the drawing board – literally, with 28" tablet and hockey puck knob

Microsoft today revealed the Surface Studio, a 28" drawing-board-like PC you can stick a hockey-puck-looking dial on to control software. The touchscreen super-fondleslab was announced alongside an updated Surface Book. Redmond also unveiled the next major update to its latest operating system: Windows 10 Creators Update. …
Iain Thomson, 26 Oct 2016
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Burgundian iPhone wrecker hit with damages, suspended sentence

A bellicose Burgundian has been served a six-month suspended sentence and a pile of damages after being driven to distraction by a glitchy iPhone and taking revenge on his local Apple store with a shiny metal ball. According to French tech site Slice42, Yann Serre had bought an iPhone 6 in the Dijon Apple store in January 2015 …
Clodagh Doyle, 26 Oct 2016
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'Non-state actors*' likely to blame for Dyn mega-attack – US intel chief

A senior US intelligence chief has said that "non-state actors" – bored kids or crooks* – are likely behind the high-profile attack on DNS provider Dyn last week. A massive DDoS attack against Dyn resulted in multiple high-profile websites – including Twitter, Amazon and Netflix – to be unavailable last Friday. US director of …
John Leyden, 26 Oct 2016
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Hackers pop top 'secure' wireless keyboard and mouse kits, gain RCE

Ruxcon Wireless keyboard and mouse manufacturers including Microsoft, Fujitsu, and Logitech have been forced to fix borked encryption in peripherals that allow physical attackers to hijack computers. Researchers and phDs Gerhard Klostermeier and Matthias Deeg with Germany-based security firm SySS tested five devices badged as secure …
Darren Pauli, 24 Oct 2016
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DARPA hands space junk spotting scope to US Air Force

The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) is on track for its transfer to a site in Australia later this year. Late last week, DARPA handed the SST over to the US Air Force, which will operate the space junk and comet hunter from a site in Western Australia in conjunction with …
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What will happen when I'm too old to push? (buttons, that is)

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I'd like you to consider my underwear. As we move inexorably towards another Christmas – for American readers, I understand you prefer the euphemism "Holiday Season" for its more generous syllable-count – close relatives have begun asking what gifts I might like to receive on the big day. What I want, of course, is toys. …
Alistair Dabbs, 21 Oct 2016
UBON RATCHATHANI, THAILAND - JANUARY 25, 2015: Mario pixel art printed on poster <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-797371p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">tulpahn</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a> video img

Nintendo's new console-tab

Nintendo's announced its new “Switch”, a console that's also a tablet. As depicted in the video below, the Switch will offer a dock that connects to your tellie and puts games on the big screen. The dock conceals the device's own screen, but if you take it out of the dock, you can carry on playing the very same game. Switch's …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016
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Uni students float into Hyperloop finals with levitating prototype

A team of students from the University of Cincinnati has passed through to the final round of Elon Musk's Hyperloop challenge by demonstrating the magnetic levitation of hover engines. A loud whirring sound was emitted on October 17 as the 14-foot-long Hyperloop prototype floated above the ground by a quarter of an inch. The …
Katyanna Quach, 20 Oct 2016
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Czech, mate: Cops cuff Russian bloke accused of LinkedIn mega-hack

Vid Czech Republic police have arrested a Russian believed to be the hacker behind the massive 2012 theft of more than 100 million LinkedIn user credentials. Working in cooperation with the FBI and Interpol, Prague cops detained the man, named only as Yevgeniy N, on October 5. He now faces extradition to America to be tried on …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Oct 2016
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DARPA unveils robot co-pilot

Good news. DARPA’s ambitious project to recreate Otto, the autopilot from Airplane, is finally bearing fruit. ALIAS, The Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System program, was announced in 2014. Autopilots are almost as old as the aeroplane – with Sperry demonstrating automatic flight control in 1912. But unlike its …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2016
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US reactor breaks fusion record – then runs out of cash and shuts down

Video In a tale that tells you all you need to know about the parlous state of American science, a fusion reactor has broken plasma-handling records in the last few days before losing its funding. The Alcator C-Mod tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, run for the past 23 years by MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, managed to contain …
Iain Thomson, 17 Oct 2016
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Post-referendum UK still part of Euro cyberterror stress test... for now

European enterprises are teaming with information security agencies and governments to run a pan-European cyberwar readiness exercise today. Cyber Europe 2016 - which involves thousands of experts from all 28 EU Member States, Switzerland and Norway - is being co-ordinated by European Union security agency ENISA. It's the …
John Leyden, 14 Oct 2016
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Apple’s macOS Sierra update really puts the fan into 'fanboi'

