Richard Chirgwin

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Your gadget batteries endanger planes, says Boeing

Boeing has decided that lithium-ion batteries, the engine-room of the tech gadget boom, are too dangerous to haul around in bulk on cargo planes. The company has warned operators of its aircraft not to carry bulk shipments of batteries until logistics companies design better transport packaging and shipping procedures. …
Australian attorney general George Brandis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

AARNet warns of 'draconian overreach' in telco regulation

As the deadline for submissions on the Australian government's telecom security legislation approaches, concerns are emerging at the potential for the laws to stifle innovation. The laws, introduced to Federal Parliament late in June, are designed to make sure that telecommunications carriers protect their infrastructure …
firing range - target in cross hairs

RC4 crypto: Get RID of it already, say boffins

Remember how many times the crypto world has shouted that the RC4 crypto algorithm needs to be wiped from the face of the Earth? It just got even worse, with researchers demonstrating an attack that can be executed in 52 hours. Belgian researchers preparing for August's Usenix Security Symposium in Washington, DC, reckon they …

CloudRouter inches closer to G/A with second beta

The open-source CloudRouter project is getting closer to general availability, with its second beta hitting the Internet today. CloudRouter first emerged in March under the aegis of peering company IIX. The Register asked project lead Jay Turner why, in a world where routers have well over 20 years' of development, the world …
A Handful of Giant Weta by Mike Locke

Cisco Videoscape bug could bring endless repeats to your tellie

Cisco is asking Web broadcasters using its Videoscape TV-over-IP streaming product to get patching, after a denial-of-service vulnerability was found in the software. The system, kicked off in 2011 and rolled into a bigger “Evolved Services Platform” in 2014, is a cloudy PVR with transcoder and video optimisation. The Borg's …

Wi-Fi Alliance ushers in new era of intrusive apps

A lack of connectivity options in devices like smartphones is clearly what stops location-based advertising from being the saviour of physical retailing. That, or something like it, seems to be behind the Wi-Fi Alliance's “Wi-Fi Aware” project, announced at CES in January and now launching its product certification program. …
Google Cast / Processor API demo

New Google APIs: Point your phone at a telly like a streaming hose of vid

Google has mashed the Processing graphics language into its Cast software, letting visual artists and others with a bent for graphics point their creations at the nearest big-screen TV. The project even seems to hint at a possible games angle: an Android device like a mobile phone can be used as a controller of the displayed …

Proxyham Wi-Fi relay SUPPRESSED. CONSPIRACY, yowl tinfoilers

Rhino Security has suddenly pulled the plug on its “ProxyHam” Wi-Fi relay project and withdrawn from the upcoming DefCon conference. The company's Bun Cuadill made the “announcement” in the way most likely to send conspiracists hyperventilating: a couple of Twitter messages that offered no explanation. Since the aim of …
Fibre Optic by Barta IV https://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Alca-Lu clocks 300 Gbps over 10,000 km submarine cable

Get ready for more confusion about optical fibre speed and distance records: Alcatel-Lucent has announced a 300 Gbps, 10,000 km transmission on a submarine cable test-bed. The announcement, here, touts the test of a 300 Gbps modulation technology over 10,000 km using “second-generation coherent submarine” fibre. What's being …
shutterstock_236128771

Huawei: in the world of 5G, we're all Europeans now

Huawei has formalised its cooperation with Europe's 5G-PPP (public-private partnership), announcing the projects it will be working on under the project. The Chinese juggernaut's interest was signalled last year when it dominated sponsorship of the 5G@Europe summit in Munich. Earlier this year, Europe's digital commish …
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

Pluto revealed as KING of the Kuiper belt

As astroboffins prepare themselves for the arrival of data from New Horizons' nearest approach in its Pluto fly-by, the little probe has already revised opinion about how big/small the planet/dwarf planet really is. Pluto won't get to recover its lost status as a planet, but NASA's New Horizons team has confirmed that at 2,370 …
A Handful of Giant Weta by Mike Locke

Linux Foundation serves up a tasty dish of BUGS

The Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative has completed its first-pass survey of the Linux toolset, and is highlighting which tools are most at risk. While there's lots of attention on high-profile packages like crypto tools, web servers and mail agents, there's also a lot of packages that everyone uses and nobody …
Pair of pliers cutting wire

Practice makes perfect: NBN fibre deployments accelerate

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has jumped the gun on nbnTM's annual report, trumpeting that the company has exceeded its June 2015 performance targets. The long-anticipated acceleration of the fibre rollout was evident in February, when nbnTM announced its 2014-15 half-year results. The official full-year results are …
The Pacific sleeper shark spotted by Nat Geo survey

Forget lasers: how about sharks with frikkin' VOLCANOES?

