Kieren McCarthy

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Feel like you got ripped off online? This is for you

A new online platform that will resolve problems between European consumers and online retailers will open Saturday. The online dispute resolution (ODR) service will allow people who have bought goods or services online and then had a problem with them to have their issue resolved through third-party referees and without …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jan 2016
Mobile obsessed cartoon by Tim Cordell

Going on a date, and it's just the two of you? How ... quaint. OkCupid's setting up threesomes

It can be tough to differentiate yourself in the increasingly crowded dating app market. Which means niches. And OkCupid believes it has found one. Eschewing any pretense that the majority of dating apps are actually looking for the love of their life instead of a hook-up, the app has added a new status option: in an open …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jan 2016

American cable giants go bananas after FCC slams broadband rollout

A big fight has broken out between ISPs and their regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in the US. The FCC's annual Broadband Report will be published shortly, and late Thursday, chairman Tom Wheeler put out a "factsheet" about its main finding: that broadband is "not being deployed in a reasonable and timely …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jan 2016's new drone

Bloke sues dad who shot down his drone – and why it may decide who owns the skies

Analysis A lawsuit filed against a man who shot down his neighbor's drone might define for the first time who owns the skies in America. Back in June, 47-year-old William Merideth shot down the camera-carrying $1,800 quadrocopter with a shotgun while it was hovering over his house in Hillview, Kentucky, claiming that he feared it was …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Jan 2016

T-Mobile US boss John Legere calls bulls*** on video throttling claims

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere has called BS – literally – on claims that his company's video service is throttling streaming speeds and hence quality. In a video set in what looks like his basement and sporting a pink-streaked tracksuit, Legere said in response to criticism from YouTube: "There are people out there saying we're …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Jan 2016

The sloth is coming! Quick, get MD5 out of our internet protocols

The outdated and crackable MD5 hash function is still lingering in critical parts of the internet's infrastructure and could undermine security, researchers have warned. In a paper [PDF] published in time for a cryptography conference in Silicon Valley this week, the authors from French research institute INRIA note that while …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Jan 2016
Facebook Lite app

Oh, Zuck off: Facebook under attack for its attacks on net neutrality

A group of 30 non-profits and net neutrality advocates have posted a snippy open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg complaining about his "attacks" on Indian internet users. Last month, the social media giant's Free Basics program, which provides free access to specific internet websites and services, was paused in India …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Jan 2016

We're all really excited about new smartphones, laptops, tablets – said no one ever

We are all perfectly happy with our existing high-end technologies and aren't planning to upgrade any time soon. That's according to Accenture, which carried out a survey of 28,000 people across 28 countries, and found "sluggish demand" for the most popular consumer electronics. Not that we've stopped buying them: "just" 48 …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jan 2016

Americans massively back call for more police body camera tech

In the constantly divided United States, an unusual consensus has arrived in the form of police body cameras. According to a survey out this week, an extraordinary 92 per cent of the population support a requirement for police to wear body cameras to record actions and interactions. This being America, of course, some of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jan 2016

Rumor mill in overdrive as Dell pumps up Perot price, Atos offers $4.3bn

The sale of Dell's hospital IT consulting arm, Perot Systems, has hit a frenzy of speculation, with Atos reportedly leading the pack of companies with a $4.3bn offer. Dell let companies know it wanted to auction off Perot late last year and put out a $5bn price tag. Since then a series of media leaks have pitched companies …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jan 2016

New OpenDNSSEC doesn't want you to ... ride into the danger zone

A new version of OpenDNSSEC – an open-source implementation of DNSSEC – is hoping to plug a problem it is happy to have: increased use. Release candidate of version 1.4.9 was put out Monday for testing, with the key new feature being the ability to deal with a large number of zones – more than 50. "Too much concurrent zone …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Jan 2016

Dutch govt says no to backdoors, slides $540k into OpenSSL without breaking eye contact

The Dutch government has formally opposed the introduction of backdoors in encryption products. A government position paper, published by the Ministry of Security and Justice on Monday and signed by the security and business ministers, concludes that "the government believes that it is currently not appropriate to adopt …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Jan 2016

