Richard Chirgwin

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Indian telcos ask for details of Facebook-flaying neutrality law

Hard on the heels of India implementing a net-neutrality regulation, its telecommunications carriers have asked the country's regulator to clarify its impact on them. The regulation was part of a big Zuck-off to Facebook. The regulator said its walled-garden free Internet, “Free Basics”, violated net-neutrality principles by …
Dr. Alan Carr points out the broken root or bad root canal of a right rear molar (tooth), dental tool, orthodontist's office, full jaw Xray, Factoria, Washington, USA by https://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Bluetooth direct to the internet: What could possibly go wrong?

The Bluetooth special interest group (SIG) reckons connecting "things" to PCs and smartphones is passé and wants to add direct-to-router connections to its technology. It's published a guide to using a bunch of RESTful APIs to build a gateway between Bluetooth and IP networking without an intermediary device. Explaining its …
The Unha-3-2 launches from Sohae Satellite Launching Station in December 2012. Pic: Official North Korean image

Norks stabilise non-threatening space speck ... for about five minutes

North Korea briefly got its tumbling satellite under control, but before the satellite made any transmissions it started tumbling again. If there was any purpose to the satellite other than to provide a rationale for the launch of the three-stage Unha rocket that lifted it, that purpose won't be fulfilled. As we reported on …

Celebrities fronting startups again? Now we're interested!

Move over Stephen Fry: a retired Australian rules footballer, motivational speaker and reality television contestant is fronting a startup. As pitched by the Australian Financial Review, Jason Akermanis (a famous-in-half-of-Australia athlete and Celebrity Apprentice contestant ) has become the face of “unbreakable” crypto …

Cisco security kit wide-open to IKE bug

Patch it now and don't wait: Cisco has announced that a bunch of its Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) products are vulnerable to a remote code execution bug. The problem is in how the ASA products reassemble fragmented Internet Key Exchange (IKE) payloads. Cisco's implementation of the fragmentation protocol has a bounds- …
Cisco RFGW-1-D Edge QAM

Enterprise network spend hits the brakes – and Cisco's OK with that

The financial market turmoil that's characterized 2016 has led Cisco to set modest expectations for the coming three months. Having said that, the networking giant is pleased with its performance in Q2 of its fiscal 2016, aka the quarter to January 23. Its US$11.8bn second quarter revenue (normalized to exclude the cable …
Sidewalk mobile phone lane in China

FTDI boss hits out at 'Chinese criminal gang' pumping knock-off chips

FTDI's CEO Fred Dart has given a rare interview to explain that the company's sometimes-unpopular anti-counterfeiting practices are part of a fightback against a professional Chinese knock-off operation. Adafruit scored the chat, which is published here. Scotland-based FTDI ran into users' ire last year when people found its …
Crypto fingers

Gmail growls with more bad message flags to phoil phishers

Google's taking some of the user interface techniques it uses to flag insecure Web pages and applying them to email. The plan: to warn users of Gmail on the Web when they receive emails from people who aren't using encrypted connections, or if message authentication fails. The change is outlined on the Gmail blog. While a …

GSMA outlines thoroughly sensible IoT security rules

About time: the GSM Association has released a bunch of guidelines to try and address the chronic insecurity of the Internet of Things. The significance of the initiative is that it's been agreed to by a collective of major carriers – the organisation's announcement lists AT&T, China Telecom, Etisalat, KDDI, NTT DOCOMO, Orange …
SHUT UP!

Bitcoiners are just like everybody else: They use rubbish passwords

Don't pretend you can invent a strong enough, memorable password to protect your Bitcoins: crypto-boffins can crack the so-called "brain wallet." In research published at the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR), University College London's Nicolas Courtois and Guangyan Song and White Ops' Ryan Castellucci …
ICRAR visualisation of the hidden galaxies

Australian astroboffins reveal hundreds of hidden galaxies

Data collected by Australia's Parkes radio telescope from as far back as 1997 has led astronomers to declare they've discovered hundreds of galaxies hidden from telescopes by the Milky Way. The result is exciting for astro-boffins, because the mass of the 300 newly-spotted galaxies, plus new and better information about 500 …
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Telstra proclaims free data day to make up for epic TITSUP

A somewhat red-faced Telstra is going to give its customers free data on Sunday to apologise for yesterday's mobile network outage. It's also copped to the cause of the problem. A major switching node (one of ten in the network) failed, and some suffering sysadmin mistakenly sent traffic to the failed device instead of away …
LIGO at Washington State

