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Today's Tech: Bristol researchers charge Samsung smartphone with urine and Yahoo beats NSA's Prism in court over secret data

Over a fifth (22 per cent) of UK organisations suffered disruptive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks last year (opens in new tab), according to research. A report from IT security firm Neustar revealed that 37 per cent of attacks lasted over 24 hours, and that 22 per cent lasted over a week. The report found that within key industries the risk of a damaging DDoS was higher. It found that telecommunications (53 per cent of those surveyed), Internet-ecommerce (50 per cent) and online retail (43 per cent) were the sectors most in the firing line from DDoS attacks. During the attacks, financial services and telecommunications firms experienced the highest downtime, leading to heavy losses from an outage. The research found that 26 per cent of all attacks on the financial sector had a revenue impact of over £100,000. Worryingly, a fifth (20 per cent) of responding UK companies admitted to having no DDoS protection in place. "There is a high reliance on devices not built to mitigate DDoS attacks," Neustar said.

Everyone that works for the BBC will soon be able to flaunt their own ideas for future TV shows, as BBC Production is set to launch iCreate, a major new online project (opens in new tab). Cloud-based crowdsourcing software developed by idea management firm Wazoku, which enables businesses to capture, discuss and develop ideas all in one space, is being used as the basis of the programme. iCreate will allow any employee of the corporation, working in any BBC base across the UK, to submit their ideas to the cloud. Other employees will then be able comment on the ideas in a hope to push them forward. The most talked about submissions will be moved into the early development stages. "Good programming ideas need development, feedback and discussion and employee engagement is a key part of how BBC Production operates," said Pat Younge, Chief Creative Officer, BBC Production. "We believe we have a wealth of untapped creative talent which BBC iCreate, using Wazoku's platform customised to our specific needs, can help liberate us to generate some fantastic TV shows."

The US government's justification for the NSA's Prism surveillance programme is set to be revealed (opens in new tab), following a legal battle launched by Yahoo. The Internet giant's victory means that papers from a previous secret 2008 court case, believed to have been an important step in allowing the NSA to begin collecting data, will be declassified and published. Yahoo claims that it fought vigorously against government requests to hand over customer's online data during the 2008 court case, and wants to prove this through the release of the documents. Yahoo launched legal proceedings to have the case transcript published earlier this month through the FISC. Government officials will now have the chance to review the papers and remove any "properly classified information" before publication, according to the ruling. The court has given the US government until 29 July to say how long it will take to prepare the transcripts for release.

Finally, users of mobile gadgets could soon be charging them with their own urine. Scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a partnership between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol, say mobile phones and a host of other devices could be powered by urine (opens in new tab). Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, said that harnessing power from "the ultimate waste product" was "a world first." Ieropoulos said, "One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine. By harnessing this power as urine passes through a cascade of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), we have managed to charge a Samsung mobile phone." The scientists believe the technology could be installed in bathrooms to harness urine and produce enough electricity to power showers, lighting, shavers, and mobile phones, which is handy seeing most people take them into the bathroom with them. The Bristol Robotics Laboratory now wants to develop and refine the process so that it can develop MFCs to fully charge a battery to enable longer and more extensive mobile working.

Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, Newsweek, and ITProPortal.