YouTube puts T-Mobile US on naughty list for throttling all vids to 480p

YouTube has waded into the row over T-Mobile US's Binge On service. Binge On launched in November, and lets people watch unlimited amounts of video from Netflix, Hulu and other selected providers: the streams do not count against subscribers' monthly download caps. There is a catch, though. These toll-free videos are streamed …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Dec 2015
Raspberry Pi Official Case

Riddle of cash-for-malware offer in new Raspberry Pi computers

The Raspberry Pi Foundation was offered cash to smuggle malware onto its bargain-basement credit-card-size computers, we're told. Liz Upton, the Foundation's director of communications, today revealed an email from a "business officer" called Linda, who promised a "price per install" for a suspicious executable file. "Amazing …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Dec 2015

No, Kim Kardashian's plump posterior's pixels did not break the App Store – just this El Reg man's mind

The Oxford English Dictionary selected an emoji as the Word of the Year for 2015. Not the word "emoji" but an actual emoji. The one chosen was the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji and the OED explained it has chosen this one because it was the most popular, making up 20 per cent of all the emojis used in the UK during the year, …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Dec 2015

IT bloke: Crooks stole my bikes after cycling app blabbed my address

An IT manager in Manchester, England, says thieves stole his bikes after a smartphone cycling app pinpointed the location of his garage. Mark Leigh, 54, of Failsworth, said his two bicycles – worth £500 ($750) and £1,000 ($1,500) – were nicked shortly after he made his address and details of his bikes public on the popular …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Dec 2015

Australian government urges holidaymakers to kill two-factor auth

The Australian government is urging its citizens to turn off two-factor authentication while abroad. The official Twitter account for myGov – a portal for accessing government services online – told Aussies this week: "Going overseas this summer? If you're registered for myGov security codes make sure you turn them off before …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Dec 2015

Comcast 'rolls out' 'world's first' DOCSIS 3.1 modem, pumping 1Gbps over existing cable

Everyone's favorite ISP Comcast says it has switched on its first live gigabit internet service without having to lay a single inch of new cable. The lovable American giant has installed what it says is the world's first DOCSIS 3.1 modem in a home in Philadelphia, offering download speeds of 1Gbps without having to install new …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Dec 2015
sap security vulnerabilities

Ex-SAP exec sent down for 22 months after bribing govt IT officials

A former regional director of SAP has been sentenced to 22 months in jail – plus three years of supervised release – for greasing the palms of government IT buyers. Vicente Eduardo Garcia, 65, of Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty in August to bribing Panamanian government officials to secure a contract for one of the company's …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Dec 2015

Chicago cops under fire for astonishingly high dashcam, mic failures

Analysis More than one in ten dashboard cameras and 80 per cent of microphones don't work on any given day, according to a review of the Chicago Police's recording equipment. The incredibly high failure rate has led to some pointed questions, and added to a general sense of distrust of officers in The Second City. It follows the …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Dec 2015

New HTTP error code 451 to signal censorship

After a three-year campaign, the IETF has cleared the way for a new HTTP status code to reflect online censorship. The new code – 451 – is in honor of Ray Bradbury's classic novel Fahrenheit 451 in which books are banned and any found are burned. The idea is that rather than a web server, proxy or some other system returning …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Dec 2015

New bill would require public companies to disclose cybersecurity credentials

A new bill introduced to Congress on Thursday would require US publicly listed companies to disclose who on their Board has cybersecurity expertise. If it passes, the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2015 would oblige companies to add details of which, if any, of their directors know about online security in filing to the …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Dec 2015

Newspaper kills 'what was fake' column as pointless in internet age

In a sign that the internet is indeed the end of all good and rational thoughts, The Washington Post has thrown in the towel on its "What was fake on the Internet this week" column. In what it said would be its final column Friday, columnist Caitlin Dewey revealed that, as with many things online these days, the internet has …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Dec 2015

The Firewall Awakens: ICANN's exiting CEO takes internet governance to the dark side

ICANN's exiting CEO has stunned internet governance experts by fronting a new Chinese government initiative to expand its view of how the internet should be run. On the last day of the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, the conference organizers unexpectedly announced they had set up a new "high-level advisory committee" …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Dec 2015

