Richard Chirgwin

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NASA image of the covert black hole

Mystery black hole hides by curbing its appetite

A well-known radio source has turned out not to be the galaxy it's been classified as for 20 years, but a surprisingly quiet black hole. The discovery is causing a bit of buzz among astrophysicists because it suggests there could be thousands or millions more “covert” black holes out there waiting to be discovered. It took …
Three cows image via Shutterstock

Cisco looks to LoRaWAN for IoT device connectivity

Cisco has anointed another industry alliance into its Internet of Things embrace, with LoRaWAN The company's added a LoRaWAN-capable gateway to its sprawling product set, a decision that its global marketing and corp comms veep Doug Webster explains lets service providers create networks of low-powered sensors – “devices and …
China keyboard, image via Shutterstock

China swaps cyber czars

China has a new Internet chief, after Lu Wei abruptly stepped down. The government's official announcement, through Xinhua, says the new head of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs will be Xu Lin. Xu is expected to maintain the Communist Party's tight control over the Internet in China. Xu was already a deputy to …
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

Trans-Pacific FASTER fibre fires first photons, finally

Backed by Google and built by NEC, the FASTER consortium submarine cable has been lit up. The 9,000 km trans-Pacific cable connects two locations in Japan – the Chiba and Mie prefectures – to US hubs covering Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Portland and Seattle. As well as The Chocolate Factory, the 60 Tbps design …
Telstra copper in broken pit

Telstra restarting long-stalled ADSL investment

Telstra CEO Andy Penn, while promising to spend AU$250 million improving the Telstra network, has, without much fuss, re-started investment in ADSL infrastructure. That announcement is in the context of a National Broadband Network that's supposed to make ADSL obsolete. In this blog post, Penn says the mobile network's $50 …
stack of newspapers with a pair of ethernet cables next to them

LDAP snafu in Cisco Prime

Sysadmins using LDAP for Cisco Prime Collaboration Provisioning have an urgent patch to deal with, and Cisco Firepower users need to get rid of a just-discovered default account. The critical-rated vulnerability can allow a remote attacker to bypass authentication and get full administrative privileges. The bug in LDAP …
Dirty VW Beetle in Sleeper

VW finds US$15 BEEELION under the couch to pay off US regulators

Volkswagen has reached a settlement in the USA – or rather, two settlements, since it had to satisfy both federal regulators and the State of California. Its troubles are far from over, and the up-to-US$14.7 billion settlement only covers part of the tab, because it only covers US complaints over the software cheat implemented …
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3GPP sets 2018 as freeze date for 5G air interfaces

The 3GPP has told the industry to get cracking on standardising the air interface for 5G. The standards body wants the “5G New Radio” (NR) to be frozen by June 2018, which should help vendors have devices ready for the planned 2020 date for 5G standards to be ready to fly. Behind the radio, there will be two architectures: …

China cybersec legislation inches towards law

China has moved ahead with new Internet censorship security laws, with its upcoming cybersecurity bill getting a second reading in the country's legislature. Official news agency Xinhua says under the law, network operators will have to “comply with social and business ethics and accept supervision by both government and the …
Napster Have Everything Own Nothing

Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

Napster had it right, all those years ago: in the new world, you might “own nothing, have everything”. Except for “have everything”: in the second “death of free” today, Microsoft has put Xbox Fitness on the end-of-life list. Users are unhappy to learn they were renting videos they thought they were buying. The service might …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Liberal Party of Australia: why are you paying so much for ancient software?

An Australian developer has taken a look at the Liberal Party's controversial Feedback software, and guesses that MPs are paying a fairly steep licence for something developed on DataFlex. For those of you born later than the first Linux release, DataFlex was a Windows development environment that emerged from the DOS era to …

Evernote riles freetards with two-device limit

Evernote has unveiled the switch that followed the bait, in the form of a new pricing structure that stops users of its free note-making application from synching more than two devices. Its "Remember Everything" pitch now comes with a restriction that's as popular as a UKIP T-Shirt in Brussels, and users aren't happy. Adding …
IBM Headquarters, Armonk, NY

IBM head-hunts AFP assistant commish for Canberra security biz

The ANU / Australian Defence Force computer security joint venture isn't off the ground yet, but it's already acting as an attractor for similar operations. Yesterday, IBM announced it's going to set up a cyber-security office in Canberra. Ginny Rometty announced Big Blue's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) at the company' …

Ransomware slams corporate Office 365 users with macro storm

It's 2016, and Microsoft Office macros are still a viable infection vector: security outfit Avanan says it's spotted a week-long, large-scale malware attack against Office 365 users. The campaign began on June 22, and Microsoft started blocking the malicious attachment on June 23. Avanan says the attackers tried to send …
SABREnet network detail

Can gigabit fibre services revive Adelaide?

