Technology

Image caption The Petya ransomware makes a computer unusable until a ransom is paid One of the strange features of cybercrime is how much of it is public. A quick search will turn up forums and sites where stolen goods, credit cards and data are openly traded. But a glance into those places may not give you much idea about what is going on. “Everyone can join as long as you speak Russian,” said Anton, a malware researcher at security firm Sentinel One, who has inhabited this underground world for more than 20 years. “By Russian I mean the USSR, so there is Ukrainians, there is Kazakhstan, there is Belarus. The Romanians are doing all the dirty work like spam and maintenance so they are not really involved in developing malware,” he said. “But, today, is it mainly Russian? Yes.” Those vibrant underground marketplaces have a long history and Anton adds that he tracks the …

Image copyright BBC | South Wales Police A man who filmed and live-streamed a court case in Cardiff has been jailed for 28 days. David Davies, 39, from Llantwit Fardre, Rhondda Cynon Taff, was broadcasting the footage on to Facebook as a person gave evidence at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday. He was arrested when he returned to the court on Tuesday. A judge sentenced him for contempt of court later that day. Cameras are not allowed in courts in England and Wales. South Wales Police was alerted by a member of the public who saw the footage online. PC Richard Sellek said: “Unfortunately, cases such as this are becoming more and more commonplace. “There are prominent notices within all courts about the use of mobile phones before people enter the courtroom. “This should serve as a warning to others who think that the law does not apply to them.”

Media captionWatch: Driverless cars are already being tested in the UK Insurance cover for self-driving cars must offer protection for both times when the driver is in control and when the vehicle is in charge, according to new proposals from the UK government. The measures are outlined in the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill. Ministers says they want to ensure it is easy for accident victims to claim compensation if a collision occurs when the cars are in automatic mode. Insurers could still try to recover their costs from the vehicles’ makers. However, the bill – which applies to England, Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland – makes two exemptions. If a vehicle’s owner has made unauthorised changes to the car’s software or fails to install an update that their policy requires them to, then they become liable. It is proposed the Department of Transport will determine which cars will be classed as self-driving …

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Horsefly drone takes off from a platform on top of a UPS truck The delivery firm UPS has unveiled a drone-launching truck – but the event did not go completely to plan. One aircraft failed to launch properly and was then nearly destroyed. The test in Florida was intended to demonstrate how package-carrying drones could make the company more efficient in rural locations. However, US rules currently state that commercial use of such aircraft requires pilots to keep them in sight. The firm acknowledges that until this restriction is eased it cannot carry out its plan to let drivers deploy the drones from one location and then meet up with them at another, letting both humans and machines make deliveries simultaneously. Image copyright Reuters Image caption UPS wants its drivers to be able to send small packages by drone while they deliver larger parcels by road “Drivers are the …

Uber’s sexual harassment case is the latest controversy in a long history of the ride-sharing company flouting regulations and, according to the company’s critics, ignoring ethical and legal standards in the name of “disruption”. The San Francisco-based technology corporation is facing a widespread backlash after a former engineer went public with her story of sexual harassment and discrimination by management and repeated rebuffs from the HR department, adding fuel to the #DeleteUber campaign that went viral last month. The company has hired former US attorney general Eric Holder to investigate the claims. Consumer activists and social justice organizers, who have pushed for stricter regulations of Uber, point to the scandal as another example of the company’s disdain for business norms. From questionable labor practices to privacy concerns to flagrant rejections of transportation laws, Uber has built its service through a culture of defiance that opponents say stands out even in Silicon Valley, where rule-breaking under …

Image copyright Mercury Press Image caption Jasper Allen was two when the photos were taken – he has since recovered Facebook has deleted two accounts that used stolen photographs of a sick child to falsely claim he had cancer. It follows complaints by the three-year-old’s mother that the images had been used as part of a scam. They dated from last year when the boy had a bad case of chickenpox. The posts claimed Facebook would donate money for surgery if users “liked” them or left comments. One security expert warned that users who did so had put themselves at risk. More than a million people had engaged with one of the messages since it was posted at the start of the month. Googled photos Sarah Allen, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, believes the Facebook accounts had sourced the photos from online news stories published about her son’s chickenpox in August 2016. Jasper Allen’s illness drew …

In the 1990s, it was cool to have a pager. When the beep sounded in your bag or on your belt, it delivered one message to you and another to those nearby: that you were so rich or important that people needed to contact you all the time. Now we’re all rich and important, thanks to mobile phones, but a few of us still use pagers. On Tuesday, it was announced that Vodafone, one of the last two paging providers, had agreed to sell its business to Capita, the other one. Subject to the regulators’ approval, this means about 1,000 customers will be switching over, after which there will be one provider left to rule all of Britain’s pager users. But who are these people exactly? Put simply, they are anyone who needs the one remaining technical advantage that pagers have: slightly more reliability. Where mobile phone networks can be patchy, or slow, or overloaded, …

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The FBI wanted Apple to access information on the iPhone, something the firm refused to do Three news organisations have asked a US judge to force the government to reveal the amount it paid for technology to unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino gunman. In the court filings, the organisations said that there was “no adequate justification” for the FBI to continue to withhold the information. They added that they did not seek information that would jeopardise national security. The groups sued the FBI last year. Associated Press, Vice Media and Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, are seeking to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the event. The FBI has never named the security firm or group of hackers who helped unlock the phone, which was used by killer Syed Rizwan Farook. The process would have involved finding a way to bypass the passcode on a …

Amazon is bringing its Alexa voice assistant to British televisions with a £40 Fire TV stick that turns almost any TV into a smart streaming box. The new Fire TV stick comes with a voice-enabled remote, giving users access to voice controls and search for movies, music and TV shows. But it will also perform Alexa’s other skills, allowing users to check their commute, get a weather forecast and to answer questions and control smart home devices by speaking into the remote and showing new so called video cards with information on screen. Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Amazon Devices International, said that the company’s focus with the new Fire TV stick was on performance and speed, making it 30% faster than the old device, to provide a smooth, rich and voice-controlled experience in a package barely larger than a flash drive. He said: “Fire TV was the number one selling item on …

Uber has hired the former US attorney general Eric Holder to investigate allegations of sexual harassment after an engineer went public with claims that she repeatedly faced sexism and discrimination at the ride-sharing company. In a staff email shared with the Guardian on Monday, Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, said Holder would conduct an “independent review” and also revealed that women made up only 15% of the company’s workforce in engineering, product management and scientist roles. The hiring of Holder, who was attorney general under Barack Obama, comes as the description of harassment from Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer, has gone viral, prompting women across Silicon Valley to share stories of facing misconduct and discrimination in the male-dominated tech industry. “It’s been a tough 24 hours. I know the company is hurting,” Kalanick said in his email. “It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization where we live …

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