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Richard Chirgwin

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Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

As air and sea searches continue to try and identify and retrieve wreckage from Malaysia Airlines MH370's presumed crash site in the southern Indian Ocean, Inmarsat has briefed Reuters on how it estimated the path the flight took. Since relatively early in the search for the flight, reference has been made to the seven “pings” …

Banks lob sueball at Trustwave, Target over breach

A group of banks has filed a class action lawsuit against Target over its recent data breach, and has named security company Trustwave as a co-defendant. The late-2013 security breach resulted in at least 40 million customers' credit cards being compromised, after a Maryland contractor's systems provided a bridge into the retail …

IBM Boffins KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, thanks to Twitter

If you thought refraining from geotagging your Tweets or photos was enough to keep your secrets from the world at large, think again: IBM researchers say a Twitter user's primary location can be inferred from their behaviour, with accuracy as high as 68 per cent. In this paper at Arxiv, Jalal Mahmud, Jeffrey Nichols and Clemens …
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Palo Alto Networks splashes $US200 million on Cyvera

Palo Alto Networks has announced that it's buying Tel Aviv-based Cyvera for $US200 million, including $US88 million in cash. The attraction is the Israeli company's TRAPS (Targeted Remote Attack Prevention System), an endpoint protection system for Windows machines, which PAN will add to its existing firewall and cloud security …

Another day, another nasty Android vuln

The security researcher who last year sucked thousands of IDs out of Apple's Developer Centre site has turned his gaze onto Android and turned up a bug that Trend Micro says is exploitable. According to Ibrahim Balic, the bug causes memory corruption on Android 4.2.2 , 4.3 and 2.3 at least, but he suspects all Android versions …
IIA Logo

Australia's Internet Industry Association winds self up

Australia's Internet Industry Association is handing its members and regulatory functions to the Communications Alliance and will be wound up. The IIA has suffered erosion of its membership base over recent years, amid a flurry of mergers among Australia's tier-two telcos, and chairman Patric Fair has written to members to say …

EXPOSED: bizarre quantum sibling LOVE TRIANGLE

University of Waterloo boffins have demonstrated a three-way quantum entanglement that shows quantum non-locality can work with more than two particles.* The regulars of quantum physics, Bob and Alice, and the interloper Charlie, had an appropriately trailer-trash setting, but alas saw precious little one-on-one photon action …
Cisco's Chris Young

Interview: Cisco's security supremo on the Internet of Everything

Among his many responsibilities, Chris Young is the Cisco executive charged with leading its security challenge. Last week at Cisco Live! Australia, Vulture South talked to Young about securing the Internet of Everything. El Reg:Cisco has put a $19 trillion value on the Internet of Things: how do we stop it becoming a $19 …

Queensland cops collar League of Legends 'hacker'

A Queensland man has been arrested, accused of hacking League of Legends and selling player data online. According to Queensland Police the 21-year-old, identified by News Limited as Shane Duffy of Kingaroy, unlawfully accessed Riot's network, databases and files, and hijacked the company's Twitter account. The police say they …
HMSMobile Swine Flu Center iPhone app

Google flu-finding service diagnosed with 'big data hubris'

A paper in Science claims that Google Flu Trends, unveiled back in 2008 to become a poster-child of Big Data, has one teeny, tiny, fatal flaw: it's almost always wrong. The paper – abstract here – finds that not only did Flu Trends completely miss the 2009 swine flu, but for 100 of the 108 weeks since 2011, Google's predictions …
Evil Android

Android update process gives malware a leg-up to evil: Indiana U

Researchers from Indiana University Bloomington have tagged a vulnerability in the way Android handles updates, which they say puts practically every Android device at risk of malicious software. As ThreatPost explains, the vulnerability uses the update process to “ramp up the permissions given to malicious apps once Android is …

Keep your quinoa, hipsters: Boffins back healthy slabs of choc

And there was great rejoicing: scientists researching dark chocolate have identified something even better than a vague correlation between deliciousness and health. Boffins from Louisiana State University have identified the mechanisms that turn chocolate into heart-healthy compounds. The research, presented to a meeting of …
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Google, Microsoft tackle climate change as IBM seeks cancer cure

Three of the technology industry's largest companies today harnessed their resources to some Big Problems. Google and Microsoft have both signed up to US president Barack Obama's new Climate Data Initiative, an effort aimed at “bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the …
The 2010 baseline map of Australia’s soil organic carbon stocks showing the national and state and territory estimates and their uncertainty range.

