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Richard Chirgwin

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Canadian spookhaus says airport Wi-Fi slurp didn't invade privacy

The chief of the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), which has been accused of slurping airport Wi-Fi traffic in a story aired on CBC, has denied wrongdoing to a Canadian Senate committee. As part of the never-ending drip-feed of spook secrets served up by Edward Snowden, CBC News alleged that CSEC used airport …
Shot of the D-Wave chip holder - a robotic looking contraption

Boffins say D-Wave machine could be a classic*

First, the world thought that D-Wave hadn't built a quantum computer; then, it thought there was a quantum computer in the box; next, there was disappointment that the D-Wave machine didn't speed things up (but might still be quantum); and now, it starts to look like it's not quantum after all. In the latest instalment in the …

Cupertino copied processor pipelining claims Wisconsin U

The patent management arm of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has taken aim at Cupertino over patent infringement in Apple's A7 chip. Its complaint here alleges infringement of a 1998 patent covering processor pipelining. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation – WARF for short – took on Intel back in 2008 over the same …
Nvidia Tegra K1 die

Nvidia slips love letter to open source driver devs

Nvidia is cozying up just a little with the open source community, with it emerging in late January that it's kicked some driver code into the Nouveau open source graphics driver project. The company has previously been the recipient of hate mail from the open source community as being difficult to work with. However, with a new …

Gameover ZeuS adds nasty trick

The password-stealing ZeuS variant, Gameover, is now using encryption to get around perimeter security kit like firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Malcovery's Gary Warner outlines the new behaviour of the malware at his blog, here, on the basis that the threat needed to be known beyond the circle of the company's …
cloud

HPCaaS experiment becomes commercial service

After 18 months of experimentation, UberCloud has launched a commercial service to help academic HPC users find cloud-accessible resources for their projects: a kind of HPC-as-a-service matchmaker. The project follows two lines of thought: although there's plenty of compute cycles already sitting on the cloud courtesy of Amazon …
NBN Co logo

Optus to take control of NBN Co satellites

Optus has won a five-year contract to provide command and control functions for the NBN Co satellites due for launch in 2015. The two satellites, now under construction, will provide connectivity to the most remote two percent of Australian households – those that fell outside the footprint of both the planned-but-to-be-canned …
Squeezed Quantum States for Teleportation

Japanese quantum boffins 'may have the key to TELEPORTATION'

Don't get too excited, the world's not about to get Star Trek-style transporters. However, if a quantum communications theory formulated by three Tohoku University boffins can stand the test of experiment, they could break the distance limitations that currently constrain quantum communications. At this point, the exercise gets …
Cthulu springs from HP desktop printer

Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

Most of what gets spat out of office printers is read once and consigned to the recycling, so why do prints have to be permanent? One answer to that question is that they don't – and a water-jet printing technology published in Nature Communications suggests a way to make printing vastly cheaper. The idea is that by treating …
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Give hackers your data, says former RSA man

Former RSA chief scientist Ari Juels has outlined a cunning way to foil crackers: let them think they've busted into a system and then give them fake data to play with. The idea is not entirely novel because Juels last year proposed a scheme he called “Honeywords” in this paper, co-authored with RSA founder Ronald Rivest. …

Use MediaWiki and hate malware? This patch is for you

Check Point Software Technologies has announced a remote code execution bug in the popular MediaWiki platform that powers Wikipedia. As detailed here: “Your MediaWiki installation is affected by a remote code execution vulnerability if you have enabled file upload support for DjVu (natively supported by MediaWiki) or PDF files ( …

Cloud, schmoud, says Cisco: The IoT needs 'FOG COMPUTING'

Cisco is looking to wrap more of the Internet of Things in its warm embrace, announcing that it's going to create a Linux-plus-IOS mashup to run IoT apps at the network edge. Designated IOx, the “fog computing” (Cisco's term) operating system is being pitched as a way to deal with data coming from IoT devices. For example, an …

This tool demands access to YOUR ENTIRE DIGITAL LIFE. Is it from GCHQ? No - it's by IKEA

If the Target hack – along with all its predecessors – taught us anything, it's that the database isn't the vulnerability. It's the data that's the problem. If you're collecting data, you're a target. That means you have to ask yourself, “do I need this?” Yet in spite of frequent demonstrations that a determined attacker will …
AMD logo

