Richard Chirgwin

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Wikimedia sweeps shill accounts after stunt doubles, waterparks scammed

Update The Wikimedia Foundation has gone on another shill-kill, announcing that it's flicked 381 “paid advocacy” accounts and pulled 210 articles created by the offending accounts. The latest action is a continuation of a long programme attempting to rid Wikipedia of poo-polishing posts. Blogging about the move, Ed Erhart and Juliet …
Crown of Thorns Starfish by Matt Kieffer, Creative Commons 2.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Drone deals DEATH – to deadly starfish

An Australian university is about to start deploying drones on a seek-and-destroy mission. The target? The Crown of Thorns Starfish, which is famously a serious danger to the country's Great Barrier Reef. The invading predator first emerged as a problem for the reef in the 1960s, and since then it's been blamed for coral cover …
rage meme

Wanna call Barnaby Joyce a w**ker / gerbil on radio? FINE, says ACMA

It's official: Australians can call their elected representatives “wankers” on air, as long as they mean it as a term of abuse rather than a literal description of their sexual activity. That's the conclusion of an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which as well as managing spectrum licenses, …

Leak-shamed Intel finally bares nifty Skylake details to world+dog

A leak in Japan has led Intel to rush out the full details of its sixth-generation Skylake chip lineup. Today's launch follows the previous announcement of Core i5 and i7 variants, and the leak of much of the lineup in July. The lineup includes five 4.5W Core Y processors; ten 15W Core U-series processors and four 28 W …

There's no Wayback in Russia: Putin blocks Archive.org

Archive.org, home to the popular Wayback Machine, is again blocked in Russia, according to a site that monitors IP addresses banned in that country. The Internet Archive's address, 207.241.224.2, turns up in the latest dump by Antizapret on GitHub. The anti-censorship Antizapret maintains a list (currently beyond 12,000 …
Gorillas by Thomas Wildmann Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Telstra helped scupper new competition laws: report

A change to competition laws that would have given small businesses a lever against the big end of town has been scuppered, with Australia's largest carrier among the successful lobbyists. The Harper Review had recommended a small-but-significant change to how the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission tests the use of …
LSST camera

All pixels go: World's biggest sky-gazing camera gets final sign-off

Having won its final funding approval during 2014, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope has now been granted government approval to start construction. The 3.2 gigapixel camera will be built at the US Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Lab. Its boffins have been celebrating “Critical Decision 3”, the last major …
Freescale Internet of Things overview

Intel, NSF tip dollars into IoT security

America's National Science Foundation has noticed the dodgy security surrounding the Internet of Things, and has splashed US$6 million in two grants to improve, umm, things. The grants to examine “cyber-physical systems” (CPS), awarded in partnership with Intel, have gone to the University of Pennsylvania's Insup Lee to work …

Brocade virtualises flow monitoring to Fibre Channel

Brocade wants to give Fibre Channel storage infrastructure analytics and monitoring of traffic between servers and storage, to help benchmark application performance and diagnose application problems. As Brocade's Senior Director for Australia and New Zealand Gary Denman explained to Vulture South, it's particularly useful in …
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Delhi close to issuing city-wide Wi-Fi tender

In spite of being under investigation by India's competition regulator, Google has been named among the vendors vying to build Delhi's planned city-wide Wi-Fi network. The network would ultimately need to support around 20 million devices in the city. The Economic Times has identified the Chocolate Factory as one of a laundry …

VMware eyes hyperconverged model for private clouds

VMworld 2015 With VMware planting its flag in the burgeoning hyperconverged market in a four-way deal with Cumulus Networks, Dell, and Quanta Cloud Technology, The Register speaks to Cumulus. The integration, announced today at VMworld 2015, marks a “validation” for Cumulus, according to VP of business Reza Malekzadeh, as well as opening …
Cthulu springs from HP desktop printer

Printer drivers ate our homework, says NSW Dept of Education

A half-billion-dollar IT rollout in the New South Wales Department of Education in Australia has turned into a disaster – with a department official blaming incompatibility between operating systems and printers. In the first parliamentary examination of the nearly decade-old “Learning Management and Business Reform” (LMBR) …

Better crypto, white-box switch support in Linux 4.2

Linux 4.2 hit the wires yesterday, marking the end of its cycle of eight release candidates. The new kernel only needed a handful of fixes in the past week, according to Linus Torvalds' release note. Now that it's general availability, the kernel does bring some goodies worth having. The Crypto Forum Research Group's ChaCha20 …
MIAOW architecture

