Richard Chirgwin

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Clouds in blue sky

HP switch upgrade hopes to sneak SDN onto network, quietly

Interop HP has used Interop as the venue for its latest switch launch, putting software-defined networking (SDN) alongside speeds and feeds in the marketing pitch. The way HP sees it, mobility – not just the cellphone but also the proliferation of WiFi devices – is the big deal that demands SDN. The old-world attitude to the network, …
Doctor Nick Riviera

Surgery-bot can be hacked to HACK YOU TO PIECES

Surgical robot makers are just as good at security as the rest of the world - ie, hopeless - according to University of Washington infosec boffins. The researchers targeted a product of their own university's research, a telesurgery unit called the Raven II, and among other things found an exploitable safety mechanism in the …
Looks like DNA

Sweden releases human genome under Creative Commons licence

What used to take years now takes months: after buying a bunch of sequencers in 2014, Sweden's Uppsala University has published a human genome sequence under the Creative Commons license. The data has been posted at Sweden's Uppsala University's Website here for bioinformatics boffins to play with. The university's SciLifeLab …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Let downloads roam free, says ACCC

Australia's consumer regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is pushing back against calls to ban accessing offshore content with means such as VPNs, in a submission to an inquiry into copyright legislation. The competition regulator reckons parallel importation should be available in every market, …
Spy hides in dustbin, lifts lid to take photograph

Oz media belatedly realises 'spook's charter' is bad (for) news

Australia's media has finally realised that it was a bad idea to turn the Nelson eye to national security laws that passed in 2014. The laws in question, the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014, created new crimes of revealing “special intelligence operations” (SIOs), with penalties of five years in jail if …
Monty Python dead parrot sketch

Not so fast on FM switch-off: DAB not so hot say small broadcasters

Norway's plan to ditch FM radio broadcasting has come under fire from that country's smaller broadcasters. The Register reported last week that with digital reaching its audience targets, the government set a 2017 date for the death of analogue FM radio in that country - freeing up spectrum for "digital dividend"-style …

Debian ships new 'Jessie' release with systemd AND sysvinit

The Debian project is touting new ports for ARM and POWER architectures, a bunch of software updates, an upgraded Gnome desktop and better security in its just-unleashed Jessie release. However, El Reg fully expects that the switch to systemd as the default init system will divert at least some attention from the release. …
Sabeen Mahmud

Celebrated Pakistani female online activist Sabeen Mahmud dies in shooting

Unidentified gunmen have killed Pakistani women's activist Sabeen Mahmud in a targeted shooting that also left her mother in intensive care. News of the murder emerged over the weekend, with reports from Karachi that she died on the way to hospital after being shot four times. Pakistan's The Express Tribune reports the case is …
iiNet actor

M2 drops on knee, offers scrip ring for iiNet's hand

A second bidder has entered the competition to acquire Australia's second-largest fixed-line internet service provider iiNet, raising the possibility that initial predator TPG might not have things its own way. The Australian Financial Review reckons the bid was received by iiNet on Friday, and offers shares (but no cash) but …
Facepalming statue

App makers, you're STILL doing security wrong

Security expert Troy Hunt has taken a look at what mobile apps collect to send home to their owners, and isn't impressed: even PayPal is still addicted to invasive habits, he says. Looking at PayPal and two Australian apps – a small sample, admittedly, but we'll get to this shortly – the prominent Microsoft security researcher …
firing range - target in cross hairs

Grooveshark faces $750 MEELLION piracy payout

Copy-shop Grooveshark's prospects in the latest round of its lawsuit are looking bleak: remarks made by the judge hearing the case have opened up the possibility of damages close to three quarters of a billion dollars against the song-share site. Ahead of this week's hearing, the presiding judge told jurors that Grooveshark's …
sea_hp_sink

Atalla the hun(ter) leads HP cloud security invasion

HP has revealed a bunch of security analytics tools and services as part of an infosec portfolio launch. The company reckons the IT industry isn't keeping up with security threats, so it's pushing a focus on “the interactions between users, applications and data”. To that end, there's additions to ArcSight, a new cloud security …
Geckos playing with collar

Russian space geckos caught on film playing with jeweled collar

Video Not all “space gecko” experiments end in fiery doom: a group of thick-toed geckos sent into orbit have been filmed seem to have enjoyed playing with a collar floating around their capsule. That's interesting to the behavioural boffins in charge of the project, because “play” is a pretty advanced behaviour to be exhibited by a …
White boxes