The South Australian SABREnet, the local academic network that connects universities to the national AARNet network, is going to be expanded to provide high-speed connections for Adelaide businesses. Premier Jay Weatherill said yesterday the government will sling AU$4.7 million at the project, which will offer services up to …
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Riverbed's NetProfiler, NetExpress virty appliances patched

Riverbed has pushed out an update to virtual security appliances, after Security-Assesment warned it they had multiple vulnerabilities. The report details SQL injection, command injection, privilege escalation, local file inclusion, cross-site scripting, account hijacks and hard-coded credentials affecting two Riverbed virtual …
Padlock

Google's Widevine DRM doesn't quite manage

Google's much-trumpeted Widevine digital rights management (DRM) system has the kind of hole that gives content owners nightmares: users can access local, decrypted versions of protected content. Ben-Gurion University PhD student David Livshits has unearthed the issue and published a proof-of-concept, but is waiting for Google …
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Facebook's new stalker tool

Any time Facebook's marketing and dev teams have a bright idea, the result is another privacy invasion. This time around, it's location services: the ad-farm has decided to suggest strangers as new friends partly based on where you are and where you've been. The Social NetworkTM app tracks the location of your smartphone to …
Man shouting through a mega phone with abstract communication icons in the background

Airbnb drags SF into court

Airbnb is aiming its First Amendment cannon at San Francisco in California: the biz is suing the city over its rental restrictions. Earlier this month, the city began a crackdown on the mattress-surfing operation. Residents offering their properties for short-term stays have to register with San Francisco officials, and if …
Schematics of the Parkes FRB detection

Deutsche Telekom phish alert

Another day, another customer database leak: this time, it's Germany's Deutsche Telekom. The carrier says it's telling customers to reset their passwords, after being made aware of a database of T-Online e-mail addresses and passwords being offered for sale on darknet sites. Between 64,000 and 120,000 customers may be …
Cthulu springs from HP desktop printer

NSW Education system fail: price rises, delivery slips, AGAIN

NSW TAFE might have canned the enrolment system imposed on it under the state's disastrous Department of Education IT project, but the rest of the system grinds on. The department now says the troubled Learning and Business Management Reform project won't be complete until the end of 2017, by which time it will pass AU$750 …

Singapore Airlines 777 catches fire after engine alarm

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 carrying 241 passengers and crew has caught fire at Changi Airport, but everybody was evacuated safely. The 777-300ER had left for Milan when an engine oil warning forced it to turn around. It touched down shortly before 7am local time, and while on the runway, the fire started. Emergency crews …
Envisat

Down and out in the Middle Kingdom: Beijing is sinking

Beijing is one of the most water-stressed cities in the world, and research carried out using satellite interferometry shows one of the side-effects of that: the city is sinking. Not by a trivial amount, either: according to this open-access study in the journal Remote Sensing, the eastern part of the city is subsiding by 100 …

Broadcom plans quarter-BEEELION expansion in Malaysia

Broadcom is going to tip US$250 million into Malaysia, announcing plans to expand its operation in Penang. The company has told local media it wants to add 175 engineers to the office, as well as 60 staff to its global supply chain operations. The Star Online identifies product development and testing, supply chain planning, …
Artist's impression of Juno and Jupiter. Pic: NASA

Countdown to Jupiter: Juno just seven days from orbit

Juno is on the seven-day countdown to entering Jovian orbit, and it's going to be a wild ride. On May 31, the probe crossed the boundary between solar gravity and Jupiter's. That also marked the start of manoeuvering towards an orbit that's going to take it within 5,000 km of the planet's cloud tops for 37 flybys. As space …