Boffins unveil open source GPU

It's a kitten rather than a roar right now, but if the MIAOW project unveiled at last week's Hot Chips conference can get legs, the next year could see the launch of the world's first “open GPU”. The result of 36 months' development (so far) by a team of 12 developers, MIAOW – the Many-core Integrated Accelerator of Wisconsin …
A-10 Warthog - US Air Force image

US to stage F-35-versus-Warthog bake-off in 2018

US brass-hats have decided when the F-35 “Joint Strike Fighter” will finally be ready to take on the ancient A10 “Warthog”: in another three years, give or take a little. In 2018, the Pentagon's Office of Operational Test and Evaluation plans to send formations of F-35s and A10s to compare their effectiveness in close air …
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Cisco ISE carries HTML authentication bug

Cisco's identified a bug in its Identity Services Engine: its admin portal doesn't properly authorise HTML requests, and that can let an attacker see custom pages an admin has created. The reason it matters is that sys admins' custom pages can contain sensitive security information about the network that ISE is managing. “The …
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

NASA names New Horizons' next target

NASA has tentatively named the next target for its New Horizons' probe. Now that the probe has finished its Pluto fly-by – although, as NASA notes, it's still busily transmitting the bulk of the images and data it collected back to Earth – the agency says it reckons a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) called 2014 MU69 is a suitable …
Battery_Andy_Armstrong_CC_2_Flickr

Slip-streaming Tesla, Oz battery-maker plots home-biz launch

Australian battery researcher and manufacturer Redflow is hoping to get a jump on Tesla, prepping its own entry into the residential battery market. The news puts yet another player into what used to be regarded as a tight niche. Home storage was strictly a matter for the off-grid user, and it wasn't until recently that the …
Rat

Cisco's RAT-catchers spot sysadmin-targeted phish

File this under “it was bound to happen one day”: Cisco has spotted a targeted phishing attack based on a popular sysadmin automation tool. If someone in the “IT crowd” bunker falls for the phishing attack, Cisco's Talos Group says the payload exploits AutoIT, a scripting admin environment for Windows. Talos explains what's …
Dunce's cap graffiti by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lord-jim/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Why is the smart home insecure? Because almost nobody cares

It's easy to laugh-and-point at Samsung over its latest smart-thing disaster: after all, it should have already learned its lesson from the Smart TV debacle, right? Except, of course, that wherever you see “Smart Home”, “Internet of Things”, “cloud” and “connected” in the same press release, there's a security debacle coming. …
Car crash

Verizon wants to smartify old cars

Black, grey, and white hats associated with car hacking are flying in the air today, with Verizon announcing it's going to vastly expand their attack surface. That's not what the US network operator actually says, of course. What the company has announced is that its “project hum” has gone general-availability. Hum is …
D-Wave chip

D-Wave: 'Whether or not it's quantum, it's faster'

D-Wave is getting ready to drop a new benchmark on Arxiv, which the company says demonstrates its latest 1000-qubit processor outperforming classical machines. And it's bound to provoke the “other side” of the “is it quantum and is it faster?” debate, because the latest paper – the company has posted it here – describes “a …
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Password 'XXXXairocon' pops Wi-Fi routers from ASUS, ZTE and others

A bunch of home gateway vendors, presumably sourcing their firmware from the same place, can be hijacked using depressingly common hard-coded logins. As the Carnegie-Mellon CERT states, the vendors involved are ASUS and ZTE in Asia, European vendors Digicom and Observa Telecom, and carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone ( …

The Onion Router is being cut up and making security pros cry

IBM is warning corporates to start blocking TOR services from their networks, citing rising use of the encrypted network to deliver payloads like ransomware. The advice comes in the company's latest X-Force research team report (PDF). IBM claims there were around 180,000 malicious traffic “events” in the USA between January 1 …

Motorola monsters Apple's swipe-to-unlock patent in German court

Apple has suffered yet another setback in its Bleak House lawsuits, with another German court deciding to throw out its swipe-to-unlock patent. The ruling confirms an earlier decision that the patent just didn't have the goods to stand up in Europe. As The Register reported at the time, “European law doesn't allow for the …
Godzila

