Richard Chirgwin

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'Sunspots drive climate change' theory is result of ancient error

A bunch of boffins has completed the first-ever revision of the world's most important sunspot data repository, along the way challenging the theory that climate change is substantially attributable to the prevalence of sunspots. It turns out, in fact, that the pro-sunspots argument relies on a statistical artefact introduced …

Arista bullish for full year results after 47 per cent YoY growth in Q2

High-performance data centre switching upstart (and Cisco litigation target) Arista Networks has reported 47 per cent revenue growth year-on-year for the quarter ended June 30. The company's financial release says it recorded US$195.6 of revenue, and a GAAP net income of $24 million (up from $21.6 million for the corresponding …

Tesla still burning cash: each car loses $4,000

Whatever its utility, Tesla's robo-charger video did one thing for the company: it distracted attention from the company's latest financial reports. Outlets like Reuters aren't impressed, with this report noting that Elon Musk's baby “burned US$359 million in cash last quarter in a bull market for luxury vehicles”. Tesla's …

Ubiquiti stung US$46.7 million in e-mail spoofing fraud

Ubiquiti Networks has been defrauded of more than US$46 million by scammers who spoofed its communications. The heist was revealed in an SEC Form 8-K filing. Apart from the financial information, details are scant. The San Jose company says: “The incident involved employee impersonation and fraudulent requests from an outside …
Malcolm Turnbull from ITU pictures flickr feed https://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/

Australia: your real comms minister is George Brandis

Australia's tech sector could be forgiven for regretting the welcomes it gave Malcolm Turnbull to the communications ministry in 2013. The Attorney-General's Department, in fact, seems to exercise more effective ministerial control over the telecommunications industry than its own minister. In 2013 it was argued that Turnbull …

Redmond boost bug bounty payouts again

Microsoft's joined the growing list of vendors trying to compete with black-hat and spook vulnerability-buyers by doubling some of its reward offerings to $100,000. With Windows 10 now on user machines (and already receiving both a security patch and criticism over its Wi-Fi defaults), Redmond's used BlackHat USA 2015 to …

Investors cheer as SGI loses LESS than expected

SGI has pleased financial markets by losing significantly less for Q4 2015 than prognosticators had seen in their crystal balls. By turning a net loss of US$0.12 per share for the quarter (total of $4 million, non-GAPP, the iron-monger beat estimates of a much words $0.20 per share net loss (which would have amounted to $6.67 …
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Net config too SLOW for clouds, says Fujitsu

When tens of seconds is too slow: Fujitsu is getting ready to launch a technology it says can create virtual networks for Linux containers in a second. Being readied for the Asia-Pacific Network Operations and Management Symposium in South Korea later this month, the technology is designed to address the mis-match between how …
ESA Rosetta history

Happy birthday! Rosetta starts second year around comet

More than a decade after its launch, the spacecraft Rosetta reached Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and as it approaches perihelion with the Sun, the ESA is celebrating a year since Rosetta reached its target. As we well know, rendezvous wasn't without incident: instead of dropping neatly on the surface of 67P, the mission's …
Imperva switcher attack illustration

Imperva demos cloudy man-in-the-middle attack

Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Box can be raided via a man-in-the-middle attack, without an attacker needing access to users' plaintext credentials, according to security bods at Imperva. Instead, in this paper [PDF] presented to BlackHat, the company's Application Defense Center says users' local sync folders serve just …
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Red Hat updates OpenStack suite

Red Hat has wrapped the April 30 “Kilo” release of OpenStack into its enterprise suite, which has just gone general-availability. Two years into its OpenStack effort, the company says version 7 of its platform includes improvements to deployment and management, high-availability support, security control, network flexibility …

Wordpress issues second urgent patch in two weeks

Weary Wordpress worker-bees are being asked to hit the "Update" button again. Just a couple of weeks after an XSS vulnerability forced a July 24th call to upgrade to Wordpress 4.2.3, a handy collection of vulns mean it's time to run in version 4.2.4. At least Wordpress has an easy upgrade mechanism. The new vulnerabilities …
Gavel

Alcatel-Lucent pays $10 million to Costa Rica's ICE over old bribery scandal

Alcatel-Lucent has come a step closer to ruling a line under its long-standing South American bribery scandal. According to The Tico Times, the company has agreed to a US$10 million settlement with the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE). The June 8 decision was announced by ICE on July 30. Alca-Lu had made a payment of $ …

