Richard Chirgwin

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Microsoft releases open source bug-bomb in the rambling house of C

The zombie bugs in programs and libraries at the heart of the Internet's infrastructure often have the C programming language in common. Microsoft Research now wants to add the kind of bounds-checking seen in C# to C, to help splat bugs like “buffer overruns, out-of-bounds memory accesses, and incorrect type casts,” in an add- …

Safari 10 dumps Flash, Java, Silverlight, QuickTime in the trash

Apple has taken its turn at the hammer, and added its own i-Nail to the coffin of Flash. Over at the Webkit blog, Ricky Mondello of the Safari team writes that Safari 10, due in the northern fall, will “behave as though common legacy plug-ins on users’ Macs are not installed”. Instead, it will try to default to HTML5 for …
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

Nokia to Oz: 5G will need fibre, and lots of it

Any time the politics of the National Broadband Network arises, someone with a bagful of buzzwords and a spoonful of clue will claim that wireless is going to make fibre obsolete. It shouldn't be necessary to refute that old chestnut, but it is, so Vulture South is pleased that Nokia's Oceania head of mobile networks has cold- …
Chiral propylene oxide

Astroboffins' discovery gives search for early life a left hand. Or right

For the first time, astronomers have made an interstellar observation of a molecule that can exist in left- and right-handed versions – which could help unravel how life can come to exist. The discovery was made using two radio telescopes: Green Bank in the USA, and Parkes in Australia. What Brett McGuire (US National Radio …
Tape over mouth, image via Shutterstock

NBN chairman's rant breached caretaker conventions says public service boss

An op-ed written by nbnTM chairman Ziggy Switkowsky defending the company's handling of leaks breached the “caretaker conventions” that apply during election campaigns. That's according to the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Martin Parkinson, in a letter published by Fairfax today. Following the …
Blackmail

Chinese loan sharks seek salacious selfies as collateral

Loan sharks in China are reportedly accepting nude selfies as collateral, presumably on the basis that the threat of publication is an effective way of ensuring the loan is repaid. The news first emerged in the local Nandu Daily (we think this expose is the story in question) and hit the People's Daily Online here. The …

Google bows to Dutch

The Netherlands' privacy watchdog has given Google a clean bill of health in that country and terminated its action against the company. The Authority for Personal Data (DPA) has announced (in Dutch) that The Chocolate Factory has “terminated” the privacy violations that had the authority threatening fire and brimstone. The …
Handcuffs

NSW cops seek cyber-crooks over bank fraud

NSW Police has published photographs of nine men and three women wanted for questioning over Internet banking fraud. The group recruits mules to open bank accounts, and link them to accounts the scamsters have taken control of. While the police haven't detailed the technique for getting control over victims' bank accounts, …
Uber launch party by https://www.flickr.com/photos/5chw4r7z/ CC2.0 sharelalike attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Digital adaption, you're doing it wrong. STEM education needs rethink

With surprising timing, the Productivity Commission has dropped a report during the election campaign, criticising the widespread belief that science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM) education is an employment panacea in the digital era. In a report likely to be dismissed by both sides of politics, the commission also …
Cartoon - Private SNAFU

TWELVE YEARS of US Air Force complaints lost in database crash

The US Air Force Inspector General is investigating the corruption of around 100,000 investigation records, and presumably someone's asking hard questions about backups. Corruption in the database happened last month, but has only just come to light after both the USAF and Lockheed Martin threw in the towel on trying to …
The robotic proto-DESI

I spy with my little fibre, ten MEELLION or so galaxies

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory boffins are getting ready to point thousands of optical fibres at the night sky, starting with a 10-robot system proof-of-concept. The ProtoDESI the boffins are wiring up will use robots to aim optical fibres at distant galaxies, a light-gathering trick the DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic …
A view from Babbage's eye-mounted Picam

Emacs gets Haskell IDE

A group of Githubbers who use Haskell in commercial settings have put together the Emacs integration, dubbed Intero for Emacs. At Github here and with its own site here, the package is compatible with GHC (Glasgow Haskell Compiler) 8.0.1, GHC 7.10.3, GHC 7.10.2, and GHC 7.8.4. Stack is a requirement. Features include on-the- …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Liberal MPs paid AU$2,500 a YEAR to donor for electoral software licences