Freescale preps white box switch for Interop launch

Freescale has looked at the software-defined network market and decided it likes what it sees: the company is launching into the white box market in partnership with Advantech. The coming network services switch, to be detailed at next week's Interop show in Las Vegas, will use Freescale's QorIQ T4240 silicon the company says. …
Cloud

Australia's favourite(ish) telco taking SDN to the world

Australia's dominant telco Telstra is about to try and make itself a global brand for those considering intercontinental software-defined networks (SDN). Telstra acquired Pacnet in 2014, partly to get its hands on the company's submarine cables and 16-point-of-presence Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN). The PEN is billed as Asia's …
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Game to go a round with a Spartan? Microsoft will pay if you bruise it

Redmond will expand its bug-bounty program ahead of the launch of Windows 10, including a two-month hunt for vulnerabilities in its Project Spartan browser. If you want to play Athens to Microsoft's Spartan, there's as much as US$15,000 up for grabs for remote code execution bugs, sandbox escapes, and “design-level security bugs …
The supervoid

Something's missing in our universe: Boffins look into the SUPERVOID

The biggest structure in the Universe has astro-boffins a-twitter because there's less stuff in it than there should be. If you pop over to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society you'll find the snappily-titled Detection of a supervoid aligned with the cold spot of the cosmic microwave background, which explains …
Data Centre

Pica8 pokes SDN traffic into labelled BGP paths

Getting SDN working across the WAN is becoming the hot topic of the month: white box SDN OS provider Pica8 is the latest to take a shot at the problem. The company has announced that it's adding support for labelled Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) in the 2.6 release of its PicOS operating system. It's hardly a new standard – RFC …

Broadcom tops US$2 billion in March quarter

Broadcom reckons its exit from the cellular baseband modem business was a win, with better cashflow and more money handy to invest in its core business. At the company's latest analyst session, chair and CTO Henry Samueli said that the exit had also given Broadcom the chance to enter “adjacent markets”. The company narrowly …
Cloud

IEEE chaps propose QoS for SDN across the public internet

Software-defined networking (SDN) is fine in the data centre, but rubbish across multi-domain WANs, something a group of IEEE engineers wants to solve. Their proposal, on Arxiv, is to copy the cloud notions of abstraction and orchestration into Internet connections. Sucking nourishment out of the academic prose, the IEEE …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Tech companies aren't 'misleading' us, Oz Tax Office tells Senate

The ongoing stoush between multinationals and the Australian Tax Office continues, with Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan telling a senate inquiry that big companies weren't misleading senators about their tax affairs. Truly, they're not: Jordan said so, noting that “mislead” is “a subjective term” (when under oath before a Senate …
Cloud

Switches complete Avaya SDN suite

Avaya* has pushed a bunch of switches out the door, and is taking aim at Cisco's ECI in its Fx – Fabric Anywhere – strategy. The switches themselves are fairly straightforward: the ESR 5900 line is a stackable series in 24 port (up to Gbps Ethernet) and 48 port (ditto) configurations. Avaya Australia's director, network …
Wobegong eats Bamboo Shark

CenturyLink boosts DaaS capital by acquiring Orchestrate

CenturyLink is playing the Victor Kiam card, liking the Orchestrate managed database service so much that it's bought the ten-person company. The acquisition adds database-as-a-service (DaaS, as in Kapital) capabilities to CenturyLink Cloud, and brings a bunch of NoSQL specialists into its product development organisation. …

Elon Musk wanted Google to buy Tesla, says ex-Vulture's book

The tech world's favourite car-maker, Tesla, came so close to the edge in 2013 that its boss Elon Musk nearly offloaded it to Google, according to a new book documenting the company's history. According to Bloomberg, the upcoming Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future fleshes out what in 2013 was only a …

No, Optus: don't try US-style net neutrality arguments in Oz

Netflix has ignited the Internet neutrality debate in Australia, something that was previously not a major issue in the nation. The odd structure of Australia's Internet (compared to America's, at least) has long been criticised. Too few international links in too few hands makes connectivity to the US relatively expensive, and …
Facepalm by Ron Mander