CSIRO breaks Australia into 90m x 90m grid to map soil carbon

CSIRO has published what probably amounts to one of the largest datasets ever assembled in Australia: an assessment of organic soil carbon on a 90 metre x 90 metre grid, nationwide. It'll hardly surprise anyone that it's taken four years to get the data ready for release. The 2010 organic soil carbon map includes around two …

Australia's 'repeal day' de-regulated SPOOKS

Australia's government yesterday declared that it will stage a "repeal day" next week, a day of Parliamentary proceedings largely given over to sweeping aside legislation said to be obsolete, idle, and/or superseded by newer laws. The exercise is largely political: the government got to put some big numbers in its press releases …

SPEC puts forward benchmark for accelerated supers

SPEC – the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation – is pimping a new set of benchmarks it says will help HPC users get the most out of their hardware-accelerated systems. The “new benchmark suite that measures the performance of systems using hardware accelerator devices and supporting software”, SPEC ACCEL 1.0, comprises …
ANU student with quantum comms apparatus

'Software amplifier' boosts quantum signals

Even in quantum communications, adjusting the parameters of Shannon's Theorem can help improve reach and range. A group of Australian National University (ANU) researchers has found a way to extend the reach of quantum communications by improving the signal-to-noise ratio of quantum systems. Their work, published in Nature …
Cisco Google screengrab

WebEx gets shiny Chromebook look

Cisco and Google have agreed to play nice in the enterprise, with the two deciding to collaborate to put the WebEx collaboration service on Chromebook machines. Cisco's Rowan Trollope, senior veep and general manager for the Collaboration Technology Group, made the announcement along with Google's Rajen Sheth at Enterprise …
Lunch with the ex

Apple patent will see Siri remind you to keep taking your meds

A recently-granted Apple patent seems to lay out some of Cupertino's thinking about the future of Siri and the Internet of Things: and it's spooky. Essentially, Apple sees the device you carry as acting as the interface between wetware like you and me, and the Internet of Things, represented by sensors in the home or office. …
Long-exposure Hubble Space Telescope image of massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744 (foreground) and some of the faintest and youngest galaxies ever detected in space.

WTF is … the multiverse?

Along with the general excitement surrounding the announcement that astrophysicists may have found a way to confirm the “cosmic inflation” model of the early universe came a keen sub-debate: does this result imply we live in just one universe of a so-called “multiverse”. The Register doesn't have the requisite competency in …

Surrender your crypto keys or you're off to chokey, says Australia

Australia's Attorney-General's department has floated a plan that would allow national security agencies to seize citizens' crypto keys. The AG's submission to the Senate inquiry into telecommunications interception outlines the plan, saying that the moves are necessary because new telecommunications technologies are "providing …
Red Hat Shadowman logo

Red Hat plans unified security management for Fedora 21

Red Hat is planning a significant change to how its Fedora Linux distribution handles crypto policy, to ship with the due-in-late-2014 Fedora 21 release. In this wiki post, the Fedora Project outlines what it calls “system-wide crypto policy”. The idea is that Fedora would provide consistent security for all applications running …

Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

Canonical boss Mark Shuttleworth has called on the world to abandon proprietary firmware code, calling all such code “a threat vector”. In this blog post, Shuttleworth makes the case that manufacturers are simply too incompetent, and attackers (including government security agencies) too competent, for security-by-obscurity in …
Bitcoin bloodbath

Bitcoin bust litigants fling sueballs at Japanese bank

A major Japanese bank has now been swept up in the collapse of Bitcoin trader Mt Gox, with Mizuho Bank named as a defendant in one of the many lawsuits cropping up over the collapse. The bank has been added to a lawsuit against Mt Gox, since by providing services to the former Magic-the-Gathering card trading operation, the …
The SuperKamiokande neutrino detector during construction

Earth's night-side gets different kinds of neutrinos from day-side

A Japanese neutrino detector has provided experimental evidence for a prediction first made in the 1980s: that passing through something good and massive – like the Earth – will influence the flavour of neutrinos. Analysing 18-years' worth of data collected by subterannean neutrino detector SuperKamiokande has shown that the …

