The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, July 31
- 31 July, 2015 21:24
Facebook's Aquila, pictured July 30, 2015, is an unmanned aircraft designed to beam Internet access to people in underserved parts of the world. It has a wingspan of 140 feet.
Facebook's new Internet-access drone set to fly by year end
An unmanned aircraft called Aquila was the star of the show as Facebook on Thursday showed how it plans to provide Internet access to hundreds of millions of people in remote parts of the world. The plane should get a test flight later this year; its entire surface is covered with solar panels to enable it to stay up in the air for three months at a time, at an altitude between 60,000 and 90,000 feet. From there, it will use laser-based technology to receive an Internet connection and share it with users in a 50-kilometer radius.
Mozilla accuses Microsoft of backsliding on browser choice
We had a moment of déjà vu on Thursday when Mozilla came out charging against Microsoft for limiting browser choice with Windows 10, just like the old days: It called the default browser settings a "dramatic step backwards." Meanwhile, Microsoft blogged that 14 million devices had the new OS within the first 24 hours.
Next up for Windows 10: Phones
With Windows 10 out in the market, the next move for Microsoft is to ship phones running Windows 10 Mobile, and sources tell Computerworld that flagship Lumia models are expected in the next few months. The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL will ship with Windows 10 natively. If the 950 has a 64-bit Snapdragon 808 processor, it might not be powerful enough to support the Continuum feature of Windows 10. Stay tuned.
Hacker highlights GM's connected car vulnerabilities
OnStar, meet OwnStar. A security researcher has posted a video on YouTube demonstrating how a device he made can intercept wireless communications to locate, unlock and remotely start GM vehicles that use the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app, Computerworld writes. Samy Kamkar used a device he calls OwnStar that intercepts communications between GM's OnStar RemoteLink mobile app and the OnStar cloud service.
Android for Work gets a boost with mobile carrier partnerships
The enterprise-oriented version of Google's mobile OS, Android for Work, gained support from a roster of partners that includes the top four U.S. mobile carriers, making it more likely that businesses will have it as an available option. And Silent Circle, maker of the hyper-secure Blackphone, has built enhanced privacy and security features on top of the Android platform as well.
Critical BIND flaw could disrupt large portions of the Internet
Attackers could exploit a new vulnerability in BIND, the most popular Domain Name System (DNS) server software, to disrupt the Internet for many users. The DNS converts domain and host names into numerical IP addresses, and many of the systems in this global network of servers run BIND. The Internet Systems Consortium has issued a patch and says that applying it is the only way to shore defenses against the vulnerability, which it fears could be exploited very soon.
Google says 'non' to French regulator on right-to-be-forgotten
Google is still grumpy about complying with a European Union high court ruling that individuals have a right to ask search engines to remove results that link to information about them that they don't want public. The company has nonetheless been doing so for results from its search engines that are specific to Europe. But on Thursday it put its foot down and said it wouldn't comply with French demands that results be removed from all versions of its search engines, saying that would have a "serious chilling effect on the web."
Vote on CISA delayed amid opposition to cyberthreat bill
Opponents of a U.S. Senate bill intended to encourage businesses to share information about cyberthreats may have stalled a vote on the legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was said to be pushing for a vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) before a four-week summer recess starting Aug. 10, but now there are no immediate plans for a vote. Opponents have generated more than 6.1 million faxes to senators from constituents opposed to CISA.
Cisco CEO gets a sweet deal
Cisco's new CEO, Chuck Robbins, will get a higher salary his first year than outgoing chief John Chambers made in 2014. That's rare for a new CEO, especially one promoted from inside the company, according to an executive pay expert. Robbins will collect $1.15 million just for coming to work and could pull down more than $16.7 million including stock grants. As they say in business school, networking pays off.
In the Wrap this week, Facebook shows off its Internet drone, Windows 10 is here and it's not all smooth sailing for Samsung's Galaxy S6; plus get an in-depth look at a drones conference held by NASA.
One last thing
This week, AI researchers published an open letter calling for a ban on development of "killer robots." Here's the case for building them.