Richard Chirgwin

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'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die

We've said it before, but because “walk on this pavement for renewable energy” remains a recurrent news story, it's worth saying again. You can't get a useful amount of energy that way: it's a gimmick. The latest iteration comes from Las Vegas, which according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal is installing street lights from …
Migrating birds in the cloud

Chinese giants give world another SDN and NFV platform

If you didn't think the world needed another Software Defined Networking (SDN) project, bad luck: you've got one anyway: it's called Open-O and hopes to put SDN and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) in the same yoke. If that sounds familiar, it's because AT&T also wants to lead the open source world into a combination SDN/ …
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GSMA: 5G at risk if governments don't get their acts together

The mobile industry's global lobby, the GSMA, is starting to worry about fragmentation in the 5G market – even before there is one. There are already hints at disunity in the spectrum market, with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) yet to settle regional arguments about spectrum, while vendors and carriers run …
Junghoon Lee. Image: Darren Pauli / The Register

Pwnfest drops a nasty surprise on VMware

VMware's rushed out a patch for the serious desktop hypervisor bug turned up at the Pwnfest hacker convention. CVE-2016-7461 is a critical-rated out-of-bounds memory access vuln present in VMware Workstation and VMWare Fusion. The bug scores a critical rating because it could allow a guest to “execute code on the operating …

European Commission dangles €374m for low-power exascale research

Europe is trying to plant a flag in future chip development, slinging money towards low-power server silicon. Through its Horizon 2020 research collaboration, the European Commission pus published a solicitation for the project. There's nearly €375m on offer for the project, which looks to push more digitisation “outside the …
NASA's exploding star illustration

Boffins find Galaxy making killer radiation, rule out Samsung phone as source

It's not just radio any more: Penn State University boffins have turned up a “fast gamma ray burst” that correlates with a source of a fast radio burst (FRB). The still-mysterious FRBs have excited astro-boffins ever since 2013. In 2015, Australian astronomer Emily Petroff pulled off the first real-time observation of an FRB …
New Zealand flag

CERN boffins see strange ... oh, wait, that's just New Zealand moving 2m north

New Zealand's been hit by two nearly-simultaneous earthquakes that left two people dead, isolated some towns, cut telecommunications links – and rattled the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. The quake might also inconvenience infosec types visiting the country for one of the Southern Hemisphere's pre-eminent conferences, …
Bring out yer dead!

Firewalls snuffed by 'BlackNurse' Ping of Death attack

Updated A code artefact in a number of popular firewalls means they can be crashed by a mere crafted ping. The low-rate “Ping of death” attack, dubbed BlackNurse, affects firewalls from Cisco, Zyxel, and possibly Palo Alto. Since we don't imagine Switchzilla has started giving away the version of IOS running in its ASA firewalls, …
A businessman in handcuffs

Former Autonomy CFO indicted in USA for misleading investors

Updated The long-running spat between HP and the company formerly known as Autonomy has taken another turn, with Autonomy's former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain indicted in a San Francisco court last week. The move was immediately criticised by a collective of former Autonomy executives as the Department of Justice (DoJ) “ …
WiFi Icon

Your body reveals your password by interfering with Wi-Fi

Modern Wi-Fi doesn't just give you fast browsing, it also imprints some of your finger movements – swipes, passwords and PINs – onto the radio signal. A group of researchers from the Shanghai Jaio Tong University, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and the University of South Florida have demonstrated that analysing …

Mellanox: We're gonna make InfiniBand great again – 200Gbps great

InfiniBand will go from 100Gbps to 200Gbps next year – and The Register spoke to Mellanox's marketing veep Gilad Shainer to find out what to expect. What's coming from Mellanox is a bottom-to-top offering for the 200Gbps HDR InfiniBand spec, Shainer said, covering switches, chips, NICs and suitable cabling. The upcoming …
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$10m of Bangladeshi SWIFT heist ended up in Filipino Casino

At least some of the US$81 million lifted from Bangladeshi banks in recent hacks on the Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunication (SWIFT) inter-bank transfer network has been tracked down to a casino in the Philippines. The February heist relied on malware dropped on a SWIFT terminal used by Bangladesh's central bank. …

Cisco emits new branch box

Switchzilla has expanded its range of SME edge boxes, adding the all-in-one ISR 4221 to its flagship range of branch networking systems. Offering throughput between 35 Mbps and 75 Mbps on two WAN ports, the box pushes software-defined WAN (SD WAN) into the branch office, with an APIC Enterprise Module (APIC-EM) controller, …
Bear attack

What do you give a bear that wants to fork SSL? Whatever it wants!

