Skip to main content

Today's Tech: SEA hacks Skype, Apple denies NSA involvement, and MIT team creates magical remote touch device

All at SEA

A group of hackers claiming to be the Syrian Electronic Army (opens in new tab) (SEA) has accessed Skype's Twitter account and blog, posting anti-surveillance messages against Microsoft.

"Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook)," read one post on Skype's blog that has since been removed. "They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments."

According to Skype, no user information was compromised.

Bumped off by Google

Mobile sharing apps Bump and Flock are to be axed (opens in new tab) after the parent company, Bump, was acquired by Google in September. At the time, Bump said its Bump and Flock apps "will continue to work as they always have for now," but warned users to "stay tuned for future updates." However, today the move is looking much more like an acqui-hire. According to a slightly fawning statement, Bump is now "deeply focused on our new projects within Google."

Who us?

Apple has claimed that it has never worked with the NSA (opens in new tab) to create tools that would allow its products to be secretly accessed.

It was revealed on Monday that major US tech companies, including Apple, have been subject to operations by the NSA's elite hacking unit Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which plants back doors in computer networks.

"Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a back door in any of our products, including iPhone," Apple said in a statement. "Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products."

Careless chat

The usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat accounts were temporarily posted online (opens in new tab) by hackers who took advantage of a previously disclosed vulnerability within the chat service. went live last night and allowed visitors to download the database of Snapchat user info, though the last two digits of the phone numbers were censored "in order to minimize spam and abuse."

The site has since been pulled offline (because the hosting provider was "intimidated by the overwhelming attention," SnapchatDB told The Verge), but a cached version is still available.

Touching stuff

Researchers at MIT have invented a device that allows people to remotely manipulate objects (opens in new tab). The ambitious new technology uses a camera that transposes real-life objects into shapes on a remote-controlled "pin screen."

The device, dubbed inForm, allows users to manipulate objects even when they're not in the same room. It comes from MIT's Tangible Media Group, whose mission is to "seamlessly couple the dual world of bits and atoms by giving physical form to digital information."

Paul Cooper
Paul Cooper

Paul has worked as an archivist, editor and journalist, and has a PhD in the cultural and literary significance of ruins. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The BBC, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Discover Magazine, and he was previously Staff Writer and Journalist at ITProPortal.