Former security officials and BlackBerry CEO pile in on encryption debate

The rolling debate over encryption has been joined by BlackBerry's CEO and a range of former national security officials. Following a recent political pushback, and a Republican debate that appeared to again ask for backdoors to be introduced into encryption products, the experts have stepped in to argue for a more realistic …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Dec 2015
Apple Beats headphones

Pandora pleased with 15% rate hike for streaming music

Pandora is pleased with a 15 per cent increase in the royalty rate it will have to pay to stream music, with its CEO calling the hike "a rate we can work with." Starting January 1, the internet radio service will have to pay 17 cents per 100 songs listened to on its ad-supported service, and 22 cents for its paid-for service. …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Dec 2015

Brazil gets a WTF WhatsApp moment

Analysis An extraordinary conglomeration of technology, politics, and law took place Wednesday night and Thursday morning when the WhatsApp service suddenly disappeared for millions of users in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Starting 9pm Wednesday local time, Brazil's four main telcos – Oi, Vivo, TIM, and Claro – complied with an …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Dec 2015

Canadian live route map highlights vulnerabilities to NSA spying efforts

Researchers at the University of Toronto have created a mapping tool that shows how internet data moves around and how the NSA can use just a few surveillance sites to scoop up online traffic. IXmaps is a visual, interactive database of traffic routes, and uses real data to help Canadians get a sense of what happens when they …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Dec 2015

Google gets into the start-up game with own accelerator program

Google has launched its own start-up accelerator program, adding to the well-established Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Techstars. Launchpad Accelerator follows the same basic approach as other accelerator programs – intensive, guided, free mentoring of start-ups – but with some significant changes. For one, successful …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Dec 2015

Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels

Ever since Senator Ted Stevens famously referred to the internet as a "series of tubes" in 2006, we have became sadly accustomed to the fact that legislators have little or no understanding of how the internet actually works. Despite the determined efforts of many internet policy wonks in the past decade, that dangerous level …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Dec 2015
Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung appeals to Supreme Court to bring patent law into 21st century

Samsung has appealed to the Supreme Court to hear its patent case against Apple. The appeal [PDF] was expected when Samsung lost the case in 2012, and an appeal this May, and was told to pay the iPhone maker just under $1bn in compensation. The case revolved around the fact that Samsung's smartphones were strikingly similar …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Dec 2015

Facebook arrives at commonsense 'real names' policy

Facebook has announced a revised, and some would say commonsense, version of its "real names" policy that introduces a little grey into its previous black-and-white efforts. Having taken six months to come up with a solution, the social media giant has outlined what most policy wonks would have written on a paper napkin within …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Dec 2015
Red Hat Linux on Azure

Red Hat launches dedicated enterprise cloud platform

Red Hat has launched a dedicated cloud platform for companies that want their developers to focus on coding. For $48,000 a year, the Linux distro provides a high-availability cluster with five nodes, four application nodes, 48TB of bandwidth, premium support, and 100GB of data. You can buy additional nodes for $12,000 a piece …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Dec 2015

Man faces 37 years for sarcastic post insulting royal dog

A Thai man faces up to 37 years in jail for publishing a "sarcastic" Facebook post about the king's dog. Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, has been charged under the country's lèse-majesté laws, which seem to have been expanded to cover not just Thailand's royal family but its pets too. Thanakorn's crime was to "like" and share a …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Dec 2015

Windows' authentication 'flaw' exposed in detail

Updated Security researcher "dfirblog" has forensically examined what he calls a "devastating" flaw in Windows' Kerberos authentication system. The vulnerability cannot be fixed, and the only solution is to use Microsoft's Credential Guard program to prevent passwords from being stored in memory, according to his extensive blog post …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Dec 2015

I can turn Yahoo! around claims hedge fund manager

An "activist investor" has sent a 99-page hate letter to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer arguing for her ousting and outlining a range of changes that would boost the troubled company's share price by $30 a share. Despite five CEOs over ten years having tried and failed to turn the one-time online giant Yahoo! around, the head of New …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Dec 2015

FAA introduces unworkable drone registration rules in time for Christmas

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has announced a new rule that will require the owners of almost every drone in the United States to register it with the federal government – and pay $5 for the pleasure of doing so. Concerned with the booming number of flying toys, especially the 25 reports a month being filed with the …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Dec 2015
Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Sleeper