AMD tries to kickstart ARM-for-servers ecosystem

AMD today rolled the dice on a risky proposition: enthusiasm for ARM-powered servers in the data center. The announcement fleshes out what the vendor outlined last June. It's an idea that looks high-risk from several angles: the number of server vendors in the word has just shrunk again with Big Blue exiting the x86 server …

Google requests hush-hush radar tests

Google has asked the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to conduct radio tests in the 76-77 GHz bands, probably as part of its ongoing autonomous vehicles research. Mountain View's application to the FCC has been published here, and was turned up by sharp-eyed Google-watcher Steven Crowley. …

Cisco sends TrustSec offspring to IETF dating site

In what looks like an effort to recruit other vendors, Cisco has published its TrustSec protocol in the form of an IETF Draft. Published here, TrustSec has been given the name the Source-Group Tag Exchange Protocol, or SXP. TrustSec is a security policy management framework that the Borg says lets security managers use plain …
Evil Android

Android VPN redirect vuln now spotted lurking in Kitkat 4.4

Israeli researchers who specialise in ferreting out Android vulns have discovered a new flaw in KitKat 4.4 that allows an attacker to redirect secure VPN traffic to a third-party server. Late in 2013, the Ben Gurion University security researchers first discovered ways to persuade Android to leak data sent using VPN software. …
The Harvard/MITRE nanoFSM

Teeny, tiny state machine could BREATHE NEW LIFE into Moore's Law

A team from Harvard University and the non-profit military contractor The MITRE Corporation are claiming a miniaturisation breakthrough with what they say is the smallest finite state machine ever built. Their “nanoFSM” is, the group claims, “the densest nanoelectronic system ever built”. It comprises hundreds of transistors …
The GMI instrument under test

US, Japan prep new rainfall sat for launch

NASA and Japan's space agency Jaxa are readying a satellite for a late-February launch, to give the world a high-precision global rainfall and snowfall observatory. If all goes well, GPM, the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory, will be hoisted on 27 February on a Jaxa H-IIA rocket from Japan's Tanegashima Space …
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WhisperSystems creates 'suicide pill' for phones

The developers who jumped in early in the “Arab Spring” to create an encrypted communications app for Android have now gone a step further, crafting a geofenced self-destruct that can wipe a phone based on location. WhisperSystems.org's Zones app, which isn't yet ready for prime time but should be released to Google Play soon, …
Hacker baseball cap

Israel defence ministry, contractors phished by mystery attacker

Individuals in the Israeli Ministry of Defence are among the latest to fall victim to phishing attacks that gave attackers access to a number of the nation's government systems. According to UPI, Israeli security vendor Seculert believes as many as 15 machines were compromised earlier this month. The report quotes Seculert's …
Bitcoins

Vice squad cuffs vice chairman of Bitcoin Foundation in $1m money-laundering probe

The Bitcoin Foundation is shy a vice chairman today: US money-laundering investigators have arrested and charged Charlie Shrem, the 24-year-old CEO of one-time Bitcoin exchange BitInstant. Also arrested and charged is Bitcoin trader Robert Faiella, 52, who operated as BTCKing on the underground e-bazaar Silk Road before it was …

Network Solutions apologises for 'You just paid us $1850' email

Domain Name registrar Network Solutions has blamed a backlash over extra fees for secured domains on a “badly worded e-mail”. Customers of Network Solutions recently received an e-mail saying that to combat domain hijacks, “Starting 9:00 AM EST on 2/4/2014, all of your domains will be protected via our WebLock Program”. This …

Google Chrome has voice-snoop bug, claims developer

A frustrated developer claims that Google is sitting on a bug that would expose voice search to eavesdroppers, and has released exploit code on github. Tal Ater, whose speciality is speech recognition, claims in this blog post that a site can plant script in Chrome that will allow an attacker to turn on the microphone of a …
Berkeley's whisker-like wind detector

Here come the CATBOTS: Boffins build 'whisker sensors'

A combination of carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles has created a whisker-like sensor that can detect pressure as small as one Pascal, which they describe as “about the pressure exerted on a table surface by a dollar bill.” The boffins at the Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley (with DARPA support …
Paintings by George W Bush

