News Roundup: WannaCry, Bitcoin booms, and 1-ton drone deliveries

A roundup of the week’s tech new including Mattel’s AI, hacking eyes, and police body cameras.


The hackers behind the WannaCry haven’t given up. Marcus Hutchins – aka the guy who helped stop it spreading any more than it already did – says hackers are trying to overwhelm the sinkhole domain Hutchins registered. Saying that, however, Russia's postal service is reportedly still suffering problems, according to Reuters.

Kaspersky says Windows 7 is the main victim of WannaCry, not XP. Total money extorted by WannaCry has now surpassed $100,000. The money, however, has yet to be withdrawn.

Bitcoin boom and bust

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin continued its upwards trajectory. The price per coin reached $2,000 for the first time over the weekend but reached a value as high as $2,791 in the week. A rapid drop has seen the price retreat back to around $2,400 – still up $1,000 compared a month ago.


Microsoft has acquired AI startup Hexadite, Red Hat has bought Codenvy, Rackspace has acquired Tricore, and CoderDojo and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have announced they are to merge. The two will remain independent, but the Pi Foundation will provide practical, financial, and back-office support to the CoderDojo Foundation with the aim of quadrupling the number of CoderDojos worldwide to 5,000 by the end of 2020.


Good guy Facebook just can’t stop releasing free tools for developers. This week the social network released three tools designed to aid app development testing and bug hunting: One World helps test software across multiple environments; Jupiter matches backend jobs with computing resources; and AL is a new language designed to aid bug checking.

Meanwhile, a new SuperPAC has launched to get Mark Zuckerberg in the White House. Disrupt for America is dedicated to “convincing the American people to convince Mark Zuckerberg to consider a Presidential run in 2020, or at least join the conversation.”

Why would Mr. Z be a better choice for the 46th President than say, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I hear you ask?

“In addition to a set of steadfast liberal principals, Mark shares (perhaps more legitimately) many of the qualities of Donald Trump that resonated with everyday Americans – a wealthy, anti-establishment outsider unbeholden to special interests.”

If you want to get involved, D4A uses the twitter hashtag #DraftZuck2020.

Automating police work

Police officers wearing body cameras makes sense; evidence can be gathered impartially and malpractice can be better brought to light. But one company is looking to bring real-time facial recognition technology to UK police.

Digital Barriers is offering technology that promises to ‘pick out and identify hundreds of individual faces at a time, instantly checking them against registered databases or registering unique individuals in seconds.’

Slightly less scary is the new autonomous security vehicle from Singapore company Otsaw Digital. The O-R3 is an outdoor security robot which comes complete with a drone for aerial surveillance too.

Heavy duty drones

Lots of news around drones and regulation this week. In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration’s requirements for hobbyist drone users to register was struck down after a court ruled it violated the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Passed by Congress in 2012, the act declares the FAA cannot pass rules or regulations against model aircraft.

Meanwhile, China has gone the other way. Drone pilots in China will have to register their names with the Civil Aviation Administration of China. At the same time, China’s DJI has introduced a new policy requiring all users to register through its app, or have the performance of their UAV throttled. If users fail to register, warns the blog, “Live camera streaming will be disabled, and flight will be limited to a 50-meter (164-foot) radius up to 30 meters (98 feet) high.” – aka China’s Amazon – has announced trials of commercial drone deliveries of over a ton. The tests will be conducted over a 300km radius in the province of Shaanxi.

“ will be the first in the world to test drone delivery on this scale. We envision a network that will be able to efficiently transport goods between cities, and even between provinces, in the future,” said Wang Zhenhui, CEO of JD Logistics.

Mattel & Aristotle

And the next company to create a digital assistant for the home is…Mattel. The toy maker – which has jumped on the VR bandwagon with an updated Viewmaster – has designed Aristotle as a digital assistant designed specifically for the little ’uns. Powered in part by Microsoft’s Cortana, Aristotle can answer questions, issue instructions, and doubles up as a baby-monitor for the parents.

Hacker eyes

Biometrics are cool and all, but they are prone to abuse. Thumbprints can be overcome with a little bit of work. Facial recognition can be undone with selfies. Now it turns out iris scanners are just as insecure. Germany White Hat hacker group the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has foiled the iris recognition on Samsung's Galaxy S8 smartphone. All it takes is a high-res picture of someone’s eye with a contact lens stuck on the top.


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Quiz of the week: 26th May »
Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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