Volkswagen blames emissions cheating on 'chain of errors'

Volkswagen has released the initial findings of an ongoing internal review in the emissions scandal that has engulfed it in recent months and concluded that it was a few bad apples and a "chain of errors." At a press conference at the car manufacturer's headquarters in Wolfsburg, its chairman, Hans Dieter Potsch, tried to put …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Dec 2015

Silicon Valley's Congresswoman comes to the defense of Tor

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who represents a big slice of Silicon Valley, has gone to bat for the anonymizing Tor service. In a letter [PDF] sent this week to the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Lofgren has asked some pointed questions about the role that the DHS played in a recent high-profile case where a …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Dec 2015

Steve Jobs mural highlights plight of Syrian refugees

A mural of Steve Jobs has appeared on the wall of a French refugee camp in an attempt to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees. Jobs, who was himself the son of a Syrian immigrant, is depicted carrying a scruffy old bag over one shoulder and an old Apple Macintosh in his hand. The artist? None other than sharp social …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Dec 2015
Dianne Feinstein

Social media snitching bill introduced into US Congress by intel bosses

A new bill introduced by Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican senator Richard Burr would oblige social media companies to report "terrorist activity" to the authorities. The short, three-page bill is called the "Requiring Reporting of Online Terrorist Activity Act" and effectively clones a similar law requiring …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2015
Collection of antique keys

US government pushing again on encryption bypass

Just a few weeks after the US government effectively conceded defeat in its efforts to force tech companies to introduce backdoors into their software, the issue is being pulled back onto the table. Both FBI director James Comey and deputy CTO Ed Felten have reopened discussions: Comey stating that tech companies like Apple …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2015

Chinese cyber chief plays down censorship concerns

The head of the China's Cyberspace Administration has again been playing down censorship concerns ahead of a global internet governance meeting in the country. At a press conference about the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Lu Wei faced questions about the country's extensive filtering and censoring of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Dec 2015

US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge

The US Navy's largest destroyer has finally set sail. And at its helm is Captain James Kirk. The USS Zumwalt, named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, has embarked on its first open ocean trials after eight years of construction. The $4bn Zumwalt is at the cutting edge of technology and will be the first of three in its class ( …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Dec 2015

Internet's root servers take hit in DDoS attack

The internet's root servers came under a concerted distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack last week that effectively knocked three of the 13 critical pillars of the internet offline for several hours. The attack came just days before the Janet academic network received a similar DDoS attack. According to a first analysis …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Dec 2015

IT salary not enough? Want to make £10,000 a DAY?

Cybersecurity experts are currently billing desperate companies £10,000 a day – yes, a DAY – according to recruiters Manpower. The company said on Tuesday that there is a "booming business and finance sector" in the UK looking for talent, noting that the high-profile hacks at Sony and TalkTalk have "created a surge in demand …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Dec 2015
Uber logo

Uber fined $150,000 and forced to embarrass itself by French court

Uber has been forced to embarrass itself in print by a French court after appealing charges of deceptive advertising. An appeal court in Paris on Monday upped an earlier €100,000 fine by €50,000 when it rejected the taxi app's argument that it had been deceptive when it published slick adverts for its UberPop service saying it …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Dec 2015

James Clapper has found another reason why he lied about NSA spying

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper now has a fifth reason for why he lied to the US Congress over the NSA's spying program: he just plain forgot it existed. Speaking during a panel discussion last week, Clapper's general counsel Robert Litt said that Clapper had not had time to prepare an answer to the question …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Dec 2015

Pirate Bay domain suspended thanks to controversial verification system

The Pirate Bay's .org addresses have been suspended as part of a controversial verification process run by domain name overseer ICANN. Visitors to "" are greeted with the message: "This domain name has been suspended. This domain name is pending ICANN verification and has been suspended. If you are the owner of …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Dec 2015

Revenge porn 'king' Hunter Moore sent down for 2.5 years, fined $2k

The so-called "King of revenge porn" has been sentenced to 2.5 years in jail and fined US$2,000. Hunter Moore was sentenced by a federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday, nine months after he pleaded guilty to hacking and "aggravated identity theft." He was facing up to seven years in jail and a $500,000 fine. When released …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Dec 2015