Celebrity email cracker 'Guccifer' cuffed in Romania: reports

“Guccifer”, the hacker who made celebrity e-mail account hijacks his specialty and first gained notoriety for raiding the inboxes of George H W Bush's family, has reportedly been arrested in Romania. Named as Marcel Lazăr Lehel, Romania Insider reports that he was arrested in Arad after a raid on his home by officers of the …

SimpleAir wins patent suit against Google

Google could be hit with a bill less than one twenty-fifth of what it paid for Nest, after losing a patent lawsuit with minnow SimpleAir. SimpleAir claimed that Android infringed a patent covering push notification over wireless networks, and after a week-long trial in a Texas federal court, a jury has agreed. Separate …
Hubble shot of M82

Amateurs find the 'HOLY GRAIL' supernova – right on our doorstep

Exploding stars aren't an uncommon event in a universe with billions upon billions of stars in billions upon billions of galaxies – but catching an explosion in the act on our galactic doorstep is rare. (Well, 11.5 million light years away is, in astronomical terms, quite close by, and as I'll explain later, the type and …

UK smut filter may have sent game patch to sin-bin

UK gamers believer they're bumping into that country's mandatory ISP-level smut filters, courtesy of a filename that accidentally red-flags the purience-punting grumble-blockers. Courtesy of this Reddit thread, it seems that users trying to download upgrades to the game League of Legends are stalling when they reach files called …
CERNs ASACUSA experiment

CERN boffins fire ANTI-HYDROGEN BEAM

CERN scientists in the ASACUSA experiment have successfully fired a beam of antimatter and “unambiguously” tested it over a 2.7 metre distance. Why is this important? Because it's a lot easier to characterise stuff if you have lots of atoms of it, than if you have to crank them out one at a time. The aim is to use spectroscopy …
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US can't get its hands on Navy hacker Victor Faur, aka SirVic

A Slovenian court has declined America's request to extradite hacker Victor Faur, on the basis that he's already received a sentence in Romania. Faur gained notoriety for breaking into US Navy, NASA and Department of Energy systems in 2005 and 2006. Tried and convicted in Romania, he received a 16 month suspended sentence and a …
Evil Android

Israeli Android researchers demo VPN vulnerability

The Ben Gurion University security researchers who tangled with Samsung over its KitKat security implementation have posted a follow-up, in which they demonstrate how a malicious app could bypass some VPN protections in Android. Back in December, the university's Cyber Security Labs stated that Samsung's Knox implementation was …
University of Rochester's quantum characterisation experiment

Boffins measure 27 quantum states of light

One of the key tenets of quantum mechanics, that it's impossible to measure a quantum state without collapsing the wave function, has taken an arrow to the knee, courtesy of a University of Rochester experiment. Building on work carried out in 2011 at the National Research Council of Canada, the UoR researchers say they've …
The ISS shown transiting the Sun. Pic: Thilo Kranz/DLR

'We don't use UPS. If we did we'd have huge UPSs and tiny computers'

The heatwave-driven outage at the VLSCI supercomputing facility last week could have been worse than it was, with power cuts also a risk, the facility has confirmed. A senior systems administrator at VLSCI, Chris Samuel, has discussed the outage and the lessons learned with The Register. While the reason for the shutdown was …
Skype iPad

Redmond researchers profile Skype scammers

A group of Microsoft researchers has used supervised machine learning to try and improve detection of fraudulent user accounts. With Skype as their test platform, the group says it was able to achieve 68 per cent successful detection of fake accounts within four months of activity, while keeping false positives down to 5 per …
Shot of D-Wave's 16 qubit chip

Boffin benchmark battle after D-Wave quantum kit crawls in test

Yet another attempt to benchmark the D-Wave quantum computer – this time, in its 512 qubit configuration – has come up with disappointing results, with the company responding that it was the wrong kind of test. The work, led by Matthias Troyer of ETH Zurich, pitted a D-Wave Two (the machine that Google bought to much fanfare …
eyeofSauron

F-Secure's Hypponen leads RSA refuseniks to NSA-free infosec chatfest

It was probably inevitable: a group of RSA Conference refuseniks have established a rival conference within walking distance of the original. The one-day TrustyCon, to be held on 27 February at the AMC Metreon Theatre in San Francisco, has drawn Mikko Hypponen as its keynote, giving “The talk I was going to give at RSA”. So far …

