RoboSimians; IT Nightmares and the Great Firewall of China

Posted December 30th, 2014 at 2:00 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

The Great Firewall of China is Nearly Complete

Officially called the “Golden Shield,” China’s decade-old Internet firewall, which recently blocked Google Gmail and typically blocks Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google search, is the most effective in the world. The program restricts content deemed sensitive and blocks thousands of websites, including some Voice of America sites.

NASA Designs Ape-Like Robot for Disasters

Also known as the RoboSimian, this robot is the result of the DARPA Robotics Challenge that encourages the world’s top talent to create an emergency response robot that could go into environments humans cannot. NASA’s robot moves like an ape and is equipped with seven cameras and four limbs that enable travel on rough terrain and manipulation of various objects.

Low-Risk ‘Worm’ Removed at Hacked South Korea Nuclear Operator

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. announced that it will bolster its IT security after South Korean authorities found evidence that a low-risk computer “worm” had been removed from devices connected to some nuclear control systems.

2015: Six IT Nightmares That Will Keep Us Awake at Night

The legacy of the beating that cybersecurity took in 2014 will continue to haunt IT professionals and businesses in the coming year. But it will also provide new options in credit card security,  multifactor authentication, and more insight into Russia’s and China’s tech ecosystems.

Speaking of security nightmares, this technique is called “swatting” – an online hoax where an extortionist pretending to have committed a crime uses a spoofed telephone number to call up emergency dispatch and have police sent to his victim’s home.

Hackers Reproduce Politician’s Fingerprint From Photos of Her Hands

A German hacker claimed he reproduced the fingerprint of Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen using commercially available software and high-resolution photos of her hand.

Taiwan Clears Xiaomi, Other Smartphone Brands of Data Privacy Breaches

Following a September probe, Taiwan’s National Communications Commission released a report that clears all 12 smartphone brands it tested of breaching data protection laws.

Microsoft’s Reported ‘Spartan’ Browser Will Be Lighter, More Flexible than IE

Microsoft is reportedly planning a new browser, dubbed “Spartan,” for Windows 10, instead of revamping Internet Explorer (IE). Spartan is intended as a lightweight alternative to Internet Explorer and a marketing “do-over” ahead of doing away with the IE legacy.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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