Fancy 10 Gbps home broadband? Broadcom's built the guts of it

While network operators around the world squeeze the last drops of sweat out of their copper, silicon vendors like Broadcom have an eye firmly on a fibre future. The company, currently in the throes of a takeover by Avago technologies, has announced a reference design to help its OEMs build kit to the emerging Ethernet Passive …

White hat finds vulnerability in white box switches

Black Hat 2015 The Open Networking Install Environment (ONIE) provides a gateway for black hats to compromise software-defined network (SDN) environments, says a white hat presenter at this week's BlackHat USA 2015. The problem, according to Hellfire Security's Gregory Pickett, is that it's too easy for an attacker with root access to the …

Google's Moto-v-Microsoft appeal denied

A US appeals court has said that yes, Motorola/Google had chased Microsoft in bad faith over WiFi patents and that the Chocolate Factory still owes Redmond US$14 million. In among the mass of messy patent litigation of recent years was a suit that saw Motorola sue over how much Microsoft should be paying it for using WiFi and …
Tilted nanomagnets image from UC Berkeley

Boffins turned off by silicon switch to TILTING MAGNETS

Solid state memory is already a viable technology at a decent scale, but it's hard to make it small enough to replace hard drives. However, researchers at the University of California Berkeley are taking a different angle: they would like to shrink high density storage to a size that puts it onto ICs. Their aim is twofold: to …
Just near Cassiopeia: HD 219134

Nearby exoplanets circle naked-eye-visible star

Just a couple of weeks after NASA announced the “Earth twin” (that might not be), astronomers working at the Italian-operated HARPS-N spectrograph have turned up four exoplanets just 21 light-years distant. Even better, for those who like picking out stars but lack access to the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo at the Roque de los …

Bound to happen: BIND bug exploits now in the wild

Security bods are nagging anyone running BIND to install last week's patch, as active exploits have started to appear in the wild. That information comes from Sucuri's Daniel Cid, who writes that "attacks have begun," based on reports from the company's customers that they were experiencing DNS server crashes. The patch is …
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W3C's bright idea turned your battery into a SNITCH for websites

Website owners keen on tracking netizens, but thwarted by AdBlock or similar, could instead look at the battery charge in people's devices to identify them. How so? A feature the W3C added to HTML5 that lets a website interrogate the state of a visitor's battery. According to security boffins writing for the International …
Cray Research Cray 2

Q2 wins drag Cray back into profit territory

Cray Computer's commanding footprint in the high-performance computing (HPC) market has pitched the venerable vendor back into profitability. In its Q2 2015 results announced Thursday, the company reported US$186.2 million in revenue and $5.8 million in profit, both well above what was reported for the same period in 2014, …
facebook mobile ads

Axis of evil: Facebook uses Google code to slash page load times

Facebook has rolled out an open source project from Google to try and improve its ad-slinging performance on Android. After a six-month implementation of Google's FlatBuffers across its Android client, Facebook reckons it's slashed the time it takes to load stories from the disk cache “from 35ms to 4ms”, slashed transient …
Cow skull

Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations stalled until November

The controversial and secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have stalled once again. The treaty is being negotiated between a dozen Pacific rim nations and is thought to include harsh arrangements that would criminalise copyright breaches. That provision is less controversial, however, than the treaty itself as the …

Mt Gox's Mark Karpeles arrested in Japan

French-born Mark Karpeles, head of the failed Mt Gox Bitcoin exchange, has been arrested in Japan. The arrest comes eight months after Japanese police said they were confident the incident that saw most of the Bitcoin held by Mt Gox evaporate was the result of fraudulent transactions. Karpeles had previously claimed the lost …

Remote Queensland fibre hookup hopes dashed, for now

Remote communities in Queensland believe they've been dudded out of a promise to give them a connection to the long-haul fibre connections being built as part of Australia's National Broadband Network. Barcoo and Diamantina shires had wanted AU$7 million, part of the cost of extending the NBN's fibre footprint to their towns, …

IARPA: Come, quantum computing boffins. We've got cash for you

Nay-sayers may nay-say, but America's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) reckons research into quantum computing is advanced enough to warrant a five-year program to kick things along. It's kicked off what it the Logical Qubits (LogiQ) program here, and it's looking to fund work building current science …