Intel adds big data functions to math libraries

Intel is eyeing off the world of Big Data with the latest round of updates to its Parallel Studio Suite. In the latest update, Chipzilla has added a Data Analytics Acceleration Library (DAAL) to its venerable Math Kernel Library (MKL). As Intel explains here, DAAL's aim is to speed the operation of data analysis platforms …
Mobile Fusion 2

Your smartphone can be a 3D scanner, say boffins

Video Microsoft Research and Oxford University are showing off a chunk of software that turns smartphones into 3D scanners – running fast enough that if it's released, it'll be handy for 3D printing enthusiasts. To be published in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, the six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) scanning …
Dunce's cap graffiti by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lord-jim/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

AT&T accused of Wi-Fi interception, ad injection

AT&T has been accused of grabbing user traffic from its Wi-Fi hotspots for ad injection. The news comes from Stanford lawyer and computer scientist Jonathan Mayer, whose previous work includes uncovering a browser history bug in 2011, and the use of Verizon zombie cookies by third parties. In Webpolicy, Mayer writes that …

FBI probed SciFi author Ray Bradbury for plot to glum-down America

Among the many things the FBI of the 1950s and 1960s thought was corrupting America's youth and harbouring communism was, apparently, the science fiction scene. Documents recently released under freedom of information laws, show the G-men took an interest in one of the era's leading authors, Ray Bradbury. Their interest was …

Cortana Android beta goes public

Microsoft's Cortana-on-Android project, first announced in May, has now evolved to the point at which the virtual assistant has been released as a beta. The public beta, announced by Susan Hendrich, says the aim is to make Cortana “the companion to your Windows 10 PC, extending Cortana's functionality across any device you …
Sharpoint 2016 preview

Microsoft issues first SharePoint 2016 preview

Microsoft has released the first preview of SharePoint Server 2016 and outlined a buzzword-list of new features. Microsoft says its made “deep investment in HTML5” to give you “capabilities that enable device-specific targeting of content. This helps ensure that users have access to the information they need, regardless of the …
Ambulance

AshMad search outfit Trustify to El Reg: 'Trust us, we're the good guys'

Updated Online “Uber for private investigators” outfit Trustify is upset with The Register for not replicating its messaging with sufficient sycophancy. The company has, through PR company PR/serve, sent the following missive to explain why it harvested searches from the desperate and foolish visiting its site to see if they're on the …

Researcher says Australian parliaments have failed to protect privacy for 14 years

Long-time – and by now somewhat despondent – privacy advocate Roger Clarke says successive Australian governments have ignored the privacy impacts of nearly every national security measure passed by parliament since 2001. In this analysis of 72 items of legislation, Clarke finds only around 10 per cent received the normal …
Facepalm

Yammer security sub-standard says US Veterans' Affairs Dept

America's Veterans Affairs inspector general has sideswiped the department for what it says is “improper” use of Yammer, Microsoft's inside-the-firewall Twitter clone. In what looks like a mistaken enthusiasm for cool-tools, the US Department of Veterans' Affairs decided to start using Yammer, an "enterprise social network," …
NBN logo

NBN cost blows out by at least AU$10bn and FTTN isn't launched yet

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has presented a cost overrun greater than AU$10 billion in the National Broadband nNetwork's (NBN's) peak funding requirements as a win because the former government's plan would have been worse. “The project we inherited from the Labor party in 2013 had failed,” he said, discussing the …
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Does Linux need a new file system? Ex-Google engineer thinks so

Former Googler Kent Overstreet has announced that a long-term project to craft a new Linux file system is at a point where he'd like other developers to pitch in. Since you're already asking why bother with a new file system, the answer Overstreet provides in this post to the kernel mailing list is that he wants to “match ext4 …
Flash disabled screen grab

Amazon to trash Flash, as browsers walk away

Amazon – the retail juggernaut, not the cloud juggernaut – has flicked Flash ads citing the increasing number of ways they're blocked at the browser as its reason. Driven at least in part by others' reaction to chronic insecurity in the plug-in-platform, Amazon says it will no longer accept advertisements that use Flash after …
Blackmail

Ashley Madison spam starts, as leak linked to first suicide

Part of the near-inevitable wash-up from the Ashley Madison hack has begun, with people reporting getting emails offering to save them from embarrassment, and a possible suicide in the USA. The misery caused by the hack is already in evidence in this report of a San Antonio city employee named in the Ashley Madison database …