D-Link: sorry we're SOHOpeless

D-Link's SOHOpeless HNAP vulnerability hasn't been fixed, but readers will be pleased to know that the company is very, very, very sorry that it exists. The company issued a patch on April 10 for its design-over-substance AC3200 series routers, but that "fix" blew a hole in the device's authentication routines. Tactical Network …
Bitcoin holding decline

Mt Gox LEAKED Bitcoin for years before heist, says WizSec

WizSec, a Tokyo-based group that's been investigating the Bitcoin thefts that eventually led to the unravelling of Mt Gox, reckons the crypto-currency was going missing from the trading firm long before it collapsed. The group's analysis suggests that the pilfering goes back as far as 2011, leading to a shortfall when Mt Gox …

The content business wants Netflix out of Australia

Debate about copyright and virtual private networks (VPNs) has reached such a pitch in Australia that at least one voice wants a policy that, taken literally, would have the effect of closing down Netflix in this country. I don't mean “stopping Australians from accessing Netflix US via VPNs”, I mean “bye-bye Netflix, go home to …
The open web

Microsoft absorbs open-source internal startup MS Open Technology

In what would once have been thought of as an Ominous SignTM, Microsoft has decided it's time for the MS Open Technologies “startup subsidiary” to be absorbed back into Redmond proper. Rather than being ominous, the move seems encouraging, with Microsoft promising to set up a new open source program office in Redmond proper, …
Clouds in blue sky

NTT adds two bit barns to gathering global cloud

NTT is continuing to expand its global cloud footprint, last week announcing plans for major new data centres in America and India. In Sacramento, according to Data Center Knowledge, subsidiary RagingWire is the expansion vehicle, with a third campus that added 180,000 square feet (with 14 MW of power capacity) to its existing …
Svolvaer, Vågan Municipality, Austvågøy Island, Lofoten, Nordland County, Norway - photo by Vincent van Zeijst

Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date

Norway is claiming a world first: having successfully implemented digital radio, the country has announced the dates for a progressive FM radio shutdown. The end will come during 2017, says the country's Ministry of Culture, which has announced that the conditions it set down in 2011 have been met. Instead of the five national …
Google demonstrates new HTTPs feature

Google makes life easier for mixed-content sysadmins

Rejoice, sys admins with big non-encrypted image databases: Google feels your pain and says the next version of Chromium, 43, will provide some relief. One of the challenges, the Chocolate Factory reckons, is that old sites with lots of non-HTTPS resources can't be migrated with a simple flick of the switch. In current browsers …

Raytheon suspected of readying for Websense slurp

The biz-wires are abuzz with industry talk that enterprise net-filter outfit Websense will be slurped by Raytheon for a cool $US1.9 billion. Now an e-mail and Web security company with deployment options from the desktop to the cloud, Websense had long lived under the wing of private equity company Vista Equity Partners (VEP). …
Glaciers on Mars

Scummy transients FOUND ON MARS by NASA rover

Hard on the heels of news from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that Mars could have extensive sub-surface glaciers, Curiosity Rover has gone a step better and found evidence of “transient” liquid water. It's neither pure enough nor (as a liquid) plentiful enough to support life, but it's still enough to get the boffinry quietly …
Ganesha street art by Flickr user avlxyz https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/

India joins 'net neutrality debate

Mobile carrier app deals like “Free Facebook with your plan” have controversially entered India's nascent internet neutrality debate, courtesy of that country's regulator and its tech minister. While America is dealing with the inevitable lawsuits over its 'net neutrality rules, India's Telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar …
MIT 3D heads from 2D pics

MIT shows off machine-learning script to make CREEPY HEADS

Don't write code when you can re-use code is a well-known principle in writing software, but using it to replace thousands of lines of code with 50 seems positively parsimonious. That's what MIT is claiming with an upcoming demonstration of what it calls “probabilistic code”, an approach which it says it's applied to the field …
MGH's microbead diagnostics

US hospital boffins demo cancer-busting smartphone kit

America's FTC might be chasing after snake-oilers offering “detect cancer” smartphone apps, but that doesn't mean your mobe can't play a genuine diagnostic role. Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital reckon with a bit of cloudy goodness, custom-made add-on optics and the right reagent kit, smartphones can gather …
money trap conceptual illustration