Vid A bunch of volcanologists working near the Solomon Islands has turned up a find that left them “freaking out”: a seldom-seen variety of Pacific sleeper shark just about living in a volcano. The group, working with National Geographic, were studying underwater volcanoes earlier this year when they caught the high-definition …

DEA agent slugged a MEELLION dollars for Silk Road snipe

Carl Mark Force, the Drug Enforcement Agency officer who in June took a plea bargain for misconduct during the Silk Road investigation, will lose a bunch of currency, both real and virtual. In a preliminary judgement filed on July 9, US District Judge Richard Seeborg has ordered that Force relinquish around 687 BitCoin held in …
Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo chieftain and gamer titan, dies aged 55

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has died aged 55. The fourth president of the company, Iwata-san arrived at Nintendo in 2000 after working for HAL Laboratory. He was appointed president in 2002. Bloomberg reports that under his leadership, the company tripled its revenue on the back of the Game Boy Advance SP and the Wii. In …
Airbus are overjoyed about having the biggest one around.

Airbus plots exit from government comms biz

Airbus is reportedly considering selling its public safety radio business, with Alcatel-Lucent and Thales apparently interested in writing a cheque to obtain the operation. Bloomberg's off-the-record briefers say that €500 million-plus business is slated for sale by the end of the current quarter. Originally formed when …

Apple snuggles closer to IPv6

With the latest public betas of iOS 9 and the already-patched “El Capitan” OS X 10.11, Apple is leaning further towards IPv6. In a post to the IETF's v6ops mailing list, Apple CoreOS networking engineer David Schinazi says the new releases include a re-vamped version of the three-year-old Google-authored “Happy Eyeballs” RFC …
Simulated computer display of a particle collision in the large hadron collider (LHC) - image by CERN/Science photo library

Sorry, say boffins, the LHC still hasn't sucked us into a black hole

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has still failed to produce microscopic black holes, according to a new analysis of data from the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration. The idea, beloved of theoretical physicists, lawyers, and cranks others, is that collisions even down to the Tera-electron-volt (TeV) scale could produce …
Training image - Alex Hocking et al

Brit boffins teach mere PCs to find galaxies in Hubble pics

As astronomical datasets head towards the petabyte scale, they'll be too big for even crowd-sourced labelling and analysis, so a pair of Brit boffins are working on teaching computers to see and label galaxies in Hubble images. In doing so, they believe the algorithm they've created (a combination of “growing neural gas” or …

IETF doc proposes fix to stop descent into data centre 'address hell'

Address tables in data centres can fill up really quickly, so researchers from Huawei and Marvell have offered up a proposal to make them smaller. The purely-experimental RFC 7586 suggests that all hosts – including VMs – in an access domain be addressed through a proxy. The problem the RFC looks at is how to get data from …
Angela Merkel. Pic: Christliches Medienmagazin

NSA snooped on German chancellors for DECADES: Wikileaks

Less than a month after Germany abandoned its probe into alleged NSA spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, a new Wikileaks drop suggests snooping on the Chancellory goes back decades. The leak, published here, draws the inference that prior chancellors were targeted, based on the list of telephone numbers targeted by the NSA. “ …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Australian Research Council funds clean tech

Technology research projects have won a decent slice of the latest round of Australian Research Council industry-linked funding – around AU$15.5 million of the $86 million total, by The Register's reckoning*. The total $86.9 million of government funding announced by education minister Chris Pyne will be overmatched by nearly …

GhostShell back from the other side with mass data dump

The GhostShell hacker group is back in the headlines with a more mass dumps of data from poorly-secured sites. While Symantec says there's no particular country or sector targeted in the latest campaign, the South China Morning Post says major Hong Kong universities are among the victims. “In keeping with its previous modus …
Handcuffs

Dutch MEP whacks Hacking Team over embargo-busting

The Hacking Team fallout continues, with Dutch member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake asking for a European Commission (EC) investigation into the outfit. Schaake wants the EC to decide whether Hacking Team broke various embargo rules by selling products to repressive regimes (she name-checks Azerbaijan, Bahrain, …
You can't shut me up, Jennifer Moo, Flickr, CC 2.0

