news-resizedA Bad Week for the CIA

Earlier this week, WikiLeaks released a file containing 8,761 documents about the CIA’s hacking capabilities, which include viruses, malware, Trojans and other goodies for compromising cyber systems and networks.

“The leak exposes CIA capabilities and tools like unpatched iOS and Android vulnerabilities, strategies for compromising end-to-end encrypted chats (though not undermining the encryption itself), bugs in Windows, and even the ability to turn Samsung smart TVs into listening devices,” writes Lily Hay Newman in Wired.

While embarrassing, the leak contains few surprises. After all, we pretty much expect the CIA to be capable of conducting cyber attacks against our enemies. On the other hand, the leak highlights the problems we all face in a world in which the bad guys always seem to be several steps ahead of the good guys.

“If the CIA can get into a device, so can a blackhat hacker," writes Newman.


Trail of Tech Patents Tell a Fascinating Tale

If you really want to understand the difference between Apple and Google, just look at the trail of patents each firm has generated.

“Steve Jobs has been granted 347 patents in the past decade, many awarded posthumously. By contrast, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page only have a combined 27 over the same period,” writes Mark Wilson in Fast Company’s Co.Design blog. “It’s a telling statistic about how Apple and Google operate differently. Apple is driven largely by a centralized development structure, stemming from its fabled design studio, whereas Google has a more distributed, open-source approach to new products.”

Wilson’s post is filled with fascinating data graphics illustrating the different approaches that each firm has evolved to maintain their uninterrupted flows of continuous innovation. This is a genuinely interesting post, with lessons for all companies competing in modern fast-moving markets.


Cool Tech: Quantum Microscopes Let You Watch Chemical Reactions in Real Time

Here’s the perfect birthday gift for that special someone: A brand new quantum microscope!

The new microscope doesn’t have a price tag, but my guess is that it won’t be inexpensive. The new device, which allows researchers to gaze into nanostructures such as folded DNA, is equipped with an innovative sensor built with special diamonds.

“To make their quantum MRI microscope, the researchers used 2-millimetre-wide diamonds that contained atomic-sized flaws in their crystal structure. These flaws are sensitive to changes in magnetic fields and can be 'tuned' to resonate with the spin of the molecule or ion that is being detected,” writes Sara Reardon in Scientific American.