US intelligence agency sites exposed by search robots


CIA logo being cleaned

Getty Images / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Stringer

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A Yahoo News investigation has revealed that CIA agents were exposed – often at the cost of their lives – when Iranian intelligence officials used Google searches to identify the sites the spies were visiting to communicate with their US handlers (The Register) After a double-agent showed Iranian intelligence officials one of the CIA’s communications sites 2009, they were able to use Google’s advanced search tools to find sites with similar characteristics, as the CIA had apparently neglected to ban search engine robots from indexing them. An anonymous former national security official told Yahoo News: “We’re still dealing with the fallout. Dozens of people around the world were killed because of this.”

A new report from the Met Office has confirmed that the UK is experiencing the effects of climate change in line with the rest of the world, with our hottest days now 0.8 degrees warmer than the hottest days of the period between 1961 and 1980 (BBC News). This 20th-century weather and temperature data was compared with the 10 years between 2008 and 2017, providing a clear illustration of recent and dramatic changes to the UK’s climate. Our average lowest temperatures are now 1.7 degrees higher, while weather patterns are also changing, with more ‘tropical’ summer nights – classed as those where temperatures remain above 20 degrees, more warm spells and more rain falling on extremely wet days.

Boring Company CEO Elon Musk has shared new video footage of the company’s two-mile (3.2km) test tunnel beneath Los Angeles (The Verge). The tunnel, which is set to open to the public on December 10, runs from SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to a suburb of LA. So far, we’ve yet to see the electric skates that will be used to transport SpaceX commuters through it.

The golden age of iPhones – and, to a lesser extent, smartphones in general – is reportedly coming to an end (WIRED). Reports by IDC and Strategy Analytics estimate the number of phones sold in Q4 2018 as either six or eight per cent lower than the same quarter in 2017. In order to continue growing, Apple needs to wring out more revenue from its customers going forward instead. Those who have checked Apple’s latest prices, of up to £1,849 for iPad Pros and £1,499 iPhone XS Max phones, will not need to be convinced of this. The big question: why this strategy?

The weekend’s gaming news has been dominated by Activision Blizzard’s BlizzCon 2018 announcements, including the unexpectedly controversial announcement of Diablo Immortal for mobiles, which raised significant resentment from fans who’d been anticipating a PC release (PC Gamer). The star announcement of the event is the forthcoming remaster of Bizzard’s strategy classic Warcraft III, while the company’s retro MMORPG World of Warcraft: Classic is coming in 2019 and Overwatch has a new gun-slinging hero. Finally, both existing and new users of Blzzard’s free Battle.net games service can get FPS Destiny 2 for free if they add it to their account by November 18

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