Who pays AU$2,500 for an annual software license, for a handful of users? That question is on Vulture South's mind, with the Liberal Party under fire during the election for doing just that. The nearly-but-not-quite “scandal” (for example reported here at Fairfax) centres around Liberal Party members paying what seems to be a …
Computer mouse  connected to a rolled up newspaper with the headline Tech News

Cisco slides out Python lib

Cisco has quietly opened up some of its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) interfaces, by way of a Python kit published on Github. Published under the Apache license, Cisco's Uniq is a Python API client library for its Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module's (APIC-EM) northbound APIs. The APIC …
milhouse_vs_nelson_648

Imagination: Come back to MIPS, Wi-Fi router makers, we have an FCC ban workaround

A fairly straightforward idea by Imagination Technologies could rescue American geeks' ability to run Openwrt on their routers. The freedom to tinker with Wi-Fi routers has been a hot topic ever since the Federal Communications Commission issued an edict that devices be locked down to protect America's spectrum. Its concern …
Image by Moriz http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-2031842p1.html

Update your buggy Samsung PC bloatware to plug privilege bug

Another vulnerability has emerged in Samsung's Software Updater (SW Update) service – this time giving an attacker potential “full control” over a system. Announced by German consultants Blue Frost Security, the vulnerability could be exploited to give an attacker full control over a victim's machine. To exploit the …
Telstra pit by https://www.flickr.com/photos/newtown_grafitti/ cc. 20 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

NBN 'copper guru' ads pulled from Monster.ie

Job ads in Ireland seeking “copper jointers” and “copper gurus” for the National Broadband Network have been pulled from Monster.ie after they were spotted by Australian media. The advertisements were placed by a recruiter, and while they were seeking staff to work on the National Broadband Network, the company in charge of …
scissors cut cable

Tasmania: back on the map, sometime today

The saga of the Tasmanian electrical and telecomms interconnect Basslink is due to end today. The company has announced that repairs on the submarine cables have been completed, and by last Friday all tests showed they were ready to return for service. Basslink continues to investigate the causes of the cable failure, which …
Artist's impression of Cygnus

Reg photography special: Get a better snap of a BLACK HOLE

MIT boffins have developed an algorithm to help astrophysicists see the unseen, improving the resolution of black hole “images”. Working with Harvard University collaborators, the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) researchers' algorithm improves the imaging quality of the international-scale Event …
Monty Python dead parrot sketch

Google IMAP losing old security protocols this month

Google's ongoing elimination of the antediluvian SSLv3 and RC4 protocols is taking another step on June 16. From that date, Gmail's IMAP and POP services will join its SMTP services in rejecting connections using those protocols. Recognising, perhaps, that not everybody's been paying attention, Mountain View is giving users …

Boffins shake up smartphone with motion-sensor as microphone

University of Illinois boffins have proved that someone who steals your phone can perform hardware hacks on it. As a maker-hack, The Register can't help but admire the work done to create the “VibraPhone” (even the pun is better than average). As a security vulnerability, we'll file this under “if you lose your phone, you're …
Terminator

Robot lung probe wins licence from US authorities

Startup Auris Surgical Robots has formally joined the robotic surgery market, securing a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) license. Don't worry, you're not going to see The Terminator looming over you as the anaesthetic takes hold: the device, from Auris Surgical Robots, is a bronchoscope. Auris doesn't have …

Melbourne motorway to lose its $1k-per-call emergency phones

After more than a year of debate and public submissions, the Victorian government is pressing ahead with getting rid of the “emergency help phones” that are a familiar sight on the side of freeways. Last year, prompted by the high cost of maintaining the fixed-line phones, the state's government opened up a public consultation …

Microsoft's BITS file transfer tool fooled into malware distribution

Researchers at Dell SecureWorks have spotted a new and dangerous way to misuse of Microsoft's Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). While working on a customer clean-up project, SecureWorks staff found that attackers had created self-contained BITS tasks that didn't appear in the registries of affected machines, and …
News room with blur motion effect

uTorrent forums hacked

The hosting provider behind BitTorrent Inc's uTorrent forum was hacked this month, but only 38,000 accounts have been dumped on the web. uTorrent is telling users to reset their passwords as a precaution. The HaveIBeenPwned website says email addresses, IP addresses, passwords, and usernames were taken from the forum database …