Into a world already crowded with big name alternatives to OpenSSL, an indy project could look like “yet another SSL implementation,” but Vulture South suspects there are good reasons to take a close look at the just-launched BearSSL. One is that its author, Thomas Pornin, has ignored the kinds of legacy protocols that occupy …

Ireland to fight against billing Apple for back-taxes

The Republic of Ireland has signalled its intention to push back against the European Union (EU) over accusations that it's offering a tax haven to Apple. In August, the EU decided Apple had received €13 billion in “illegal state aid” in the form of the tax breaks. When the investigation ended, competition commissioner …
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Finns chilling as DDoS knocks out building control system

Residents in two apartment buildings in the Finnish town of Lappeenranta had a chill-out lasting more than a week after a DDoS attack battered unprotected building management systems. The apartments are managed by a company called Valtia. The attack blocked the building management systems' Internet connections, according to …
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Analyst reckons proprietary IoT wireless interfaces won't last

An analyst outfit is warning that the Internet of Insecure Junk Things industry's enthusiasm for proprietary protocols will come to an abrupt halt once standards bodies get their acts together. ABI Research says the advent of key cellular industry standards – LTE Cat-M1, Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), and Extended Coverage GSM IoT, …

Australia again ponders making attorney-general netadmin-in-chief

Australia's attempt to make its attorney-general Netadmin-in-chief is back on the legislative agenda. An exposure draft for the proposed law, available here, would give the A-G sweeping powers over the operation of telecommunications networks. The provisions in the year-old exposure draft include the Attorney General's …

IPv4 is OVER. Really. So quit relying on it in new protocols, sheesh

Well, that took a while. Eighteen years after the IETF brought us IPv6 as an answer to then-looming-now-upon-us IPv4 address exhaustion, the Internet Architecture Board says: no more. Getting IPv6 into the field has been a long, slow slog. According to Google, IPv6 carries just 14.6 per cent of search requests to the web giant …
Mambo Unlimited's gold bug. Pic: Steve Caplin

Netflix flattens bug that allowed account p0wnage via voicemail

Netflix has reworked its password reset function after an Austrian security researcher demonstrated how an attacker could spoof it to take over a victim's account. Fortunately, the bug wasn't universal: it depended on the customer's mobile carrier being one that hasn't properly protected users' voicemail accounts from …
Jam

Microsoft prises open Azure containers, pours in a little Kubernetes

Faced with an increasingly untidy template-base in the Azure Container Service (ACS), Microsoft's decided the best way to get things under control is to open source it and let the community handle things. Over here at GitHub, Redmond explains the open-sourced ACS Engine can generate Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates for …

Turn off remote admin, SOHOpeless D-Link owners

It's 2016, and D-Link still can't get its Home Network Automation Protocol (HNAP) implementation right. In a terse advisory, the Carnegie-Mellon CERT says the HNAP service in D-Link's "DIR" range of routers has a stack-based buffer overflow. “Processing malformed SOAP messages when performing the HNAP Login action causes a …
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Android's Hover feature is a data HOOVER

That took a while: Android's had Hover since Ice Cream, but boffins have taken until now to work out how to attack it. Hover is a set of interface calls that let application designers imitate mouse-over behaviours people know from PCs, and it only needs to be implemented on a phone or tablet to be vulnerable - whether or not a …
Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking

SETI scan saves 'scope used for first Moon landing comms

Australia's Parkes radio-telescope has found one of the white knights it needed, in the form of the search-for-intelligent-life Breakthrough Listen project. Ever since the country's premier government research agency, the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) was mugged by budget cuts, there's been …
CERN's particle decelerator

CERN also has a particle decelerator – and it’s trying to break physics

Sorry, new physics fans, CERN has once again failed to break the old physics, this time using a particle decelerator that chilled helium atoms close to absolute zero. The organisation is checking the mass of the proton's antimatter twin, the antiproton, using a specialised spectrograph. The measurement is an important test …