US senate committee wants Twitter, Facebook to report 'terrorist' posts

America has inched another step towards privatising some of its snooping to Internet companies. While it's far from a fait accompli, the US Senate Security Committee has approved the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2015-2016. That bill, controversially, includes a stipulation that companies like Facebook and Twitter must …

Cisco plays Victor Kiam to MaintenanceNet's Remington

Long-time Cisco US supplier MaintenanceNet has been assimilated, to help The Borg digitise its business processes. The acqui-hire's US$139 million price tag includes both cash and “retention incentives”, Cisco's Debbie Dunham says in the post announcing the transaction. Dunham, senior veep for Global Customer Success, writes …

KILL FLASH WITH FIRE until a patch comes: Hacking Team exploit is in the wild

So it's confirmed: the Adobe Flash vulnerability revealed in the Hacking Team hack is out in the wild being used, and there's no patch yet. Flash users beware! Two sources, Malwarebytes and Malware Don't Need Coffee, have documented updates to the Neutrino exploit kit and Angler exploit kit, respectively. Both kits, which are …
Ceres' bright spots  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Dawn falling late: NASA's other glitch of the week

While the world was distracted by New Horizons' brief woes, NASA also had to put its Dawn spacecraft into a holding pattern to work out a software glitch. Dawn, which is fascinating the world with its shots of Ceres – and exciting boffins and conspiracists alike with its shots of the dwarf planet's bright spots, is currently …
What Facebook's Fort Worth DC will look like

Facebook vows to blow EVEN HARDER

It seems Facebook's experience with wind power has been good enough for the personalised ads giant to come back for more. The company's west region director of data centre operations Ken Patchett announced that Facebook's next data centre will land in Fort Worth, Texas, and will mimic its Iowa bit-barn by using 100 per cent …
Google's DeepStereo

Google's new view of the world takes two pics to make 'DeepStereo' 3D

Video StreetView means Google owns one of the world's larger photo albums, so it's natural for Google to want to create a realistic 3D rendering of the world. That's the aim of a new bit of boffinry from the Chocolate Factory called DeepStereo. As the group led by Googler John Flynn explain in this Arxiv paper, they found existing …

Google yanks fake Android battery monitor

Zscaler has spoiled someone's app-spoofing sting, discovering a fake battery monitor app on Google Play. Worryingly, the spoof app seems to have gotten past Google's self-lauded Bouncer app vetting system. The company reckons the malicious version of the BatteryBot battery indicator app was probably trying to put together an …
Samsung Galaxy S6

The sad song Samsung's sung: SEVENTH quarterly fail in a row

Samsung has warned the market that it's going to miss its previous earnings guidance for the April-June quarter. It will be the Korean goliath's seventh successive quarter of decline in year-on-year terms. The original guidance of 7.2 trillion won (US$6.38 billion) has been downgraded to a forecast 6.9 terawon ($6.13 billion …
White boxes

Cisco slings simoleons at software-defined networking biz 6Wind

As the John Chambers and Chuck Robbins worldwide roadshow grinds on, Cisco has dipped another tentative toe in the dangerous waters of bare metal switching, with an investment in Parisian software vendor 6Wind. 6Wind's key offering, the 6WINDGate packet processing software, is pitched at the bare metal market. The company name …

TPP partners plot milder copyright takedown rules

A leaked copy of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating text from May seems to show the US trying to mollify the other countries finagling over the deal. The leak, obtained by Politico, isn't yet posted anywhere, but the Electronic Frontiers Foundation reckons the newly-revealed draft shows America is backing away from a …
DMC3 spacecraft under assembly

Look! Up in the sky! Five Brit satellites on one Indian rocket!

The UK is entrusting a bunch of earth observation satellites to India's burgeoning space program. Three DMC3 optical observation satellites, along with a couple of other payloads, will be hoisted on July 10 by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). It's the thirtieth mission for the PSLV, and also the heaviest. The …
Memcomputer setup for a Fourier Transform

Boffins demo 'memcomputer', plot von Neumann's retirement

Shuffling stuff between memory and the CPU is one of the biggest wasters of time and electricity inside, so boffins from the University of California, San Diego, have demonstrated a prototype “memcomputer” that has memory and compute in the same place. The memcomputer concept has been around since the 1970s, as noted by …
padlock

US dominates net-security patents, China, Canada and Oz on the advance

The US, China, Canada and Australia are the world's major sources of security patents, according to analysis by LexInnova. The company issued a report on Friday looking at the market for security patent licensing. It'll come as no surprise that Cisco is the 800-pound gorilla of the security game with 6,442 patents (followed …