SPUD – The IETF's anti-snooping protocol that will never be used

It's not often that someone crafts a protocol expecting to destroy it, but that's what Cisco distinguished engineer Joe Hildebrand and a bunch of other Internet architecture boffins are doing right now. When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden talked of a protocol called SPUD – Substrate Protocol for UDP Datagrams – it piqued the …
Arizona State U's white laser schematic

Boffins get the inside dope, craft white laser

Arizona State University researchers have crafted a white laser – a neat trick since “white” isn't a colour, but a mix of colours. To create a white LED lamp, for example, today's technologies need multiple colour LEDs blended together. Trying to fabricate a single light source that looks white is difficult, however, since …
China's FAST radio telescope

China announces petascale super for FAST radiotelescope

China is planning another petaflop supercomputer, this time to support what will by next year become the world's largest radiotelescope. The telescope itself, a 500 metre monster that's scooped into a hilltop in Guizhou, has been under construction since 2011. This week, engineers began installing the 4,450 panels that will …

Cisco IOS-XE update time: Squash that DoS bug

Bad error message handling has opened up Cisco's IOS-XE versions prior to 3.13S to a remote denial-of-service (DoS) attack. The company's threat advisory hints that the exploit was brought to Cisco's attention by an independent researcher, since it states that "functional exploit code exists; however, the code is not known to …
DATA RETENTION Guidelines for Service Providers

Telcos given a breather to meet Oz metadata retention laws

Australian telcos' complaints about the government's rushed data retention implementation schedule have borne fruit, with the Attorney General's Department offering a deadline extension. Communications Day reports that the offer of a maximum 18-month extension for full compliance was made in a letter sent to members of the …
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A hybrid upstart trying to sink its fangs into Docker: Apcera

Interview With Apcera's new chief architect for security Jim Reno, formerly of CA Technologies, bedded down in his role, the company's taking aim at one of Docker's in-room elephants. The Register talks to CEO Derek Collison about how IT shops can trust what's in Docker containers. Collison told The Register's networking desk that while …
Gartner network hype cycle 2015

SDN hits rock bottom and FCoE is obsolete, say Gartner mages

Fibre channel over Ethernet is obsolete and software-defined networking is making users grumpy rather than delivering promised benefits, according to the new networking version of Gartner's Hype Cycle. The document reckons Wi-Fi's next variant, 802.11ac Wave 2, is just half-way up Gartner's famed hype curve, but Wave 1 and 802 …
Duke University's quantum 90GHz light emitter

Just a quickie, then: Boffins' 11 picosecond spontaneous emission

Boffins from Duke University reckon they've cracked one of the problems that holds back optical computing, with a tiny and very low-powered high-speed-switchable light source. Silicon photonics is making strides to replace copper for communications between chips – both Intel and IBM are on the bandwagon. However, within the …
Arrow screenshot

Microsoft's Arrow brings pane to Androids

For reasons El Reg doesn't quite understand, Microsoft has decided that the one thing missing from the Android user's life is the Windows phone app launcher experience. Seeking to save Android users from themselves, Redmond has accordingly posted this “garage” project (ie, after-hours coding or "get your staff to create test- …
Silhouette of spy discerning password from code uses a command on graphic user interface

Australian Cyber Security Centre uses discredited data to quantify infosec threats

The cost of “cyber attacks” in Australia appears to be stabilising and the country has never been subject to an attack at the national scale, but the government's Cyber ForceTM (not its real name) is still pitching the growth of the threat. Along the way, an old and somewhat exaggerated estimate of the cost of cyber incidents …
FASTER cable route

60Tbps internet cable from Asia to America will plug into Telx barn

US data center outfit Telx, target of a takeover bid by Digital Realty, has gone offshore for the first time, joining the Google-backed FASTER submarine cable consortium. Telx's Hillsboro server barn in Oregon, US, will be the termination point for an undersea cable that will link the Pacific Northwest to Asia. The fiber-optic …

Puppet draws back the curtain on devops magic with funky gfx and UI

“Less magic, more visibility” is what Puppet Labs reckons devops devotees need. Announcing the company's Puppet Enterprise 2015.2, the company's director of marketing communications Tim Zonca told The Register the rapid turnaround ideal of the devops world has a trust problem that the new code is trying to address. Someone …
NASA's Wi-Fi reflection chip