Telstra Borgs O2 networks for hit of services oxygen

Melbourne-based O2 Networks is the lucky recipient of a bag of cash from Telstra, which has paid $AU60 million for the business. O2 company has 370 customers and 100 staff, and according to Telstra “has designed, implemented and managed networks for clients including some of Australia’s largest financial institutions and …
Spam

SPAM supposedly spotted leaving the fridge

It's still silly season, it seems. Tell the world that a bunch of small business broadband routers have been compromised and recruited into botnets, and the world yawns. Add in a television or a multi-media centre, and there's a faint flicker of interest – perhaps a raised eyebrow, but not much more. Add in the word “ …
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Java bug burns Borg

Cisco has asked users of its Secure Access Control System 5.5 or lower to implement an urgent patch, as it has spotted several problems with its RMI implementation. There are three independent bugs: one privilege escalation vuln (CVE ID CVE-2014-0649, here), an unauthenticated user access vulnerability (CVE 2014-0648 here), and …
The Bureau of Meteorology's heatwave forecast

'Climate change' event dishes up sous vide supercomputers

Call it climate or call it unusual weather, but last week's five-day heat wave in the Australian city of Melbourne got the sweat running at one of the country's major supercomputing facilities, the Victorian Life Science Computation Initiative (VLSCI). The problem for sysadmins at VLSCI was simple: with temperatures remaining …
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Marvell stuck with $1.17 billion patent bill

Fabless chip vendor Marvell Technology has lost the latest round in its patent battle with Carnegie Mellon University, with a judge denying its bid to have its penalty reduced. The university had sued Marvell over two patents, US 6,201,839 (here) and US 6,438,180 B1 (here), in a complaint first filed in 2009. Marvell lost the …

Telstra, Infinera announce sub fibre build

Infinera has scored another win in Australia, with Telstra announcing that it will deploy the company's Intelligent Transport Network on three key submarine cables. The companies say the rollout will let Australia's incumbent roll 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps Ethernet services on its Endeavour cable (from Australia to the US), …
Quantum amp device

Boffins hampered by the ampere hanker for a quantum answer

The search for a new ampere standard has moved a little further on, with a paper claiming that accurate quantum-level electron generation is feasible. Hans Schumacher of the Federal Institute of Physical and Technical Affairs (PTB) in Braunschweig, Germany, and a group of collaborators, say they have been able to demonstrate “ …
CSIRO optical filter for Solar Orbiter

Optical filters head to Germany for Solar Orbiter build

The European Solar Orbiter project has taken another step towards launch-readiness, with Australia's CSIRO delivering the last of the optical filters that the orbiter needs to image the sun. The spacecraft is due to launch in 2017, and will adopt an orbital distance similar to that of Mercury, which is closer than other …

Oracle spoils your day with NEARLY 150 patches

Systems administrators who decided it would be a quiet week were wrong: Oracle has flicked out more than a hundred security patches, and when you're finished, it'll be time to round up any Blackberry useBs in the company and apply some patches for them. Let's start with Oracle, which among other things is taking another stab at …
Screenshot of Google Crisis Map

Licenses blocking third-party emergency warnings

Last weekend, a fire-storm in the Perth Hills destroyed 55 homes, and today, Victoria is facing fire conditions close to those experienced on “Black Saturday” in 2009 (having already suffered power cuts in the heatwave). In such conditions, emergency services do their best to distribute warning information via their Websites and …

'Toothless' environment protections in secretive global trade pact TPP leaked all over the web

Just days after an Australian government minister declared the Trans-Pacific Partnership “ready to be sealed”, another leak from the Salt Lake City round of talks reveals that the parties can't agree to the environmental chapters of the treaties, even though they're voluntary and largely unenforceable. Whistleblowing website …
Kit Kat Browser fail

Rap for KitKat in crap app wrap trap flap: Android 4.4 is 'meant to work like that'

Google has rebuffed users and devs calling on the internet king to reinstate text wrapping, broken and replaced in Android 4.4 aka KitKat. The problem is that text displayed by web browsers using the WebView component isn't automatically laid out to fit on the screen of devices running the mobile OS, forcing users to zoom out …
TABBY design

Open source project gives cars the Ikea treatment

A successful demo-build video, in which a flat-pack gets turned into a driveable chassis in 41 minutes, has focussed attention on an open-source car project, OSVehicle. The project, which first went public last October, has several aims: vehicle makers could build and ship the kit car as a flat pack with their own individual …