Japanese Hackers Spread a Different Kind of STD

Japanese police have arrested six men in Tokyo for creating a virus spread via a porn website, according to the BBC.

The virus was delivered in the guise of an app for watching videos. Once downloaded, the app demanded a payment of nearly 100,000 yen, or about US$1,267, every five minutes. The six men are believed to have raked in more than 20 million yen — about $250,000.

Citing Japanese police, BBC reports that nearly 10,000 people downloaded the virus, and 211 forked over money.

Even those who didn’t pay suffered: The virus was designed to steal personal information from the mobile devices on which it was downloaded.

Two of the six men are senior managers in high-tech Japanese firms, according to police.

Governmental Pokes and Prods

Google received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to remove content from its search results or from YouTube during the last six months of 2011.

Google, which made the announcement in a blog post, bemoaned the requests, saying that they pose a risk to free expression. The company said it was all the more troublesome because the many of the requests came from Western countries thought to be free from censorship. The blog post mentions Spain, where regulators asked Google to remove 270 search results linking to blogs and newspaper articles, as well as Poland, where a public institution had asked the company to remove links to pages that were critical of it. The company said it didn’t comply in either instance.

Google also published a country-by-country list of removal requests, including how often Google carried them out.

The removal requests sought to have about 12,000 items removed, about 25 percent more than the first half of 2011, according to Reuters.

Google does comply with certain removal requests because some content is indeed illegal. Reuters cites Germany, where YouTube videos with certain kinds of Nazi references are removed because they are banned there.

Piggybacking off the Google blog post, the BBC had an article about the content removal requests coming from the UK. Some 640 videos promoting terrorism were removed on the heels of complaints from the Association of Chief Police Officers, according to the report. In addition, five YouTube accounts linked to those videos were also terminated.

Made in the USA

The United States regained the crown of having the world’s fastest computer, according to the Top 500 Supercomputer list.

China took the title two years ago, and Japan grabbed it in 2011, according to

The fastest computer — an IBM located at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California — is reportedly capable of 16.32 sustained petaflops.

It was a good showing overall for IBM. The company accounted for five of the top 10 spots and 213 out of 500. HP was second with 141 systems in the top 500, according to ComputerWorld.

After the U.S. lost the fastest-computer title in 2010, president Obama mentioned China’s No. 1 ranking in two separate speeches, including the 2011 State of the Union, according to ComputerWorld.

Apple Shortage in UK

British people trying to get their hands on the new MacBook Pro could face some headaches — or at least a huge wait — according to The New Statesman.

There is a month-long lead time for online orders from the UK, according to the report.

While the delays aren’t “a shafting of British customers to ensure American stores stay supplied,” according to the article, the UK is nonetheless short on the new machines. Only one store in all of Britain received any new MacBook Pros. That store, in London, was to use the MacBook Pros as display units — but instead accidentally sold them.

Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at [email protected]

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