Wi-Fi 'reflector' hooks you up at 0.1 per cent of current power budget

By using absorption and reflection to indicate data states, NASA reckons it's created a Wi-Fi device for the wearable market that uses just 0.1 per cent of the power of ordinary transceivers. Working with Frank Chang at Caltech UCLA, the JPL boffin Adrian Tang is keen on ways to let devices with relatively low communications …
Honeywell Tuxedo Touch

SOHOpeless: Security stains on Honeywell's Tuxedo home automator

Honeywell has issued an urgent firmware update for its three-year-old Tuxedo Touch home automation controller to patch vulnerabilities that could, among other things, let an attacker unlock users' deadlocks. This CERT advisory explains that without the firmware upgrade, all users are vulnerable to authentication bypass and …
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Buy a Tesla for the good of Australia, say country's dino-burners

Australia's energy industry, overwhelmingly dominated by the burning of dinosaurs, has decided the country needs more electric vehicles (EVs). Facing something of a crisis in demand, with renewables (particularly solar power) severely denting the lavish margins wholesalers formerly expected during daytime peaks, the Energy …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Software spec slip denies Westpac chance at a MILLION A DAY

Some of Australia's major banks' databases don't distinguish between loans to housing investors and owner-occupiers, meaning they're missing out on the chance to charge differential interest rates. Along the way, they're providing an object lesson to businesses that depend on IT: if you don't ask for a capability, you won't …
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Gamers Steaming over dumb Valve password vuln

Over the weekend, game publisher Valve patched a vulnerability that let user accounts have their passwords reset without proper validation. UK gamer Elm Hoe demonstrated the simple attack in the YouTube video below. Youtube Video In case you don't have time to watch it, the coding error was simplicity in itself. After the …

AT&T: Sorry vendors, SDN is eating your lunch

In news that will chill purveyors of big networking iron, AT&T last week told its earnings call it reckons its software-defined network (SDN) rollout will cut its capital expenditure. While reports last week focussed on the company's revenue (US$33 billion for the second quarter), margins (36.3 per cent), and operating income …
White boxes

Software-defined what? Look at our glorious ASICs says Cisco

Cisco's taking up arms against a sea of white-box vendors, touting US$150 million worth of silicon in the form of an ASIC. What's interesting, however, is that the pitch – in this blog post – isn't about what's coming this year or next. The slab of silicon, which the Borg is calling the “Unified Access Dataplane” (UADP), …
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Australia to tax ALL international online purchases

Australia's treasurer Joe Hockey has hinted that the mooted changes to the way the country's Goods and Services Tax (GST) is collected may apply to anything purchased from overseas, regardless of value. After much lobbying from Australia's retail sector, the federal government last week reached agreement with the states that …
A Handful of Giant Weta by Mike Locke

Ubuntu defibrillates 14.10 for one LAST patch

Ubuntu has changed its mind on an end-of-life announcement, giving Version 14.10 one last kernel patch to cover off some big vulns. Usually, end-of-life means what it says: a version isn't going to get any more updates, and that was the status of Ubuntu 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn” (guys, it's time to rethink your naming conventions …
Dunce's cap graffiti by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lord-jim/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Oz opposition spraying perfume on metadata dead cat

The Australian Labor Party, which first conceived what ultimately became Australia's telecommunications data retention legislation and then, from opposition, waved the laws through, is having second third forth thoughts a pang of regret. Not that the opposition wants to overturn anything – nor could it, unless and until it …
You can't shut me up, Jennifer Moo, Flickr, CC 2.0

Optus tells Department of Comms to sit down and shut up

The relationship between the Australian government and the telco sector continues to deteriorate, with more carriers pushing back against Canberra's micro-management of their operations, with both industry regulation and security reforms as ongoing battlegrounds. Optus is the latest to raise its voice against the Department of …
Exit sign. Pic:  Lukas Kästner

Cisco exits set-top box biz, sheds US$1.8bn of revenue

Cisco's Connected Devices Division, a purveyor of set top boxen for service providers, is off to Europe having been acquired for €550 million / US$600 million by Technicolor. The French company, formerly Thomson (as most of its customer premises equipment/set-top boxes are branded), will take on the division first created by …