Richard Chirgwin

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Giant flower beetle with remote control

Boffins build Cyborg beetles, fly them by remote control

Video Scientists working at the edge of the creepy have demonstrated fine-grained remote control of critters known as giant flower beetles, with the idea that they could carry payloads into difficult places in activities like search and rescue. The boffins have shown off their test subjects being instructed to take off, turn and hover …

Pub O'clock probe finds thousands of repeated 512-bit RSA keys

Four researchers, a zmap scan and a Friday afternoon have shown that while sys admins are cleaning the FREAK bug out of their Web servers, broadband routers remain a perpetual feast. The boffins from Royal Holloway at the University of London – Martin Albrecht, Davide Papini, Kenneth Paterson and Ricardo Villanueva-Polanco – …
Mulder in The X-Files

SAP admits - shock! - it sells to governments, denies that means backdoors

SAP is wrapped up in possibly the silliest conspiracy theorising The Register has seen yet, issuing an angry denial that having sold software to government agencies means it built backdoors into its products. Well – it's probably an angry denial, but it's phrased with the good manners of corporate PR. The kerfuffle began with …

BlackBerry joins the FREAK show

BlackBerry has joined the lengthening list of FREAKed-out vendors, publishing a list of currently-vulnerable software and promising fixes as soon as possible. The famous FREAK is the vulnerability that OpenSSL inherited from the 1990s, because America's rules at the time meant “export-grade” encryption was limited to a maximum …

Malcolm Turnbull proposes taxing Google and Facebook ads

Australia's Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has his eye on the revenues collected by multinational online ad platforms like Google. Apparently raising a white flag on the government stopping multinationals from shipping profits offshore to avoid tax, Turnbull has floated the idea of levying Australia's goods and …
Barbed wire against a clear blue sky

Dread Pirate Roberts' first mate Peter Nash faces life behind bars

Updated An Australian faces life behind bars in the USA after entering a guilty plea for his role in Ross Ulbricht's Silk Road operation. Peter Phillip Nash, who went by the tag “Samesamebutdifferent” on the online drug bazaar, put his hands up to narcotics and money laundering charges. Nash was arrested in the Australian city of …

Princeton boffins sniff Tor users' IDs from TCP ACKs and server sweat

Tor is regularly recommended as a vital privacy protection technology, and just as regularly, researchers discover ways to de-anonymise users, and the latest of these has just hit Arxiv. The research, led by boffins from Princeton, demonstrates ways to de-anonymise Tor users with access to just one end of a communication path, …
Facebook malware

Ow.ly plus AWS plus Box roped into worm-spreading spree

Users with a bent for nasty content and too much trust in shortened links are helping to spread a Facebook worm, according to researchers at Malwarebytes. Senior researcher Jérôme Segura has documented a Kilim-family worm that attracts users by promising smut with a link that's been shrunk by link-shortening service ow.ly. The …
Oracle frankenstein

Oracle adds secure-ish boot support to its Linux distro

Oracle has released a new secure-boot version of its Linux, but the new issuance is attracting criticism that it's not actually secure. The issue, according to a series of Tweets by Linux engineer Matthew Garrett, is that Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel supports kexec_load() and carries the same signature as the kernel …
padlock

Yahoo! spaffs! out! plugin! to! bring! crypto! to! everyone's! email!

Yahoo! has shown off an OpenPGP-based end-to-end e-mail encryption it says will be offered as a plug-in by the end of the year. Its aim is to make PGP-based encryption more accessible to the everyday layperson. Described in this blog post by Purple Palace chief information security officer Alex Stamos, the mail encryption code …
Zombie rising from the grave

Cisco FREAKs out, starts epic OpenSSL bug-splat

Cisco admins will be watching and waiting for fixes, with the company announcing that many of its OpenSSL implementations are carrying a bunch of post-POODLE fleas. The Borg has been looking over its kit and software since the OpenSSL project disclosed a bunch of vulns in January, and on March 10 detailed the impacts it's …
Blood image

Ericsson unplugs 2,200 more staff

Ericsson's move to focus on software is to hit another 2,200 jobs in Sweden, the telco vendor has announced. The cuts focus on roles in R&D and supply, the company's statement says, but admin and sales roles will also be affected, along with external consultants. The vendor says R&D remains important, but reducing the number of …

