Videos

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Linux is part of the IoT security problem, dev tells Linux conference

The Mirai botnet? Just the “tip of the iceberg” is how security bods at this week's linux.conf.au see the Internet of Things. Presenting to the Security and Privacy miniconf at linux.conf.au, embedded systems developer and consultant Christopher Biggs pointed out that Mirai's focus on building a big DDoS cannon drew attention …
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Well, that sucks: China's Tencent so sorry after vid emerges of faux blowjob office game

Video China's biggest internet biz Tencent has apologized after women employees were filmed on their knees in front of male coworkers in a raunchy end-of-year party game. Youtube Video The video shows two executives standing with water bottles between their legs, while two young female staff members attempt to unscrew the caps with …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jan 2017
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Laser beam sky mirage cannon can spy on enemies and generate Star Trek-style shields

British defence contractor BAE Systems says it has developed a laser-powered "mirage on demand" which can be used to bend the very fabric of the skies to military commanders' whims. The Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens, developed at BAE's Warton factory in Lancashire, works by "changing the Earth's atmosphere into lens-like …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Jan 2017
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Smart guns are a neat idea on paper. They'll never survive reality

Comment A bright-eyed MIT undergraduate implausibly branded "the Mark Zuckerberg of guns" has recycled an age-old solution looking for a problem – the smart gun. Kai Kloepfer, the undergrad lad in question, received a $50,000 grant from the American Smart Tech Challenges Foundation in 2014 to develop his idea of a Beretta pistol …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Jan 2017
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Happy birthday: Jimbo Wales' sweet 16 Wikipedia fails

Sixteen years ago, Larry Sanger had the idea for a wiki-based encyclopaedia anyone could edit: the "wiki-pedia". On January 15, 2001, he and Jimmy Wales launched the site. Today, it's everyone's go-to place for quick factlets. Wikipedia's convenience is undeniable. But its anonymously compiled content has flaws and quirks …
Andreas Kolbe, 16 Jan 2017
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Putting the 'Port' in Portal: Old-school fan brings game to Apple II

Videos What do you get when you cross a 10-year-old game with a 40-year-old computer? The weekend at El Reg. Vince Weaver, an assistant professor of computer engineering at the University of Maine, used his winter holiday to write a port of the beloved puzzle-driven snarkfest Portal for the Apple II. "My wife got me the original …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jan 2017
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Microsoft swallows up AI language biz Maluuba

Microsoft reckons it can advance its efforts in conversational AI by today acquiring Maluuba – a Canadian machine-learning startup trying to “solve artificial general intelligence” through language. The financial details of the deal remain undisclosed. Founded in 2011 by CEO Sam Pasupalak and CTO Kaheer Suleman, who were …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Jan 2017
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Drone biz Lily Robotics takes $34m in pre-orders, ships nothing, shuts down, gets sued by San Francisco DA

Lily Robotics says its decision on Thursday to shut down and return pre-order payments for a never-delivered drone, which came on the same day that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón charged the company with false advertising and misleading business practices, was purely coincidental. "We had been in the process of …
Thomas Claburn, 13 Jan 2017
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FCC's Wheeler gives passionate defense of net neutrality rules

Video Tom Wheeler, chairman of America's comms watchdog the FCC, has given a passionate defense of net neutrality rules in his last public speech – and warned his fellow commissioners not to go backwards by removing them. He called the rules "rooted in reality, not ideology" – a clear poke at the Republican leadership that will take …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jan 2017
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Embrace the world of pr0nified IT with wide open, er, arms

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Would you like to play with me? I’ll show you how to do the moves. Sure, everyone will be watching us online but I promise to take you to the next level. Oh, and I’m well fit. Great, that’s all I need: another personal trainer. After last week’s confessions of a fitness-band wearer, I had rather hoped that the whole sports …
Alistair Dabbs, 13 Jan 2017
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Boffins turn timid mice into psycho killers – by firing lasers into brains

Video Scientists have turned wimpy mice into ferocious hunters by zapping their brains with a laser. Using optogenetics, a technique that makes specific neurons fire when stimulated with light, the scientists activated a set of neurons in the amygdala. The amygdala, a small region within the brain, is associated with memory, …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Jan 2017
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Train your self-driving car AI in Grand Theft Auto V – what could possibly go wrong?

Developers building self-driving cars can now take their AI agents for a spin in the simulated open world of Grand Theft Auto V – via OpenAI’s machine-learning playground, Universe. The open-source MIT-licensed code gluing GTA V to Universe is maintained by Craig Quiter, who works for Otto – the Uber-owned startup that …
Katyanna Quach, 12 Jan 2017
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MIT brainiacs wrangle 2D graphene into super-strong 3D art homework

Video Graphene is said to be the wonder material of our age, but it’s largely a 2D affair. Now scientists have made 3D structures out of the stuff that will be an engineer’s dream. Since the first atom-thick strips of graphene were produced, the substance has shown remarkable properties, including extraordinary strength and …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2017
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Weaky-leaks: Furious fans roast Assange in web interview from hell

