Breakfast Briefing:Windows RT weakness "no threat", Dyson turns on Silicon Roundabout, $100m software heist
In today's tech round-up, find out how you can get your hands on Adobe Creative Suite for free and more
Today's top technology stories include a voice of dissent on the government's tech policies, how a Chinese businessman sold $100m of software including defence programs and Adobe's editing giveaway.
Microsoft: Windows RT weakness "no threat"
The security flaw highlighted yesterday which allows unsigned apps to run on Windows RT machines poses no threat, according to Microsoft.
In a statement sent to The Next Web, the company said the weakness would not affect the average user, although Microsoft admitted it might try to fix the vulnerability.
"The scenario outlined is not a security vulnerability and does not pose a threat to Windows RT users. The mechanism described is not something the average user could, or reasonably would, leverage, as it requires local access to a system, local administration rights and a debugger in order to work," the company said. "We’ll not guarantee these approaches will be there in future releases."
Dyson slams UK "web fads"
Vacuum cleaner tinkerer James Dyson has hit out at the government for being obsessed with projects such as the Silicon Roundabout and countless website efforts, claiming the research and development funding would better be spent on more tangible technologies, such as, er, vacuum cleaners.
In an interview with the Radio Times, covered by The Telegraph he called for more encouragement of engineering, with less "insulting" starting salaries, and less focus on start-ups.
"I am concerned that we are sometimes distracted by the glamour of web fads and video gaming rather than the development of tangible technology that we can export," he said. "There seems to be an obsession with Shoreditch’s so-called Silicon roundabout."
Man pleads guilty to $100m defence software theft
In a rare case of John le Carré-style spy thriller actually colliding with the world or technology, Reuters reports how a Chinese national has pleaded guilty to charges in the US that he stole defence and aerospace software, and sold it on the black market to the highest bidder.
Xiang Li sold software with a "street value2 of $100 million from a number of major vendors including Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, but among the programs flogged off to agents of 61 foreign powers, were software packages worth $1m a pop.
Among software bought by US agents working undercover was a satellite toolkit, which prosecutors said is "designed to assist the military, aerospace and intelligence industries through scenario-based modules that simulate real-world situations, such as missile launches, warfare simulations and flight trajectories."
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Republican copyright rebel speaks out
Back in November, a US Republican Party report suggested sweeping changes to the country's copyright laws that would have put more power in the hands of internet consumers and removed some from the studios, with ideas as radical as reducing the $150,000 per infringement penalty ceiling.
The report was blocked, on account of its "lacking scrutiny", but a party whistleblower has now admitted the report's retraction came after the "level of backlash it received from the content industry". The man behind the report – who has been fired - has spoken to Ars Technica.