Alibaba hopes to roll net-connected car out of the cave

China's Alibaba and SAIC Motor Corp have decided the country needs to get its cars connected to the Internet, and have inked a $US160 million deal to get the ball wheels rolling. According to Reuters, the joint venture between the two will be worth a billion yuan, and targets 2016 as the launch date for the Middle Kingdom's …

NSW premier pitches 'digital licence' as election stunt

In the throes of an election campaign, the NSW Government has hit upon a way to guarantee that police can require people to unlock their phones: that's where Premier Mike Baird wants your driver's license to be. Pitched as a money-saving measure because today's printed-plastic licences cost tens of millions of dollars, the …

Bulgaria nixes 'metadata' law, Paraguay delays

Another data retention domino has fallen, with Bulgaria striking down its spooks'-charter laws as unconstitutional in a Constitutional Court challenge launched by that country's ombudsman. The Sofia Globe reports that the bulk collection mandated by the country's Electronic Communications Act have been struck down, with the full …
Broke - empty pockets

NBN Co says 'ante-up' to fibre applicants

Want to know if you can get fibre to the home instead of the node? It'll cost at least $300 just to ask the question, under a new “Technology Choice Policy” published by NBN Co. The former “network extension” policy (which let satellite users ask about fixed wireless upgrades, and fixed wireless areas ask about fibre) was made …
iiNet actor

iiNet to be scooped up by TPG for $1.4 billion

Competition in the Australian broadband market is about to take another step backwards in favour of consolidation, with TPG announcing it's going to buy iiNet. iiNet has long been a favourite of Australia's Internet users for doing battle with "big content" over its right to take piracy cases all the way to end users. It won the …
Turnbull with Switkowski in Blacktown

National Broadband Network names cable broadband trial sites

Three Queensland and one NSW locales will find out whether NBN Co's promise of downloads at 100 Mbps over hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) survives peak-hour traffic, after the company responsible for building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) announced trial sites of the delivery medium. In Queensland, Merrimac, Slacks Creek …

Juniper fights back against white-box world with high-performance silicon

Juniper is touting performance, performance, and more performance in its traditional annual strategy release – at the same time, it probably hopes, pouring cold water on the emerging world of white box players. The three planks of the strategy – routing, data centre switching, and firewalls – all claim significant lifts in …
2001: A Space Odyssey

Nest seeks audio talent to delight … someone

Google subsidiary Nest has decided the next thing to be Internet of Thinged is going to be the sound system, and wants to get there first. Shortly after irritating Dropcam users by telling them to create a Nest account – even if they don't own any Nest product – Nest has posted advertisements seeking someone to head up Nest …
Chameleon

SUSE gets more cloudy with OpenStack integration

SUSE has announced go-live for its latest IaaS private cloud offering, with a 60-day free evaluation to sweeten the deal. The once-SUSE Cloud, now SUSE OpenStack Cloud 5, uses the Juno release of OpenStack integrated with the outfit's SUSE Enterprise Storage and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12. Targeting private IaaS clouds, …
Broadcom's OpenNSL

Broadcom's Ram Velaga on OpenNSL and silicon

One of the reasons Facebook has been driving the Open Compute Project is to break the network switch market out of its long habit of being proprietary on the inside. Broadcom's decision to adopt the Open Network Switch Library (OpenNSL) is a big shift in that space, so The Register talked to Ram Velaga, senior VP of Broadcom's …
Dunce

Chief Scientist slams handcuffing research funds to uni reforms

There are faint hints that the Australia's federal government might reconsider the policy that ties future research funds to its attempt to deregulate university fees. At the same time, the Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has gone on the record to call the policy a serious problem for research. The faint scent of a change in policy …
Clouds in blue sky

Time to buy a new hat, cloud bods: Microsoft, Cisco stroll down the aisle again

Like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, except dressed as 900-pound gorillas, Cisco and Microsoft have tied the knot again to expand their cloud partnership. Faced with the question “how can we get more clouds to run exactly the same infrastructure?”, the two have riveted OS platforms with network and computing platforms to …

Infiniband Association adds control freakery to Volume 1 spec

The InifiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) hopes to ward off the risk of an Ethernet invasion in the ranks of HPC users with a renewed focus on manageability and visibility. Such features have just appeared in release 1.3 of the Volume 1 standard. The IBTA's Bill Lee told The Register that as HPC clusters grow, “you want to be …
Broadcom's OpenNSL

