Android plane hacking, Facebook "meh": This week in off-beat tech stories

6:20 PM, Apr 12, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS) -- This week, the White House further funds NASA in an asteroid capture program, Vatican City residents have been allegedly illegally downloading porn from torrent networks, and Twitter erupts over a misleading hashtag that led many to believe Cher had died.

In another deeper dive into the off-beat tech story box, we explore hijacking planes with Android phones, video-chatting ATMs, and the IRS' ability to read your emails without a warrant.

Security researcher claims to "hijacks" plane with Android app

A security researcher say he was able to tap into a plane's navigation system, effectively hijacking it, with little more than an Android-based smartphone. After three years of looking for security flaws and vulnerabilities, Hugo Teso was able to pair up a malware app with an exploit framework, which allowed him to send radio signals to plane simulator hardware.

Some have disputed that Teso's research would work on actual airplanes, however. Planes after all are still controlled by pilots, and they can override any malicious commands with their own manual, valid ones, according to Forbes.

Bank of America to roll-out live video chatting ATMs
You head to the ATM, insert your card, and it swallows it. Do not pass "go," and certainly do not collect that $209. Bank of America will help avoid such circumstances with an innovative new idea by bringing a real-life banking specialist to your ATM's screen should you require it -- such as if your card gets pinched by the hole-in-the-wall.

It will be trialed in Boston and will be available to most of the bank's 16,300 ATMs throughout the country by the end of this year.

Teens increasingly "meh" over Facebook, says report
Research from Piper Jaffray analysts suggests that the overall interest in social media by teenagers is declining. While Facebook remains the top social network on the market, teens are finding it less important year-over-year. The figures suggest interest by teenagers in Facebook has declined from more than 30 percent to just over 20 percent in the space of a year. The research suggests a general industry-wide decline in social media sites by young people on the whole.

IRS: We don't need a warrant to read your emails
The U.S. tax authority believes it has the right to read your email without a search warrant during its investigations. Documents released under a Freedom of Information request by the American Civil Liberties Union suggest the IRS could either exercise its power to read the emails of taxpaying (or non-tax paying residents as the case may be) across the U.S. or only within the Sixth Circuit, depending on whether it follows the court ruling or the wider Fourth Amendment rights held by U.S. residents and citizens across the country.

The IRS said in a statement to NBC News on Thursday that respecting the rights and privacy of taxpayers "are cornerstone principles" for the IRS, but did not clarify whether or not the Fourth Amendment protects against such apparent snooping powers.

Bitcoin bubbles and pops after massive DDoS attack
Up and down, up and down. Virtual currency Bitcoin saw a massive spike in price from $25 to more than $225 in just one month, and then collapsed to less than $100 in just a few days, only to rebound once more. One of the largest exchange's serving the currency, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, suffered a massive distributed denial-of-service attack that crippled the value of the currency. In a bid to game the system by selling shares just before such attacks, massive profits can be generated in just a few hours.

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