Video WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was blasted by fans during a live online Q&A – after he, for once in his life, refused to disclose information. The nearly five-year resident of the Ecuadorian embassy in London hopped onto Reddit's Ask Me Anything discussion board where netizens pose questions and the most popular ones rise to …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2017
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Binary star bash-up should add new light to Northern Cross in 2022

Pics and video The stars of the Northern Cross – one of the most recognisable features in the night sky that has been used as a marker for the seasons for thousands of years – should be getting a bright new addition. binary star KIC 9832227 is a stellar peanut 1,800 light years away lies the stellar system of KIC 9832227, two stars …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jan 2017
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How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism

iPhone at 10 Apple's iPhone wasn't just a shiny new thing that was irritatingly and madly overhyped. Before long, it shattered a benevolent kind of crony capitalism in which Europeans took great pride, but that was short-serving the public. And it needed an outsider to do this. Ten years ago, Europe could be excused for feeling a little …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2017
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The wait is over ... Nokia's BACK!

Anyone looking for the much-anticipated “New Nokia” to make a splashy comeback might have to wait a little longer. HMD gave a very low key launch to the new phone, the first Nokia-branded smartphones for two years*, at the weekend. The new device was announced in the Chinese language only, on a Sunday morning. It’s more a …
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Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Welcome back. Did you manage to take some time off over the Christmas holiday or were you (figuratively) chained to a (virtual) roomful of (literally) overheating blades? Either way, count yourself lucky simply for making it through to 2017 with your heart still beating. You are among the only humans left alive, after all, and …
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NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

Vid NASA has OKed two new missions to study some of the most interesting asteroids in our solar system, as part of its ongoing Discovery mission program. The first mission, named Lucy, will launch in October 2021 and will head off to the gas giant of Jupiter to explore its Trojan zones. These are two points on either side of the …
Iain Thomson, 5 Jan 2017
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Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

CES 2017 While the crowds at CES in Las Vegas are all agog at the Faraday Future FF91 supercar, you can stop saving your pennies. Half Life 3 will be released before these allegedly self-driving vehicles roll out in volume. Faraday Future, based in Gardena, California, claims the FF91 is the fastest accelerating car in the world, with …
Iain Thomson, 4 Jan 2017
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Assange confirmed alive, tells Fox: Prez Obama 'acting like a lawyer'

Julian Assange has been interviewed for the first time in months, putting to bed rumours he'd been kidnapped, while also disputing claims that Russia contributed to WikiLeaks' offerings during the US Presidential election. In a half-hour extract of an interview with Fox News's Sean Hannity, Assange tackled allegations that it …
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Hackers could turn your smart meter into a bomb and blow your family to smithereens – new claim

Smart meters are "dangerously insecure," according to researcher Netanel Rubin – who claimed the gear uses weak encryption, relies on easily pwned protocols, and can be programmed to explode. The software vulnerability hunter derided global efforts to roll out the meters as reckless, saying the "dangerous" devices are a risk …
Darren Pauli, 4 Jan 2017
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Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

CES 2017 The annual godforsaken hypegasm that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has given an "innovation award" ... to a Wi-Fi-connected microphone-fitted allegedly "smart" hairbrush. A comb through the technical specs of the Kérastase Hair Coach, a snip at around $200, reveals the high-tech hairbrush has sensors that …
Iain Thomson, 4 Jan 2017
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Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

Television production factory LG has saved Darren Cauthon's new year by providing hidden reset instructions to liberate his Google TV from ransomware. The company initially demanded more money than the idiot box was worth to repair the TV and relented offering instructions for resetting the telly after Cauthon took to Twitter …
Team Register, 3 Jan 2017
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Hate 'contact us' forms? This PHPmailer zero day will drop shell in sender

Websites using PHPMailer for forms are at risk from a critical-rated remote code execution zero day bug. Legal Hackers researcher Dawid Golunski found the vulnerability (CVE-2016-10074) in the much-used library, found in the world's most popular content management systems and addons. The bug also affects the Zend Mailer and …
Darren Pauli, 3 Jan 2017
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Elon burning to get Falcon back on the launchpad

Only a regulatory sign-off stands between Elon Musk's SpaceX and the restart of its Falcon 9 launch program within a week. With its anomaly investigation complete, the company hopes to launch a Falcon carrying Iridium's NEXT satellite from Vandenberg on January 8. The Elon Musk spaceflight company says the catastrophic …
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The Life and Times of Lester Haines

Obit "So what are going to say about him now that he’s gone? Are you going to say he was a good man? Will you be saying he was a happy man?...  Fuck no." Legendary Vulture Lester Haines Lester Haines: 1960-2016 Lester Haines was born in London in September 1960, and was the eldest of five: he had three brothers and a sister. …
John Oates, 27 Dec 2016
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NIST requests ideas for crypto that can survive quantum computers

The United States' National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued a “Notice and request for nominations for candidate post-quantum algorithms.” The Institute (NIST) has cottoned on to the fact that “If large-scale quantum computers are ever built, they will be able to break many of the public-key cryptosystems …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
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Smartphones crashed, Samsung burned: Mobile in 2016