LIGO boffins set to reveal grav-wave corker

After weeks of speculation, the stage is set for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) boffins to announce their findings. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has briefly popped its head over the parapet to say it'll come clean about what it has (or hasn't) found on Thursday at the National Science …
Cartoon - Private SNAFU

It's 2016 and a font file can own your computer

Updated Cisco-owned Talos has announced a bunch of font library bugs present in apps running on Windows and Linux, affecting client and-server-side machines. The problem is in the Libgraphite library, and means that applications using the library to load .TTF font files can inherit its vulnerabilities. All that's needed for a …

Verizon!–Yahoo! takeover! inches! ahead!

Verizon has decided its Yahoo! strategy is important enough to occupy the attention of the CEO of its AOL business unit. Accordingly, Tim Armstrong has been set the task of ringing Marissa Mayer's doorbell, chocolates, flowers and a huge bag of money in hand. Verizon had already (somewhat inexplicably) identified Yahoo! as a …

Security? We haven't heard of it, says hacker magnet VTech

Insecure kiddie-IoT-tat merchant VTech has decided its insecurity is its users' fault. As noted by developer-blogger Troy Hunt, VTech has updated its terms and conditions after its brain-dead security practices led to the leaking of its customers' personal information. In particular, Hunt notes, there's this: YOU ACKNOWLEDGE …
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

Anova takes small slice of failing AOptix

Free-space optics vendor AOptix is reportedly on skid row, with Anova Technologies catching part of the company on the way down. The company's ULL3000 "ultra-low latency division" will become part of Anova, and in a media release the buyer says it will retain "core employees" at AOptix's Silicon Valley campus. AOptix is one …
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Oracle issues emergency patch for Java on Windows

Oracle's fired off an out-of-cycle emergency Java patch to plug a during-installation vulnerability on Windows platforms. Dubbed CVE-2016-0603, the bug is complex, in that an attacker would have to trick a user into visiting a compromised Website before installing Java 6, 7 or 8. However, a successful attack results in a “ …
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Cisco recalls switches that could short power to the case. And hurt you

Cisco is recalling a bunch of industrial Ethernet switches because it discovered the power source wiring could potentially short to the case. The IE 5000 is the company's series of ruggedised Ethernet switches, and the recall affects both version in the series, the IE-5000-12S12P-10G (1Gbps / 10Gbps, 28 ports) and the IE-5000- …
The Unha-3-2 launches from Sohae Satellite Launching Station in December 2012. Pic: Official North Korean image

Norks uses ballistic missile to launch silent 'satellite'

The UN Security Council has threatened North Korea with the terrors of the Earth after its weekend ballistic missile test. Meanwhile, radio hams are gearing up to work out whether the satellite's making any contact with Earth. Norks' launch, which also put a satellite into orbit, the Kwangmyongsong-4, which was detected by …
Thirty Meter Telescope

Thirty Meter Telescope needs to revisit earthly fine print

Hawaii's planned Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project has been formally sent back to square one in its construction approval process. The US$ 1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope has been slated for a site in Hawaii for some time, and its consortium had already spent $170 million on construction before court cases stalled it. …
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NBN activations to rise from 10,000 per week to 8,400 ... wait, what?

Last Friday, nbnTM congratulated itself on a positive user experience and a record number of activations. With its half-year results out and an election year beginning, it's hardly surprising that the company building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) is touting the success of the multi-technology model with the …
scissors cut cable

Submarine cable cut lops Terabits off Australia's data bridge

Another of the submarine cables connecting Australia to the world, for data, has broken. PPC-1, which stretches from Sydney to Guam and has 1.92 terabits per second capacity, is out of service until at least March 7. TPG's announcement says the fault is around 4,590 km from the cable's Guam landing, which means it's around 3, …
Safe browsing warning

Google to deep six dodgy download buttons

Google has taken aim at another class of internet scumware: the deceptive download buttons that infest advertising on places like free software directories. “Your computer is out of date!” ads and the like that take the unwary either to adware and/or malware installers - or worse - are in Google's sights. Lucas Ballard, the …
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Autodesk vapourises ten per cent of jobs to go completely cloudy

Autodesk, which is getting close to phasing out physical product sales, has announced it's also going to farewell 925 jobs, about ten per cent of its global workforce. The move comes less than two months after the company woke to find not one, but two “activist” investor funds on its share register: Eminence Capital and Sachem …
Computer with dead bug, Stacy Brunner CC2 license