Broadcom offers devs a peep-show inside its switches

Open Compute Summit When Facebook started down the path of creating the Open Compute Project (OCP), part of its reasoning was that too many vendors hide the underlying silicon from the world of users. That part of the project seems to be having its desired effect, with Broadcom using the OCP Summit to announce that it's going to give developers API …

ACCC nixes Telstra wholesale gouge

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has driven its nope-mobile down to Collins Street and dropped a couple of tons of forget-it at the door of Australia's dominant carrier Telstra: rather than putting up prices for fixed voice and broadband services, the carrier's asked to cop a price cut. The regulator …

Mellanox adds networking specs to Open Compute Project

Open Compute Summit Mellanox has tipped two technologies into the Open Compute Project: an optical data centre interconnect, and a NIC that adds multi-host networking to Facebook's Yosemite chassis specification. The optical spec is designed to help push OCP technologies into the HPC world, with a framework that Mellanox reckons can ultimately …
Dwarf Galaxy found by the Dark Energy Survey

Dark matter surveys turn up new satellites … orbiting the Milky Way

Dwarf galaxies circling the Milky Way, some with only a few hundred stars, could yield new hints about dark matter, according to boffins from the University of Cambridge and the Dark Energy Survey. The two groups independently discovered the dwarf galaxies while combing over first year's worth of data published by the Dark …
Clouds in blue sky

Microsoft unveils API to break hardware/software coupling in switches

Open Compute Summit While Facebook is likely to dominate news out of the Open Compute Project Summit in San Jose, Microsoft and Big Switch Networks have also brought along major announcements to the confab. From Redmond comes the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI), its latest contribution to the project. The SAI – which Mellanox is demonstrating on …
Gravity lens makes supernova appear four times

Massive gravitational lens flare unveils EINSTEIN CROSS SUPERNOVA

Vid “That's odd” must be a scientist's favourite phrase: a set of images of a distant supernova has shown off a phenomenon first predicted more than 50 years ago in 1964. The supernova was spotted in Hubble images by Dr Patrick Kelly of Berkeley while searching for distant galaxies – and because of the effect of gravitational …
The Tanami Desert en route to Willowara

Australia's new broadband satellites won't be all the help Willowra needs

One of the things we've been asked about our project to figure out how to improve network performance at the Wirliyajarrayi Learning Centre in the remote Australian town of Willowra is why we are bothering. It's a decent question to ask because Australia is building a new Long Term Satellite Solution (LTSS) that promises multi- …

'Hi, I'm from Microsoft and I am GOING TO KILL YOU'

Apparently, the growing hobby of tagging along with “Microsoft tech support” scam calls to waste their time is starting to bug the scammers, with a Canadian man reportedly threatened by a caller from India. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) says Jakob Dulisse of Nelson in British Columbia played along with the caller …
Huawei HQ

Huawei to build 5G patent book

MWC 2015 Huawei has talked up its plans for 5G at Mobile World Congress, with an emphasis on building its patent book for the next mobile standard. The company is already in fifth place in European patent applicants for 2014 according to the European Patent Office, and had nearly 500 patents granted in that year. New filings across its …

Australia threatens to pull buckets of astronomy funding

A political impasse is putting at risk Australia's participation in the ginormous Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope*, along with a slew of other major research science projects. The impasse centres on a plan to "deregulate" Australia's universities by allowing them to charge higher fees to make up for reduced …
Hadoop_elephant

Cisco wraps Hadoop in warm embrace of resale partnership

Cisco wants to keep it in the family: since the Internet of Things is going to be a source of lots of data, it's signed reseller agreements with Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR. The agreement will give customers a single source of IoT comms integrated with the data analytics it reckons enterprises will need, both to make sense of …
Deflated dome at Waihopai Base

Complicit Kiwis sniffed Pacific comms says Snowden

New Zealand snooped on friendly Pacific island nations' communications to hand the haul to the NSA, according to the latest nugget to pop out of Edward Snowden's PR machine. Snowden newsletter The Intercept has shared its latest drop with the New Zealand Herald, saying in 2009 the country's Government Communications Security …
NGMN 5G Vision

Carriers want 5G to do everything, for anything, anywhere

MWC2015 The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) carriers' club has sorted out its ideas of what 5G's future, and set forth a blueprint of its preferred vision of a post-4G world. The 5G world is going to have to get cracking, though: the roadmap, with contributions from luminaries like AT&T, BT, China Mobile, DoCoMo, SingTel, …
Clouds in blue sky