IBM: We gave NOTHING to the NSA, stateside or elsewhere

IBM has become the latest of the tech giants to deny handing over customer data to the NSA's PRISM program. In this open letter, Big Blue's general counsel Robert Weber (also senior veep for legal and regulatory affairs) gives the “no way” message to the world at large. Specifically, Weber writes that IBM did not provide “ …

iOS 7's weak random number generator stuns kernel security – claim

In an effort to improve iDevice security, Apple replaced its internal random number generator between iOS 6 and iOS 7 – but a security researcher believes Cupertino inadvertently downgraded security. The issue is outlined here by Azimuth Security, whose Tarjei Mandt also detailed the issue at last week's CanSecWest conference in …
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ACCC to target price comparison websites

Consumer affairs regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it's stepping up its consumer oversight in the telecommunications sector and on the Internet, while outlining its priorities for 2014. Of particular interest to Australian Internet users will be a continuing watch over misleading …
Suitcase bulging with cash

Cisco pursuing bribery investigation in FSU countries

Cisco is investigating the probity of unnamed resellers in Russia and other former Soviet Union countries, to determine whether or not it could be exposed to violations of US anti-bribery laws. The company first discussed the allegations in this December 23 blog post, which went under the radar in the lead-up to Christmas. The …
Copper, before and after graphene

Tiny heat-sucker helps keep Moore's Law going

Adding graphene to copper can improve its heat-conducting properties – and that's good news for electronics developers. One of the barriers to the continuing shrinking of electronics is that as you pack more features into a smaller space, you also pack more heat into that space. That makes heat a hurdle standing in the way of …
SKA antennas close-up - artist's impression

Square-kilometre radio telescope wins millions in UK funding

UK science minister David Willetts has announced £11m of funding to help the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) process the expected deluge of data it will produce. Handling the expected 915-petabyte daily data firehose from the entire SKA radio telescope will require advances in practically every computing discipline: the data will …
The CUDOS silicon waveguide

Soliton makes its way across silicon in CUDOS experiment

On-chip photonic interconnects are a step closer, with a successful demonstration of soliton compression in silicon from Australia's CUDOS research centre. In a Nature Communications report, a team from CUDOS demonstrates that solitons can be both observed and harnessed in silicon-based photonic systems. Solitons in fibre optic …
bug on keyboard

Joomla issues upgrade to patch critical SQL vuln

Joomla's developers have moved to fix a critical SQL injection vulnerability – but are coming under fire for taking a month to address the issue. The version 3.2.3 update, available since late last week, is described by Joomla as fixing a high priority core SQL injection bug (along with two medium priority XSS bugs and an …
Code snippet WhatsApp vuln

WhatsApp chats not as secret as you think

Mark Zuckerberg's $19bn darling, WhatsApp, isn't as secure as we thought: a Dutch researcher has found that chats can be accessed and read by other apps. Bas Bosschert has described a process by which the chat database can be read even if it's encrypted. His proof-of-concept, here, runs through the process. Here's the short …
HR 5171 binary star

Forget superstars, this HYPERGIANT star is 1,300 times the size of OUR SUN

Sixty years of professional and amateur observations have turned up a new surprise in the constellation of Centaur: a huge, heavy and bright monster that's the largest yellow star ever seen. The hypergiant, HR 5171 A, has impressive vital statistics: the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope Interferometer team …
The micro-engine

Boffins demo FIVE MICRON internal combustion engine

Don't tell fans of big motors, but someone's just created an internal combustion engine of just five cubic microns, burning hydrogen and oxygen. Getting an engine that small isn't easy. As the researchers, led by the Netherlands' University of Twente's Vitaly Svetovoy, explain in their Nature paper, even the mechanism by which …
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Juniper jury sinks Palo Alto Networks case, for now

Juniper Networks' patent case against Palo Alto Networks is in abeyance for now, after a US judge declared a mistrial because the jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict. The case was over US patents 8,077,723, 7,779,459, 7,650,634, 7,302,700, 7,093,280 and 6,772,347, which Juniper said PAN was infringing. PAN was founded by …
Orange Credit Card

Protect data by deleting it: Ground Labs

Getting rid of unnecessary copies of private data will help companies comply with Australia's new privacy laws, says Ground Labs, which is pitching a data discovery tool to lend a hand. Speaking to The Register ahead of the launch, Ground Labs' Stephen Cavey said the problem is that there's always going to be some kind of attack …
Turnbull with Switkowski in Blacktown

