The tactics of a Russian troll farm

A picture taken on December 28, 2016 in Vertou, western France, shows logos of US online social media and social networking service Faceboo Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

The indictment of 13 Russians charged with attempting to manipulate American voters using social media shines a fascinating light on a sophisticated, relentless operation to exploit the internet for political gain. Here's how US investigators say the Russians did it.

It was 2014, and in a building in St Petersburg, the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) was already hard at work building its arsenal to take on US politics.

According to US prosecutors, the IRA had gathered stolen identities of real Americans, and a formidable encyclopaedia of what "works" on social media when it comes to riling up Americans talking about politics. Two members of the agency were said to have travelled to the US to gather more intelligence, a fact-finding tour taking in nine states, according to investigators.

Back on Russian soil, the IRA began posing online as US volunteers in order to gather tips on how to effectively target voters. One real volunteer, based in Texas, told the Russians to aim for the "purple states" - those where the race was going to be tighter. And so they did, prosecutors say.

By 2016, operations had ramped up as the presidential election drew near. The IRA is alleged to have had a budget of more than a million dollars, and the US now claims they used it to buy advertising on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Read full article The tactics of a Russian troll farm

Salon magazine mines crypto-cash with readers' PCs

Salon prompts readers to make a choice between viewing ads or mining cryptocurrency Image copyright Salon
Image caption Salon prompts readers to make a choice between viewing ads or mining cryptocurrency

News organisations have tried many novel ways to make readers pay - but this idea is possibly the most audacious yet.

If a reader chooses to block its advertising, US publication Salon will use that person's computer to mine for Monero, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin.

Read full article Salon magazine mines crypto-cash with readers' PCs

UK unveils extremism blocking tool

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWATCH: The BBC's Chris Foxx learns about the tool

The UK government has unveiled a tool it says can accurately detect jihadist content and block it from being viewed.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the BBC she would not rule out forcing technology companies to use it by law.

Read full article UK unveils extremism blocking tool

Uber settles with Waymo on self-driving

A Waymo car on stage at the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon on November 7, 2017. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Technology firm Waymo accused Uber of stealing trade secrets relating to self-driving cars

Uber and Waymo have reached a settlement over claims Uber stole trade secrets from the self-driving company.

As part of the agreement, Uber is giving a 0.34% Uber stake to Waymo, worth approximately $245m (£177m).

Read full article Uber settles with Waymo on self-driving

Bodyhackers: Bold, inspiring and terrifying

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWATCH: The bodyhackers enhancing the human form

Jesika Foxx has permanently purple eyeballs, and an elf-like ear. Her husband, Russ, has a pair of horns under his skin.

Stelarc, a 72-year-old Australian, has an ear on his arm. Soon he hopes to attach a small microphone to it so people can, via the internet, listen to whatever it hears.

Read full article Bodyhackers: Bold, inspiring and terrifying

Uber v Google: Self-drive tech clash heads to court

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWATCH: Waymo v Uber - who stole what?

A trial pitting two of the biggest players in self-drive technology against each other has begun in San Francisco.

Ride-sharing firm Uber is being sued by Waymo, the self-driving company spun out of Google.

Read full article Uber v Google: Self-drive tech clash heads to court

Deepfakes porn has serious consequences

Nathalie Portman
Image caption This image of Natalie Portman was computer-generated from hundreds of stills and featured in an explicit video

In recent weeks there has been an explosion in what has become known as deepfakes: pornographic videos manipulated so that the original actress's face is replaced with somebody else's.

As these tools have become more powerful and easier to use, it has enabled the transfer of sexual fantasies from people's imaginations to the internet. It flies past not only the boundaries of human decency, but also our sense of believing what we see and hear.

Read full article Deepfakes porn has serious consequences

Apple, Amazon, Alphabet: The race to a trillion dollars

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWhich tech giant will reach $1tn first?

When it comes to predictions for 2018, most financial analysts agree on one thing: one tech firm is likely to become America’s first ever trillion dollar company.

The question is: which one will it be?

Read full article Apple, Amazon, Alphabet: The race to a trillion dollars

Facebook bans all crypto-currency ads

Facebook said it was open to new technologies, but felt it had to protect users Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Facebook said it was open to new technologies, but felt it had to protect users

Facebook has said it will block any advertising promoting crypto-currency products and services.

The company said it was open to emerging technologies but many companies were not acting in "good faith" when extolling the virtues buying into virtual currencies.

Read full article Facebook bans all crypto-currency ads

Of Mice and Old Men: Silicon Valley's quest to beat ageing

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The science has been proven in mice - but it's unclear if humans will see the same benefit

To understand what's happening in the tech world today, you need to look back to the mid-1800s, when a Frenchman named Paul Bert made a discovery that was as gruesome as it was fascinating.

In his experiment, rodents were quite literally stitched together in order to share bloodstreams. Soon after he found the older mice started showing signs of rejuvenation: better memory, improved agility, an ability to heal more quickly. In later years, researchers at institutions like Stanford would reinforce this work.

Read full article Of Mice and Old Men: Silicon Valley's quest to beat ageing