Juniper, Amdocs show off vCPE

MWC 2015 Juniper Networks has placed both feet under the Network Function Virtualisation, using Mobile World Congress as the venue to demonstrate virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE). The solution it demonstrated in conjunction with Amdocs is based on the virtualised version of its MX router, first announced in November 2014, and a …
Netflix House of Cards remake

Optus joins iiNet with free-to-download Netflix offer for Australians

Australia's second-largest ISP Optus has followed the third-largest, iiNet, by announcing Australians will be able to watch Netflix without the downloads counting towards their monthly data cap. The announcement places pressure on Australia's dominant carrier, Telstra, to do likewise. But as Telstra is a major shareholder in …
Steeden NRL ball

National Rugby League boots 'metadata' right into Australia's face

Australian politicians and activists frustrated at their fellows' apparent indifference to the metadata data retention debate have cause to thank the National Rugby League (NRL). In its laudable battle against bad behaviour by the inadvertent role models who sign up to play in its competition. the NRL has announced new rules for …
Oracle frankenstein

Oracle finds a port in the SDN/NFV storm with two new ethernet switches

Who said Ethernet was dull? Oracle certainly doesn't: it's floated a couple of switches down the slipway and off into the oceans of the data centre. It's nearly refreshing to have something as vanilla as an Ethernet switch, sorry two Ethernet switches, announced among all the foam emitted by aspirant supplanters of the handful- …

Google's broadband-in-the-sky goes TITAN-ic

After a couple of years of selective reveals to favoured media, Google has made an uncharacteristic to-all-comers announcement about its broadband plans at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Chocolate Factory bought drone-maker Titan Aerospace in 2014, and has told the conference its solar-powered drones will be carrying …
Waves and particles (original resolution)

Is light a wave or a particle? Beaming boffins prove it's BOTH

The old conundrum is right: not only is light both a wave and a particle, but Swiss boffins have captured it behaving as both at the same time. And this is what it looks like (click for the bigger version): EPFL wave and particle image Upper image - light as wave Lower image - light as quanta Image: EPFL The researchers …
management regulation2

ACCC slaps iiNet over prices in ads

Second-tier telco and major ISP iiNet has forked over AU$204,000 to settle infringement notices from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The notices were issued as a result of iiNet's advertising for its Naked Broadband 250GB plan, which the consumer watchdog says didn't “prominently state the total minimum price …

Brocade's pen poised over cheque to buy Connectem

Brocade is putting its foot into the mobile infrastructure hokey-pokey dance, announcing that it wants to buy Connectem, a specialist in virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) software. The target had recently announced that it was one of the winners of a Telekom Austria project to run up a virtualised LTE core network for its …
Minority Report. Source: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Cisco offers carriers adware-as-a-service for fun and profit

MWC 2015 Cisco has clouded up a new way to snoop on mobile users “combine network, user, and business intelligence … to realise business outcomes.” Announced at Mobile World Congress, Mobility IQ is a SaaS offering that the company says provides real-time information on Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE networks, covering network performance and user …

US military SATELLITE suddenly BLOWS UP: 'Temperature spike' blamed

In a story reminiscent of the movie Gravity, near-Earth orbits have a bunch of new space junk chunks to worry about after a satellite exploded. After an event was first noticed by orbital tracking company CelesTrak, the US Air Force has confirmed to Space News that the 20-year-old Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight …
Clouds in blue sky

Citrix targets carriers with NetScaler

MWC 2015 Citrix is taking a leap into carrier-grade network function virtualisation (NFV) with a new release of its NetScaler platform. Let's take the numbers first: the two rack unit NetScaler MPX 25000 series is a 160 gigabit-per-second appliance. Citrix says it lets operators crank up the data plane of their SGi-LAN to 3.5 Tbps. The …
Microsoft-themed Monopoly board

Microsoft Swarms all over Docker Machines

Microsoft has expanded its cloudy support for Docker, adding Docker Machine to Azure and Hyper-V, and supporting Docker Swarm. With the release of Docker Machine 1.0 Beta, Redmond has blogged that users can create a host under Windows using the lightweight Linux boot2docker. Docker Machine is designed for an easy install. As …