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Microsoft says ‘botnet’ hacker hijacked online searches

Software titan Microsoft and computer security giant Symantec said Thursday that they smashed a hacker-infected computer network that was hijacking Internet searches. A Bamital “botnet” raked in an estimated million dollars annually by routing Internet users to websites that generated revenue with bogus online ad “clicks.” “The Bamital botnet defrauded…

Hyperlocal news outlet EveryBlock calls it quits

EveryBlock, a hyperlocal website built on the promise of drawing customers with neighborhood-based news, wrote its own obituary on Thursday. “We’re sorry to report that EveryBlock has closed its doors,” said a blog posting on the site, owned by NBC News, part of the Comcast media group. “It’s no secret…

Extended family tree reveals human’s small, four-legged, insect-eating relative

Humans may have descended from apes, but long before that there was a small, four-legged insect-eating critter, according to new research out Thursday in the US journal “Science.” The international six-year study used a massive trove of data, including genetic and physical traits from both modern and prehistoric species, to…

Lithuania turns Google Street View on tax cheats

Lithuanian tax authorities said Thursday they would use the Baltic state’s recently launched Google Street View platform to track tax cheats by identifying the real value of property holdings. “It will help ascertain which property is ‘hiding’ under the entry recorded in the real-estate register and provide a preliminary assessment…

New York Times makes more money from readers than from ads

The New York Times Company said Thursday that its income from readers and subscribers overtook that of advertising for the first time in 2012, as the media group reported a boost in profits. The company, which is shifting focus from print to digital, said its fourth quarter profit more than…

EU maps out new cyber-security plan

The European Commission on Thursday launched a new cyber-security plan, aimed at safeguarding vital information systems and bolstering the bloc’s defences against a growing criminal threat. The plan calls on member states to set up specialised agencies to ensure the security of information networks and rapid intervention units to counter…

Hedge fund sues Apple over preferred stock value

US hedge fund Greenlight Capital Thursday filed suit against Apple as it boosted pressure on the tech giant to unleash to shareholders the value of its huge capital stockpile. Greenlight sued the maker of iPhones and iPads to block a shareholder vote that includes a proposal, supported by management, to…

Sony to launch new PlayStation console in late 2013

Sony will this month announce the late 2013 launch of its latest PlayStation console, Japanese media said Thursday, as is looks to its games business in a bid to repair its tattered finances. The much-anticipated announcement will come at a “PlayStation Meeting” set for February 20 in New York, the…

Iraq War contractor fined $75,000 for failing to file 30 death reports on time

By T. Christian Miller, ProPublica The U.S. Department of Labor has fined a private security contractor $75,000 for failing to file timely reports on the deaths of workers in Iraq as required by law. The Sandi Group, based in Washington D.C., delayed telling the Labor department that 30 of its…

Diet sodas linked to higher risk of Type-2 diabetes in women

Artificially-sweetened sodas have been linked to a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes for women than sodas sweetened with ordinary sugar, according to French research unveiled on Thursday. “Contrary to conventional thinking, the risk of diabetes is higher with ‘light’ beverages compared with ‘regular’ sweetened drinks,” the National Institute of…

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