Breakfast Briefing: Olympics under attack, PlayStation “master key” leak, and last rites for Ceefax

This morning’s top technology stories include a tweak for Apple’s iOS to detect lazy thumbs, hackers hitting Barnes and Noble, Iran hacking fears, GitHub dating demands, and the sun finally goes down on Ceefax.

Breakfast Briefing: Olympics under attack, PlayStation

Olympics targeted by cyber-attacks every day

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the networks behind the Olympics – remember those glorious days, when we were winners? – were under daily attack by cybercriminals. The easy ones to fend off were from hacktivists, who would publicise their targets and timings, even using a Twitter hashtag, making it easy for Gerry Pennell, the games’ CIO, to get prepare, according to a report in Computer Weekly.

Not all attacks were so straight-forward, however. Asked by Computer Weekly if the games were the target of a major attack, he would only say: “Yes. And that’s all I’m saying.” Which certainly makes it sound dramatic, if nothing else.

PlayStation 3: the final hack?

Eurogamer reports that Sony may have another problem with the PlayStation, after custom firmware was released along with the an “LV0” decryption key. According to Eurogamer’s Richard Leadbetter, “the reveal of the LV0 key basically means that any system update released by Sony going forward can be decrypted with little or no effort whatsoever”.

It seems that LV0 “master key” has been in the hands of a group of hackers called the Three Musketeers for some time, but it was recently leaked to a Chinese hacking group who were going to use it to produce custom firmwares. To stop the Chinese profiting from their work, the Musketeers released the LV0 key. Sony hasn’t yet commented.

Tributes for web precursor Ceefax

Technology may have moved on – and about time – but the closure of Ceefax has highlighted just how central the technology became to every day lives. A BBC report into the service’s closure after 38 years of bringing data to homes on demand described the services as “a significant force behind some of the whizziest news services in the UK today”.

For young families it was something else. “When I was named in the Leeds United 1st team squad v Southampton in 1995 aged 16 my Mam & Dad recorded the story from Ceefax,” said former footballer and Westlife singer Nicky Byrne.

And just to prove that Twitter rumours of premature deaths didn’t set the precedent, the BBC accidentally sent out a news flash during a 1994 Ceefax rehearsal planning for the Queen Mother’s death. Will we have such rose-tinted memories for Facebook come 2040?

Hackers thwart Barnes and Noble PIN readers

US bookseller Barnes and Noble has revealed that hackers have been gathering credit card information from card readers protected by chip and PIN. According to a Reuters report, authorities closed down the scheme in mid-September, but kept the hack secret while it investigated. It’s not clear immediately clear whether the same attack could impact UK card users.

Find a date over GitHub

A Japanese software engineer has posted an unusual request on coding site GitHub – a boyfriend. Noriko Higashi’s 30-point list of requirements is intriguing: her boyfriend-to-be must like vegetables, have life-long friends, and not compare her to her mother. On the other hand, she prefers someone who uses Mac or Linux to Windows. You lost us there, sweetheart.

US points finger at Iran shocker

The cold cyberwar in the Middle East is intensifying with the US blaming Iran for major attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco. Iran, which was targeted by the Stuxnet malware many believe came from the US, hit back with an attack against Saudi Arabia during an Islamic holy day to cause maximum impact, according to a report in The New York Times. Underhand tactics indeed.

iOS tweak for iPad mini’s thinner bezel

After last might’s Apple launches, a report in The Net Web explains how the company tweaked the operating system to detect accidental inputs caused by user thumbs overlapping the slimmed down bezel in the iPad mini.

“iPad mini intelligently recognises whether your thumb is simply resting on the display or whether you’re intentionally interacting with it. It’s the kind of detail you’ll notice — by not noticing it,” the site quoted the company as saying.

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