Argentina finds messenger to shoot after e-vote vuln allegations

Argentinian police have reportedly raided a programmer who went public with vulnerabilities in the electronic voting system used in Buenos Aires elections last June. Joaquín Sorianello has told La Nacion that police raided both his home and that of a friend, looking for computers and storage devices. Argentina's e-voting …
Australian attorney general George Brandis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Australian government mulls secret terror court proposals

The Australian government is taste-testing new anti-terrorism proposals to give police access to information gathered by its spook agencies. Dropped to the Murdoch press over the weekend, the idea is to create secret courts to look at information from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and other security …
The new Pirate Bay logo

US Feds investigating Prenda Law, say Pirate Bay co-founders

It looks like there's more trouble approaching for the notorious copyright trolls, formerly of Prenda Law. TorrentFreak says the FBI is taking a more active interest in the operation, saying that Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij were questioned about Prenda's notorious “honeypot” operation while they were in prison. …
NBN logo

iiNet warns NBN circuits too expensive in the Netflix era

iiNet reckons the runaway success of Netflix in Australia is going to put the National Broadband Network pricing model under pressure. The problem is that the prices retailers pay the network company nbnTM is heavily influenced by download volumes. Backhaul from nbnTM points of interconnect back to a retail service provider ( …
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

WHY did NASA probe go suddenly SILENT - JUST as it was about to send pics of remote ice-world?

NASA's New Horizons probe – due to soar past the remote, icy dwarf planet Pluto 10 days from now – gave its handlers a brief fright yesterday by going silent at an inopportune juncture. Fortunately, contact was re-established after around 80 minutes. NASA added that the spacecraft remained "healthy" despite the anomaly. NASA …
Hubble image compared to SMACK simulation

NASA invents super-SMACK, hallucinates WHOLE STAR SYSTEMS

video Beta Pictoris, a research favourite among astro-boffins since the discovery of its bright debris-and-dust disk in 1984, has yielded new wonders in a NASA supercomputer simulation. The debris disk, Goddard astrophysicist Marc Kuchner explains, has what looks to be a warp in long wavelengths, but looks like an X in shorter …
Troll. Pic:  Anna Bialkowska

With Hobbit and LoTR in the can, Trolls no longer welcome in New Zealand

New Zealand has become the latest country to think bad online manners are amenable to legislation. The country last night passed a controversial bill, the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, in the hope of stemming “cyber-bullying”. The bill creates a regime under which digital communications causing “serious emotional …
SMS inventor Matti Makkonen

Vale Matti Makkonen, SMS dreamer

Matti Makkonen, a figure widely held to have influenced the development of SMS, has died at the relatively young age of 63. According to BT, it took some years for Makkonen's pitch to Finland's Telecoms and Postal agency in 1984 to become a reality in 1992. It took even longer for SMS to really hit its straps, because carriers …
NBN Co fixed wireless antenna

While city slickers argue about the NBN, rural retailers are smiling

While debate continues in Australian cities about the technology employed to build Australia's national broadband network (NBN), a regional specialist reckons things are on the improve beyond the sandstone curtain. Tony Bundrock, CEO of NBN satellite and wireless retail service provider (RSP) Activ8me, told Vulture South the …
Archer cracks the ISIS mainframe's password

Small change to Medium takes large axe to passwords

Let's file this under “what could possibly go wrong?”: blogging platform Medium has decided to skip passwords in favour of a one-time-pad* single-use-token approach. If you're a cool kid who doesn't mind your credentials being shared, you can still sign in with Twitter or Facebook, but there still exist Luddites who want to use …
White House, by Tom Lohdan, Flickr, CC2.0

Former L0pht man 'Mudge' leaves Google for Washington

Mudge, a once-feared and now-respected member of the "L0pht" hacker collective, is headed to Washington to set up a software version of Underwriters' Laboratory. While it's not yet clear exactly how the once-famed L0pht member, real name Peiter Zatko, will approach the “CyberUL” (as he put it in the Tweet announcing the move), …

Wallet wafting into the Cloud? Amazon hears your pain

It's really cheap to spin up a single VM in a cloud like the one operated by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The burn comes when that VM goes live, starts to clock up some usage, spawns an extra CPU or four and starts to suck in and spew out data. At that point you'll also need a cloudy load balancer and firewall. And not long …