Weekend news round-up – Facebook paranoid about Android, Cyber Sam wants you!

26 Nov 2012

In our round-up of some of the top tech stories from the weekend, Facebook is urging its engineers to surrender their iPhones and ‘droidfood’ the social networks’ services for Android devices; Instagram has reported new Thanksgiving records for photo sharing; Apple has bought the ‘Lightning’ brand rights from Harley-Davidson; and the US is recruiting a new cyber army.

Facebook paranoid about Android – urges testing of Google’s mobile OS

Apparently aware of the sheer size of the Android market across the world, social network Facebook is urging its engineers to switch their emphasis from the iOS universe to the Android ecosystem.

According to TechCrunch, posters urging engineers to switch to Android are being plastered across Facebook’s headquarters. The problem is up until now Facebookers’ tool of choice has been the iPhone. But the sheer number of people in the world who cannot afford a hi-spec iOS device cannot be ignored.

“Most people do have to think about the cost of their mobile handset. They might not be perfect or have micron-precision industrial design, but Androids get the job done. They surf the web, manage email, provide maps, and offer access to Facebook. If the social network wants to give Android users the best experience, it needs a fair portion of the company testing its Android apps and brainstorming what could be done next with the operating system’s flexibility,” TechCrunch reported.

It’s grease ‘Lightning’

Did you know that the ‘Lightning’ trademark was owned by Harley-Davidson? Do you know that Apple acquired the rights to the trademark from the motorcycle maker?

According to Patently Apple, Apple has acquired the trademark from Harley-Davidson, which is still protected until next year.

Citing an abundance of evidence, Patently Apple shows that Apple has had its eye on the Lightning brand for its next-generation USB 3 connector with Intel ThunderBolt technology as far back as 2003.

Apparently, Apple first filed for the Lightning trademark in Europe in 2003.

Interestingly Harley-Davidson had filed for the trademark to cover a broad spectrum of potential future products, including computer games, TV sets, eyeglasses and eyeglass frames.

Stalking is part of the curriculum at the US Cyber Corps academy

The US is recruiting an army of cyber sleuths who are learning how to write viruses, hack networks and mine data from broken mobile phones, and will go on to join the CIA or the NSA.

According to the LA Times, cyber stalking is part of the curriculum at the University of Tulsa, where students learn how to spy in cyberspace, the latest frontier in espionage.

Students learn not only how to rifle through trash, but to sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken mobile phones and flash drives.

It may sound like a Jason Bourne movie, but the little-known programme has funnelled most of its graduates to the CIA and the Pentagon’s National Security Agency, which conducts America’s digital spying. Other graduates have taken positions with the FBI, NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.

A snappy way to celebrate Thanksgiving

Every year you get the impression that Thanksgiving in the US is celebrated with increasing fervour.

As a sure sign of the times we are in, The Next Web reported that Instagram records were broken with more than 10m photos shared over the course of the day, 22 November, at a rate of 226 photos per second.

“In fact, the day broke all Instagram records, making it the busiest day for the mobile photo-sharing service ever. The Facebook-owned company says it saw the number of shared photos more than double from the day before.

“The numbers are huge if you remember that Instagram typically sees over 5m photos uploaded each day, and that Facebook averages about 300m daily. It shows Instagram still has a long way to grow, which is exactly why Facebook bought it,” The Next Web reported.

Google, Apple and Microsoft victims of massive Pakistani domain name hi-jack

It seems that some 284 Pakistani domain names have been hi-jacked, affecting Google, Apple and Microsoft, The Verge reported at the weekend.

It is understood that a list of 110 of the hacked domains was posted by Pakistani programmer Irfan Ahmed, who pointed out all the domains are administered by the San Francisco, California, company MarkMonitor.

“More than 280 popular ‘.pk’ domain names, including that of the Pakistani Google homepage, have reportedly been hijacked by a Turkish hacking crew known as ‘eboz.’ Addresses including Apple.pk, Microsoft.pk, and Google.com.pk had their DNS settings changed earlier today to point to two alternative nameservers at freehostia.com, with some, such as msn.org.pk, still displaying the hackers’ message at the time of writing,” The Verge reported.

Wi-Fi moochers – your time is up

Wireless internet moochers are about to have their day. A court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has ruled that the US government can track moochers to their locations without a search warrant using anti-moocher software.

The Wall Street Journal reported that courts have ruled that internet subscribers have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their IP address, the number assigned to devices that connect to the internet. Nor can they expect privacy protection for the information they give their internet service providers.

“But the Pittsburgh ruling, made earlier this month, is the first to address the privacy rights of people who piggyback on their neighbours’ unsecured wireless networks. The case also raises questions about the Fourth Amendment rights — against unreasonable search and seizure — of honest folk who connect to the internet via free public wireless access points,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years