Russia pulls alleged 'Svpeng' kingpin

Russia's Ministry of the Interior has gone public about the March 24 arrest of a 25-year-old and four others it believes was the leader of a gang of cyber-scum behind the “Svpeng” money-draining malware. The Android malware is believed to have netted a near million-dollar haul within Russia alone (50 million rubles), hitting 350 …

NO, Joe Hockey, a 'Netflix tax' wouldn't raise 'billions'

Where does Joe Hockey, Australia's treasurer, get his data from? While The Register has no ideological opposition to the notion of a “Netflix tax” – that is, that a download bought by an Australian in Australia should be subject to the same 10 per cent GST whether its source is Netflix or locals like Fetch TV or Quickflix – we …

NSA: 'Back doors are a bad idea, give us a FRONT door key'

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for an iPhone, and we'll give you an encryption master key” seems to be the dream of the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA's latest thought bubble, floated in front of noted cryptography journal The Washington Post, is that a “master key” for all products running …
Googorola logo

Google tips LTE patents into mostly-public pool

The LTE rollout has moved a little closer to avoiding sueball spats that have long plagued the tech biz, with Google tipping a bucket of its IP into Via Licensing. Via Licensing, set up years ago by Dolby Laboratories, set up an LTE patent pool in 2012, with ten participants including names like AT&T and Clearwire, KDDI, NTT …
racks of Fujistu lettuce

Microsoft, Fujitsu team in Internet of Lettuce effort

A nearly two-year-old Fujitsu project to apply sensors and cloud computing to growing low-potassium vegetables has attracted the attention of Microsoft. The two companies have used what's probably the least-leafy venue imaginable, Hannover Messe, to announce a tie-up in which Windows 8.1 Pro running on Fujitsu devices, Fujitsu's …
Olympics one month, invading crimea the next

Russian censor warns against meme 'misuse'

A court case over an insulted singer has led the Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor to issue a big “nyet” on a bunch of nearly-ubiquitous social media habits. As well as mockery, the regulator's post on the Facebook-like social network Vkontakte warns citizens against creating parody accounts, or pretending to be a celebrity …
Peryton signal

Strange radio telescope signals came from microwave ovens

Boffins' lunches have been fingered as the source of a long-standing mystery: the peryton, which clouded discussions of the origin of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). Perytons have some similarities to FRBs (such as signal dispersion), but scientists were always fairly certain that their origin was terrestrial. At Parkes, for example, …

ɘƨɿɘvɘЯ algo attack cracks Belkin router WPS PINs: researcher

A researcher who last year turned up weak WPS PIN protection in D-Link broadband modems has found the same problem exists on Belkin devices. The writer at embedded systems hacker hangout /dev/ttyS0, who goes by the name of Craig, says the upshot of his latest work is the same as previously: it demonstrates that like D-Link, …

Do your switches run Cumulus Linux? Puppet will pull your strings

Cumulus Networks, home of a Linux-of-choice for white-box switches, has linked arms with Puppet Labs and joined its Puppet Supported Program. While it's “just another” certification from one angle, Puppet's Carl Caum told The Register it's important to the company. He said while there are plenty of tools to manage equipment in …
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Oh no, Moto! Cable modem has hardcoded 'technician' backdoor

Researchers at Rapid7 have turned up a set of typically dumb vulnerabilities in Motorola's DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 3.0-capable SURFboard SBG 6580 cable broadband modem. The device, which also ships under the Arris brand, has vulnerabilities included hardcoded login credentials that will allow an outside attacker to take control of the …

Google wants Marvin the Paranoid Android's personality in the cloud

Someone at the Chocolate Factory doesn't realise that Douglas Adams wrote satire, and has patented replaceable robot personalities. In US Patent 8,996,429, filed in 2012 and published on March 31, Google's Anthony Francis and Thor Lewis propose a robot that “may be configured to tailor a personality for interaction with the user …

Amazon listens to MORE of your private stuff

Having started capturing what you say in your home and sending it to the cloud in November, Amazon has decided that its Echo product needs to do more than just read the news. At launch, Amazon promised that Echo would be “always getting smarter”. It's now delivering on that threat promise. Agence France Presse says home …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Dallas Buyers Club doubles down on Oz Torrenters

The law firm that secured an Australian Federal Court decision against iiNet and other ISPs says it's widening its field of fire to target a further 23,000 individuals. Marque Lawyers' boss Michael Bradley has told The West Australian that Australian internet service provider (ISP) iiNet was targeted by way of a test case. With …