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Hacked & Burned: tech news

Stephen Fortune on tech this week: A 420,000-strong Botnet, hacking traffic jams and posthuman nano laboratories!


Text Mode is an amazing chronicle of text based art from Racquel Myers and GoTo80. You can lose hours in the media archaeology catalogued on this tumblr.

GIF OF THE WEEK: Google ensures GIFs enter post scarcity mode

It's just like when they killed all the fun of divining someone's Bacon number. Google have reduced the excitement of happening across GIFs to “let me Google that for you” keyword nous with their new 'search for animated image' feature.


The latest Chrome lab transforms your favourite website into a 3D maze! This is basically VRML on an acid trip.

SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK: Skin Cells Transplanted to Brain

Advances in stem cells in recent years have been boosted by pluripotent stem cells: these are essentially regular, fixed function, cells reverse engineered into a stem cell state of pure possibility. The future of neuorodegenerative disease research received a boost this week as a monkey had an iPS stem cell tranformed into a neural cell, and implanted in its brain.

HARDWARE OF THE WEEK: Under your skin – a nano laboratory!

Swiss scientists have developed a chip that will be a welcome sight to budding posthumans. This chip can detect five different substances in blood and is designed to be inserted, using a needle, into the interstitial tissue just beneath the skin of the abdomen, legs or arms.

GEEK OF THE WEEK: Making jams by hacking traffic data

Tobias Jeske demonstrates that it is possible to steer people into traffic jams by spoofing Google and Waze's car navigation systems. The hacker drives a route and collects data packets his vehicle sends to Google or Waze. With these data packets he can simulate many cars driving through an area, and therefore influence the systems real time traffic updates.

INTERNET EXPLORER(s) OF THE WEEK: Cuba's offline internet

Information wants to be free, and it's wish is granted by Cuba's informal intranet of SD cards which evades the countries stringent censorship.

CYBERCRIME OF THE WEEK: All of the Botnets

Botnets (armies of infected computers controlled from afar thanks to malware) are the name of the game this week. A canny research marshalled a HUGE botnet of 420000 computers to conduct a cartography of IP4 addresses. And in what could prove genuinely scandalous it has emerged that another botnet has been defrauding advertisers of revenue, with publishers implicated as the orchestrators.

ALGO ANXIETY OF THE WEEK: Rules of Engagement

NATO rules it legal to kill hackers in cyberwar – combine this ruling with the US's proclivity to “kill, just in case” and hopefully the slippery slope is apparent to all and sundry.

WETWARE OF THE WEEK: Live Brain Visualisation

The Zebrafish lets us see what thoughts (well, neural impulses anyway) look like, and videos of this transparent's fishes brain are turning out some really compelling science visualisations.


We here so much hysteria about robots taking our jobs. Isn't it nice to hear that they're also opening career paths in the promising field of indiscriminately murdering innocents in far flung lands? That's the news that a little under 30 publicy funded colleges have  applied for a certificate of authorization to fly drones from the Federal Aviation Administration


So you know CISPA is back and the web is mobilising against it again. The stakes are no different to when SOPA was rebuffed so please take heed of the measures outlined here.