During a particularly busy day in the world of technology, it was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May that British hacker Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to face charges in the US, following a 10-year battle against the process. The 46-year-old, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, is "seriously ill", and being shipped to the US, where he would face up to 60 years in prison if found guilty of breaching military computer systems, would present serious risks to his health, the government found. Accordingly, the extradition warrant was blocked on humanitarian grounds, with the decision of whether or not to prosecute him in the UK resting in the hands of director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC.
With the launch of Windows 8 on the horizon, Microsoft today finally revealed the prices for its Surface tablet range. The initial series will run on a scaled down RT version of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, designed for use on low-power processors. The Surface starts at $499 (£310) for an entry-level 32GB model, without the Touch Cover with integrated touch-sensitive keyboard, while a tablet with the cover will set you back $599 (£372). The more premium Surface tablet, a 64GB version with a touch cover, will cost $699 (£435).
Samsung also chose today to unveil its line of Windows 8 enabled devices. The Korean manufacturer's new collection will feature two 11.6in display tablets: the Avit Smart PC 500T and 700T, which will cost $749.99 (£466) and $1,199.99 (£746), respectively. The range will also include a touch-enabled 13in ultrabook, called the Ultra Touch 5 series, that will be purchasable for $1,199.99 (£746). No official release dates accompanied these products, however, it is assumed that they will launch in tandem with Windows 8.
Sticking with Windows 8 news, a researcher from antivirus company ESET has revealed that the new OS has the potential to be the most secure one ever, for several reasons. Firstly, Microsoft has integrated ELAM, which ensures the first driver to load in Windows 8 will be the driver of anti-malware software. ELAM, it must be noted, does not remove malware, and must run alongside other security packages. Secondly, Windows 8 will ship with Windows Defender pre-installed, but it will be simple and hassle-free to uninstall, should users choose to replace it. Finally, the OS will also pack UEFI, which will be an aid in the obstruction of rootkits.
Windows 8 is going to need all the protection it can find, for it seems that menacing malware has been unrelenting in recent months, with the likes of Mahdi, Shamoon and Gauss all attracting headlines for their widespread campaigns. But it is arguably Flame that has been the 'flagship' malware of 2012, making the fresh discovery of 'miniFlame' something that deserves attention. So often the first on the scene in such incidences, Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab says its discovery has "many similarities to Flame" and describes it as a "high precision, surgical attack tool" for cyber espionage. Follow the link for more details on the virus.