Cisco splats Nexus, APIC, and security manager bugs

Grab the Cisco-branded fly-swatter, it's time for your weekly bug-splat. Top of the list are four high-severity bugs, in Nexus 9000 switches, security managers, and application policy controllers. The Nexus 9000 ACI Mode Switch has an issue in its ICMP implementation, remotely exploitable to cause a denial-of-service. An …

Cisco borgs IoT outfit Jasper Tech for US$1.4 billion

Internet of Things service platform outfit Jasper Technologies has fallen into the maw of Cisco for US$1.4 billion. Twelve-year-old Jasper started life as a machine-to-machine wireless comms specialist (Jasper Wireless) before changing its name in 2014. According to Cisco's blog post about the acquisition, Jasper has 3,500- …
Tesla powerwall

Tesla PowerWall is a good deal if you don't mind a 25-year payback

It's got a ten-year warranty and an unknown battery life, but the Tesla PowerWall will pay for itself, eventually. That's the conclusion of the Australian Consumers' Association, which crunched the numbers here. The Choice article takes a few different use-cases: a household with existing solar panels, and various grid- …
Satan in Hell from South Park

Cisco slings speedier SAN switches

Cisco's taken the whip to the FibreChannel horse, shipping a bunch of kit ready for the next iteration of the venerable storage area network (SAN) standard. In the kind of cutesy marketing-speak that makes people want to set fire to blog posts, The Borg reckons its 32G-ready, 768-16G-port MDS 9718 Director is called “the beast …
Tube sign and Big Ben. Pic: Sgt Tom Robinson RLC/Crown copyright

Big Ben belittled by Infosys' plans for enormous erection

Infosys, which reckons its Mysuru education centre is the world's largest corporate university, says it's going to build a 135-metre clock tower there. The massive erection would shade London's 96 metre Big Ben, California's 87m Hoover Tower and Cornell's 53m McGraw Tower, says India's Economic Times. Why does Infosys need …

Japanese wireless boffins demo 56Gbps fibre replacement*

Come close. No, closer. Much closer: Fujitsu and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated millimetre-wave transmissions operating at an eye-watering 56Gbps, over a far-less-impressive 10cm. Probably more impressive is that they did it with a CMOS transceiver that puts the "broad" into broadband processing: the chip …

International Trade Commission pens patent love letter to Cisco

The International Trade Commission has handed Cisco another gun to fire at antagonist Arista, finding that the latter violated three Cisco software patents. The patents in question cover router management (US 7,162,537), and private VLANs (US 6,741,592 and 7,200,145). Since Cisco reckons Arista's in violation of twelve …
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Socat slams backdoor, sparks thrilling whodunit

Popular admin tool Socat has issued a patch for an error that's been in the code for 12 months and is so egregious some fear it could be a backdoor. The problem, revealed here, is simple: the Socat SSL implementation uses a non-prime number as its Diffie-Hellman p parameter. Socat is akin to the famous *nix cat command, but …

Google calls out Comodo's Chromodo Chrome-knockoff as insecure crapware

Google security boffins have thrown the book at Comodo for turning off Chrome security. As explained in this advisory today, users who install Comodo Internet Security may not realize that their Chrome installation is replaced with Comodo's own browser, Chromodo. That little bit of crapware isn't secure at all: it's set as …
Car crash

Euro-security group ENISA notices cars are insecure, plots fixfest

ENISA, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security, has noticed that computers, cars, and communications can result in insecurity, and is calling for participants in a new CarSEC expert group. With a focus on “Smart Cars and Intelligent Road Systems”, ENISA says it will keep the call for experts open for …
ExaNeSt Logo

Exascale project wants machine with TEN MEEELLION ARMS

Europe's ExaNeSt project is looking behind the couch for ten million ARM processors, to support its exascale supercomputing project. As well as a bucket of processing, what it's calling its “straw-man prototype” will use liquid cooling, Flash memory in the processor fabric, and will use “innovative, fast interconnects” to …
NASA's Mike Krainak with the silicon-photonic chip

NASA preps silicon-photonic modem for space laser internet test

NASA's preparing the next step of its lasers-in-space optical communications strategy, announcing the development of a silicon photonic modem for space applications. The agency's engineering team is getting ready to build the modem, which integrates electrical and optical signalling and processing on a single chip. The news …
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Google plugs Android vulns

