Skip to main content

Today's Tech: Shamoon malware targets energy industry, Asus Transformer Pad TF300 gets Jelly Bean, OnLive service acquired

The latest malware menace is never far away it seems, and this morning we had news of Shamoon, a malicious software that overwrites the master boot record on a computer before rendering the machine unusable. Data is stolen and wiped in a two-stage attack - the latter trait evoking not-too-distant memories of the Flame virus that rampaged through the Middle East this year. Fortunately, Shamoon looks tamer than Flame, or indeed Gauss, which has been causing widespread harm of late, but security experts remain concerned and somewhat baffled by the latest attacks. Follow the link to find out why.

Game streaming service OnLive has lurched into some troubled waters over recent days, after reports emerged that scores of employees were being laid off. Some feared that the firm was shutting down altogether, and though spokespeople soon denied those claims, the company later admitted that changes were afoot and it was being acquired by another organisation. Though the service promises to continue operating as normal, a deep staff cull still appears to be on the cards, with one employee saying "definitely over half" of the company's 150 to 180 employees were being fired.

The rollout of Google’s latest mobile operating system continues to gather speed, with Asus emerging as one of the early frontrunners in the Android 4.1 update race after its mid-range Transformer Pad TF300 was privileged with a trip to the sweet shop. The Taiwanese manufacturer’s device is only the second commercially available tablet to get a taste of Jelly Bean, no doubt partly due to its relationship with Google – the Nexus 7, which Asus helped produce, was the first Jelly Bean slate. Those wanting to dance with the candyman will find the process relatively straightforward.

Barnes & Noble announced today that it will debut its Nook line of e-book readers in the UK this autumn. British readers can expect to get their hands on the Nook Simple Touch or the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight as of mid-October, though the bookseller has yet to reveal its retail partners or any specifics regarding pricing and availability. But that’s not all - an online storefront will also be heading this way, and will be accessible on other devices using a free Nook reading app.

If you don’t have a typical case of the Mondays and want to get stuck straight in to some in-depth analysis this week, John C. Dvorak is asking tough questions of Microsoft and its latest generational OS refresh, Windows 8. Set to be released on 26 October, Dvorak wonders whether it’s possible things could go wrong for the iconic OS line heading into 2013, contemplating what would happen were Google to release a standalone OS, or if Adobe built a workstation around its Creative Suite. Ultimately, he seems to think that the Windows brand is strong enough to survive most eventualities, even if the final iteration of Windows 8 turns out to be more of a disaster than Vista. It’s a bold claim – and we don’t think for a moment everyone’s going to agree with it.