Big Switch Networks glues together physical and virtual networks

Big Switch Networks has announced its next major revision, with a focus on unifying the physical network and the virtual network. Speaking to El Reg ahead of the release, CMO Gregg Holzrichter says the next revision is designed to bring virtual networking into line with virtualisation and containers at the server level. …
Artist's impression of Philae on Comet 67P

Chill, Philae: Shadow may protect comet lander from Sun roasting

Video If the Philae lander hitch-hiking on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko isn't dead, its dark hiding-place might just protect it from being destroyed by the heat as comet, lander and the Rosetta spacecraft swing around the sun. As the comet nears today's perihelion (closest approach) today (European time), the European Space …

Cisco network kit warning: Watch out for malware in the firmware

Cisco has warned users to watch out who's got admin access to kit, because it's seen malicious ROM images in the wild. The problem is that this isn't something the Borg can just issue a patch for. Admins – with appropriate credentials, naturally – need to be able to drop new ROM images on their kit as a matter of course. "The …
Earth

Samsung says micro-sats could blanket the world with Internet

Samsung has joined the likes of Google, Facebook, SpaceX and O3B with a proposal to bring the Internet to those who don't yet have it. While it's not an official Samsung policy document, the proposal is under the signature of Farooq Khan, who is president of Samsung R&D in Texas. In his paper at ArXiv, Khan proposes low-cost …
Amplify tablet

Rupert Murdoch rips up his own fondleslab foundry

Rupert Murdoch's unerring nose for a future tech market failure has struck again, with the company writing down its Amplify education business. Amplify, created out of the acquisition of Wireless Generation, and was supposed to corner the educational market. News acquired it for US$360 million in 2010, and subsequently poured …
Two people manipulate a CAD design on a Microsoft Surface Hub

Microsoft: Surface hub will ship from January 1, 2016

Microsoft has quietly announced when its Surface Hub will ship, and if you're impatient, you won't be pleased: it won't be until January 1, 2016. In July, it emerged that manufacturing problems were going to delay the planned September 1 ship date of the product. Redmond has now updated its “we're running late” blog post with …

Cisco kicks off Robbins' reign by beating the street

Cisco's new CEO Chuck Robbins has had the pleasure of reporting ahead-of-expectation results for Q4 of 2014/15. In the quarter that saw Robbins take over the big office from the seemingly-eternal John Chambers, Cisco reported year-on-year growth for the quarter of 3.9 per cent (US$12.8 billion). Full-year 2015 revenue was …
A hammer and bent screw

Cisco hands license-busting troll-hammer to THOR

Cisco is sick of the state of patent licensing for video codecs, so has decided to set a royalty-free of its own loose on the world. The Borg's problem is twofold: on the one hand, the licensing pools for H.264 fail to represent many of the participants in the industry; on the other, the successor, H.265, can be vastly more …
Padlocks by Simon Cocks Flickr CC2 license

IoT security is RUBBISH says IoT vendor collective

A vendor group whose membership includes Microsoft, Symantec, Verisign, ADT and TRUSTe reckons the Internet of Things (IoT) market is being pushed with no regard to either security or consumer privacy. In what will probably be ignored by the next startup hoping to get absorbed into Google's Alphabet's Nest business, the Online …
Uber launch party by https://www.flickr.com/photos/5chw4r7z/ CC2.0 sharelalike attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Spooks add Uber algorithms to their research wish-list

The problem for a spook trying to keep up with technology is he or she knows there are all sorts of new sources of intelligence worth knowing, but also knows they're not allowed to know what's in those sources. And that knowledge gap is something America's Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) wants to change …
Fibre Optic by Barta IV https://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Gigabit Google? We're getting ready for 10 gigabits says Verizon

Verizon has upped the ante in the fibre-to-the-home business, plugging some test kit into its network to show off 10Gbps. The test was a proof-of-concept for what's called NG-PON2 – next generation passive optical network – an ITU roadmap that plots GPON (gigabit PON) upgrades with a minimum of new kit. In the test, Verizon …
Australian attorney general George Brandis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Oz carriers to Attorney General Brandis: get OUT of our networks

Australia's telecommunications industry has spoken with one voice: George Brandis Attorney-General-as-Sysadmin legislation is a mess. The Attorney-General's (AG's) department has published the submissions received on the legislation (here), and among the ten industry-written submissions there's not one in support of the …