Five "critical," four "high" severity and one merely "moderate" bug make up the menu of Android security patches, which are now available for Nexus devices and will flow through to myriad other devices when it rains up instead of down. The critical bugs relate to Broadcom and Qualcomm WiFi drivers, Android's Mediaserver, …
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No, George Brandis, telcos still don't want you taking the console in their networks

Australia's telcos are still, by and large, unhappy with the idea that Attorney-General Senator George Brandis wants to play uber-sysadmin. In submissions to the government's inquiry into telecommunications security legislation, carriers are saying that the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 creates …
Prison

Secret Service Silk Road scammer in the slammer

Shaun Bridges, the ex-US Secret Service agent who fleeced Silk Road drug dealers during a probe into the cyber-souk, has managed to find a fire hotter than the frying pan he was already inhabiting. Bridges pleaded guilty in a San Francisco court in June, admitting his part in a scam that netted US820,000 in Bitcoins from Silk …
Intel first-generation Centrino parts

Intel's SGX security extensions: Secure until you look at the detail

A pair of cryptography researchers have published a graduate thesis that accuses Intel of ruining its “Software Guard Extensions” (SGX) with bad implementation decisions. Victor Costan and Srinivas Devadas of MIT criticize [PDF] the way SGX obtains cryptographic keys over the internet. Launched in 2013, SGX added CPU features …

Is security outfit Norse Corp dead or just temporarily TITSUP?

Security startup Norse Corp has gone ominously dark. The outfit, famous for picking scabs from FreeBSD and mesmerising users with a “live DDoS map”, isn't contactable on the Web right now. Early in January, The Register reported layoffs in the business, amounting to as much as half its staff at the time. Now, Brian Krebs …
Mambo Unlimited's gold bug. Pic: Steve Caplin

LibreSSL emits new versions, says not vulnerable to OpenSSL bug

Corrected LibreSSL sysadmins should keep an eye on their mirrors for a soon-to-land update. Announced on Friday, the bug-fix release covers a couple of important vulnerabilities. The big vuln it plugs is to remove the SSL_OP_SINGLE_DH_USE flag (which meant the operator could be left off), to get rid of a possible man-in-the-middle …
Facepalming statue

App for homeless says walking on water is the way to reach services

An app for homeless people hailed by Australian prime minster Malcolm Turnbull as an example of technology done right asks users to walk across several hundred kilometres of water to find services. Turnbull launched the "AskIzzy" app last week and in his remarks at the event said it "... is doing exactly what successful …
Counterfeit FTDI USB-to-serial adapter chips

Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Semiconductor company Future Technology Devices International (FTDI), which in 2014 was caught out bricking products built using knock-off chips, has again been accused of fooling around with device drivers. Back in October 2014, the company shipped a device driver that checked the authenticity of USB chips claiming to be FTDI …

Random ideas sought to improve cryptography

America's National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) is looking for public input into its long-running project to improve cryptography. The recommendation NIST's put up for discussion covers the design principles and requirements for random bit generators, and tests to validate entropy sources. It's the entropy …

CableLabs certifies first gigabit-class cable modems

Broadcom's grinning like the Cheshire Cat, with its OEMs apparently dominating the first round of DOCSIS 3.1 device certification. DOCSIS 3.1 is a standard allowing for gigabit-and-above data transmission rates over existing hybrid fibre-coax cables widely deployed around the world for cable television delivery. The BCM3390 …
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Juniper turns around in 2015, worried about 2016

Juniper Networks has managed to disappoint Wall Street with revenue growth, a turnaround from loss to profit and earnings per share better than analyst forecasts. The problem? It doesn't like next year's outlook. Its Q4 2015 revenue of US$1,319.6 million was 20 per cent better than Q4 2014 and six per cent ahead of Q3, with a …
Sony logo

Sony slurps Altair Semiconductor to make 'things' sing

Sony has put US$212 million on the table to buy LTE silicon vendor Altair Semiconductor. The Israeli chip developer runs the gamut from 200 Kbps low-power (and low-cost) Internet of Things comms chips up to 450 Mbps chipsets for base stations, mobile Internet and motor vehicle applications. In December, the takeover target …
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Windows Mobile users suffer backup super-slurp as Redmond forgets Wi-Fi switch

Microsoft is telling Windows 10 mobile users to shut off automatic updates, because a bug is demolishing people's data allowances. The antics of the Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview edition has lit up forums like Reddit and Windows Central, because it assumes users believe “back up everything to the cloud on whatever network …