Cherry-pick undermines NBN business case: Switkowski

NBN Co chief Ziggy Switkowski has told a Senate committee that “cherry-picking” network rollouts planned by TPG and mooted by Telstra do, indeed, pose a threat to its own business model. TPG Internet stated last year that it wanted to extent its metro fibre networks to residential apartment basements, using existing copper to …
Disney's Beagle Boys

Academic blames US for tech titans' tax dodge

We already know that tech giants are good at keeping money out of reach of tax authorities. Now, an Australian academic has laid the blame for the problem squarely at the feet of the US government. Writing at The Conversation, Antony Ting, whose analysis suggested that Apple had skipped billions in tax in Australia alone via an …

NBN backbone passes TERABIT test

US systems vendor Coriant has announced a successful test of a backbone fibre “superchannel” running at 1 Terabit per second over a 1,066-km NBN fibre ring in the south-east Queensland city of Towoomba. While the test won't have any particular impact on consumer-side services, it restates the long-term upgrade path of the NBN's …

Indonesia plans 10 Gbps FTTP as part of 20-million-premises broadband project

Indonesia is the latest country to announce a mass deployment of fibre-to-the-home, and has tapped Alcatel-Lucent for the rollout. During February, Telkom Akses (the infrastructure arm of incumbent Telkom) declared 2014 the year it will “build greatness”, and on March 7, it stated (Google translation) a target of passing 20 …
Caltech's phased array chip

Projector on a smartphone? There's a chip for that

Caltech researchers have demonstrated a chip they hope will one day let smartphones act as projectors. Instead of the light sources, image and lenses needed for a traditional projector, the Caltech chip uses an optical phased array (OPA) to create a projected image from a single laser diode – along the way eliminating the need …
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Samsung narrows counter-claim against Apple in US

Samsung has trimmed some of its claims in its never-ending lawsuit with Apple, removing two standards-essential patents and one other from its complaint. In this filing to the US District Court, the two companies have agreed that the following Samsung patents will be removed from the case: US patent 7,756,087, which covers …

NEC, Alca-Lu win Sea-Me-We 5 build contracts

NEC and Alcatel-Lucent are to divvy up the planned Sea-Me-We 5 submarine cable build. The cable's consortium has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of build contracts for the anticipated 2016 switch-on. The new 20,000-km cable is planned to run from Singapore to France via the Middle East, and will have a design …

Cameron pitches UK-Germany 5G collaboration to Cebit

UK prime minister David Cameron has used a speech at the CeBit trade show to announce a UK-Germany collaboration to try and win the race to develop so-called 5G wireless technology. Presumably stung by the way Asian giants like Samsung are stealing the 5G pixie-dust-and-unicorn-wind headline race, Cameron told Cebit that 5G is a …
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Court allows EFF to keep donor list secret from patent troll

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation in America has won a smackdown against a patent troll that was demanding names of donors to a campaign against its patents. The battle began last year, when the EFF began a campaign against patents that Personal Audio has been using to try and take ownership of podcasting. Personal Audio has …
Taking a turn on the Airmec sine wave signal generator

Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap

Decades of performing may have left Neil Young somewhat shy of the hearing of a 20-year-old, but the poor quality of MP3 still irritates the crazy horse enough to try and do something about it. Meet PonoMusic, which Young hopes will “unleash” all the unheard detail that MP3 (or even, if you believe what's on the company's site, …
Bitcoin bloodbath

Mt Gox fielded MASSIVE DDOS attack before collapse

A Japanese newspaper is reporting that during the spectacular collapse of the Mt Gox Bitcoin exchange, the operation's servers were also suffering a large-scale DDOS attack. The Yomiuri Shimbun's English-language Japan News reports that the attacks in early February reached 150,000 DDOS hits per second, “mostly from servers in …
EOS Facility at Mt Stromolo

Space-junk RAYGUN wins Australian government funding

A proposal to use lasers to clean up space junk is a step closer to reality, courtesy of $AUD20 million of Australian government funding. Led by EOS Space Systems (based at Australia's Mount Stromlo, home of one of the country's major observatories), the collaborators will start small, developing lasers that are able to identify …