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “Ooh, I’m so hot! And I’m getting even hotter for you, big boy!” This is totally unexpected. I don’t know what to say. “Do nothing, baby. Just listen to the rush!” I wondered what the noise was. I thought I was going deaf. “Not at all! Now just sit back and contemplate what’s going on in your lap.” As if I could …
Alistair Dabbs, 14 Oct 2016
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New Brit Hubble analysis finds 2,000 billion galaxies, 10x previous count

Douglas Adams was right. Space is really big. New analysis of data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories suggests there are ten times more galaxies out there than previously thought. The theory is advanced in a paper (PDF) titled “The Evolution of Galaxy Number Density at Z < 8 and its implications” that …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Oct 2016
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Hey, you know what Samsung is also burning after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco? $2.3bn

The extraordinary cost of the Galaxy Note 7 recall and withdrawal has been revealed in the latest financial figures from Samsung. On Wednesday, the company revealed its preliminary third-quarter earnings and slashed estimated operating profit from 7.8 trillion Korean won to 5.2 trillion won. The difference is US$2.3bn, almost …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Oct 2016
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FCC slams Comcast with largest-ever fine for a cable company

Updated The US Federal Communications Commission is trumpeting the “largest civil penalty assessed from a cable operator” after it fined Comcast $2.3m for charging its customers for services they didn’t ask for and equipment they didn’t need. The government regulator said Comcast had shown a pattern of “negative option billing,” where …
Iain Thomson, 11 Oct 2016
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Roboats hunt 'mines' and 'submarines' on Ex Unmanned Warrior

RotM The Royal Navy's Unmanned Warrior roboat exercise is currently taking place off the coast of Scotland. Featuring about 40 autonomous systems – mostly seaborne, though including a handful of aerial vehicles as well – the exercise is partially running alongside the main Joint Warrior tri-Service exercise. The Unmanned Warrior …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Oct 2016
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Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

Zimperium researcher Simone Margaritelli has hacked his coffee machine finding a way to brew coffee using the command line. Margaritelli (@evilsocket) says he reverse engineered the app used to control the Smarter AM coffee machine. It means hackers can choose to ignore apps when they need a coffee and instead stumble over to …
Darren Pauli, 10 Oct 2016
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Linus Torvalds says ARM just doesn't look like beating Intel

Linus Torvalds believes ARM has little chance of usurping x86, because the latter has built an open hardware ecosystem that the former just doesn't look like replicating. Torvalds voiced his opinions in a fireside chat with David Rusling, chief technology officer of ARM tools vendor Linaro, at the end of September. Rusling …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Oct 2016
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Invasion of the virus-addled lightbulbs (and other banana stories)

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Yikes, all I have to do is go away for a couple of weeks and all hell breaks loose. But at least it’s the right kind of hell: that is, the veritable technological hell that I’ve been predicting in these columns for years. First off as I sit back in my late-vacation sun lounger to read the news on my tablet is that the Krebs on …
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'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

On-Call Thank the Valar it's Friday, because that means it is time to share another of your peers' tales of stupid things happening at work in our weekly On-Call feature. This week, reader DC brings us a tale from his time on the service desk at a large publishing company. “One afternoon the personal assistant for one of the …
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Australian broadband sat launch also tested next Ariane rocket

Video The European Space Agency (ESA) used the launch of new satellites for India and Australia to test technologies it plans to use in the successor to the Ariane 5 rocket. Flight VA231 went aloft on Thursday, taking with it the Sky Muster II satellite that will help Australia's national broadband network (NBN) to reach remote …
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Chap cuffed after treating commuters to giant-screen smut

Indonesian police have arrested an “IT expert” in South Jakarta after he reconfigured a giant LED video screen to show porn. The mine's-bigger-than-yours grumble-flick was shown in Wijaya last week, according to The Jakarta Post. The man, identified only as “SAR”, was arrested at the offices of an unnamed company in the South …
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Amazon supremo Bezos' Blue Origin blows its top over Texas desert

Vid + pic The fifth flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket saw a successful blast-off for the crew capsule, as the company simulated an emergency escape for future crews. That is one hell of a booster. #InFlightEscape #GradatimFerociter https://t.co/7ZRRe2HnMO — Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) October 5, 2016 The rocket rose up over the …
Iain Thomson, 5 Oct 2016
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Yahoo! tries!, fails! to! shoot! down! email! backdoor! claim!

Updated Almost 24 hours after refusing to deny allegations that it allowed US intelligence free rein on its email systems, Yahoo! has issued a carefully worded non-denial. "The article is misleading," the statement reads, referring to yesterday's Reuters report. "We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize …
Iain Thomson, 5 Oct 2016