End-of-Year Round Up The mobile landscape this year was dominated by an air war of far greater importance taking place over the players’ heads. Giant telcos went shopping for giant media companies, while Silicon Valley continued to work to destroy the value of both pipes and content, mostly by trying to queer the regulatory pitch. Down below, back …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Dec 2016
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Name's BOND, JBOND: Igneous's ARM strap-on is for your drives only

Analysis You wait for a bus for ages, and then two come along at once. Two data-transfer buses. Something like that. Both OpenIO and Igneous have launched plug-on ARM server cards for storage drives: these single-board computers each snap onto a hard drive to form nano-servers that are organized into a grid of object storage nodes. …
Chris Mellor, 21 Dec 2016
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Elon Musk wants to get into the boring business, literally

Elon Musk has fired off a series of Tweets suggesting he wants to get into the boring business. As in boring tunnels. The serial entrepreneur seems to have been stuck in traffic and decided the best way to get out of it, in the long term, is to do what he does best: start a company to dig into the problem from a different …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2016
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'I told him to cut it out' – Obama is convinced Putin's hackers swung the election for Trump

Analysis Outgoing US President Barack Obama has promised to take action against Russia over its alleged interference in the presidential election campaign. American intelligence agencies have concluded that hackers linked to the Kremlin infiltrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee as well as the email account …
John Leyden, 17 Dec 2016
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Meat pies in SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

Pie-lovers were given a novel but unrecommended way to freeze a meaty delight this week by sending the little beauty into space*. Youtube Video The meat and potato pastry parcel - still in its tin case - was tethered to a helium balloon and dispatched from mission control in a pub car park in Roby Mill, Wigan. Bods at the …
Paul Kunert, 16 Dec 2016
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NASA – get this – just launched 8 satellites from a rocket dropped from a plane at 40,000ft

Video NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) has made it safely into orbit after being air-launched from Orbital ATK's Stargazer aircraft. CYGNSS consists of eight mini-satellites that orbit around the tropical zone of Earth that spawns most of our hurricanes and cyclones. The birds will provide daily updates on …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2016
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Macbook seized or stolen? But you've set a FileVault password, right? Ha, it's useless

Until earlier this week, Apple's FileVault 2 disk encryption could be defeated in the time it takes to reboot a Mac, given a few hundred dollars in hardware and physical access to the computer. Apple on its website claims that FileVault 2 uses "XTS-AES-128 encryption with a 256-bit key to help prevent unauthorized access to …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Dec 2016
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FCC chairman confirms he will step down, make way for Trump choice

Analysis Following weeks of speculation and a refusal to state his plans, on Thursday chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, announced he would step down from the role on January 20, allowing president-elect Donald Trump to select a new head of the US comms watchdog. "Sitting in this chair has been the …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Dec 2016
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Uber to Cali DMV: Back off, pal, our 'self-driving cars' aren't self driving

Shrugging off a demand from California's Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a permit to operate its self-driving cars on state roads, Uber contends it doesn't need a permit because the DMV's rules do not apply. Following Uber's announcement on Wednesday that its self-driving cars are available as a pilot test for customers …
Thomas Claburn, 15 Dec 2016
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Bluetooth-enabled safe lock popped after attackers win PINs

Attackers can locate and pop safes protected with high security commercial locks thanks to poor Bluetooth implementations, say researchers at Somerset Recon say. The SecuRam ProLogic B01 locks are badged as the industry's only Bluetooth-packing lock for safes that can be paired with smartphones. The researchers (@ …
Darren Pauli, 15 Dec 2016
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Amazon's first live drone delivery flew last week in Cambridge, UK

Amazon.com has revealed that it's made its first delivery by autonomous aerial drone, to a chap named “Richard B” who lives somewhere in Cambridgeshire, England. Richard ordered a bag of popcorn and an Amazon Fire TV. Amazon's released a saccharine video to mark the occasion. If you'd rather not endure it embedded below, the …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2016
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Rogue One: This is the Star Wars back story you've been looking for

SPOILERS Rogue One is a fine addition to the cinematic Star Wars canon, and almost perfectly tailored for Register readers to mock. For those who've avoided the hype, the film takes place between Episode III and Episode IV, and tells the tale of how Death Star plans were acquired by the Rebel Alliance. Your correspondent caught a …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2016
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Remember that amazing video of the whale leaping out the gym floor and splashing down? Yeah, it was BS

It was a shared "wow!" for millions across the globe: a video showing kids in a gym watching as a whale appeared to breach the floor, leap high in the air and come crashing down with water flying everywhere. It was, we were told, on every TV channel and all over the internet, technology that we can soon expect to see in our …
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Japanese robot space maid will incinerate Earth's dead satellites

Vid Good news: the latest resupply mission to the International Space Station has taken off without exploding or any of that kind of nonsense. Even better news: it is carrying 5.9 metric tons (6.5 US tons) of cargo, including a rather unusual device that boffins believe could be a great tool for dealing with space junk. After the …
Iain Thomson, 9 Dec 2016