Chris Williams

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Chris is The Register's US bureau chief based in San Francisco, California. He writes about chips and code. You can contact him securely using his public PGP key [ A57B 6DAC 2FDD 335A 4A81 8654 7EF3 24FC 8FF5 C9E7 ] and look him up online at or on or Twitter.

ARM: Hold my beer, we'll install patches for your crappy IoT gear for you

ARM TechCon Processor designer ARM will squirt security fixes directly into internet-connected gadgets to hopefully keep them defended from hackers. Manufacturers of Internet-of-Things gizmos and other embedded products have complained that updating gear in the field is too much hard work. That means devices are rarely patched when …
Chris Williams, 25 Oct 2016

SUSE: Question. What do you call second-place in ARM enterprise server linux? Answer: Red Hat

ARM TechCon SUSE is claiming victory over Red Hat by announcing – and these caveats are all crucial – "the first commercial enterprise Linux distribution optimized for ARM AArch64 architecture servers." In plainer English, SUSE has developed an enterprise-grade Linux distribution that runs on 64-bit ARM servers (should you happen to ever …
Chris Williams, 25 Oct 2016

Cohesity COO Riccardo Di Blasio cut loose by board after HR probe

Exclusive Cohesity has parted ways with its chief operating officer, Riccardo Di Blasio, one year after he joined the startup. The firm supplies a software platform to converge all secondary storage into a single repository. It was founded in 2013 by Mohit Aron, its CEO, and has had two rounds of funding for a total of $70m. We …
head of 50s-style robot

Today the web was broken by countless hacked devices – your 60-second summary

Updated Today a vast army of hijacked internet-connected devices – from security cameras and video recorders to home routers – turned on their owners and broke a big chunk of the web. Compromised machines, following orders from as-yet unknown masterminds, threw massive amounts of junk traffic at servers operated by US-based Dyn, which …
Chris Williams, 21 Oct 2016
AMD CEO Lisa Su speaking at the firm's 2015 financial analyst day

AMD is a rounding error on Intel's spreadsheet and that sucks for us all

On Tuesday, Intel said it expects to bank in the final quarter of the year $15.7bn in sales, plus or minus $500m. That's a billion-dollar swing. Two days later, on Thursday, AMD proudly revealed that its entire revenue for the three months to September 24 was $1.3bn. Just over a billion dollars. AMD is little more than …
Chris Williams, 21 Oct 2016

Intel stock falls on glum Q4

Intel's share price is down 5.22 per cent to $35.78 apiece in after-hours trading today after the biz predicted a slightly less rosy fourth quarter than expected. Analysts had hoped Chipzilla would promise to deliver a $16.1bn quarter in the final three months of the year – the processor giant instead said it's aiming to bag $ …
Chris Williams, 19 Oct 2016
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

New Snapdragons coming

Qualcomm has crafted three new ARM-compatible Snapdragon system-on-chips. These aren't the next-gen 800-series processors you may be expecting for 2017's top-of-the-line Android smartphones – instead they're extensions to Qualy's mid- and lower-tier designs. There's the new Snapdragon 653 which is a slightly faster version of …
Chris Williams, 18 Oct 2016

Samsung to fab 10nm FinFET SoCs for next year's exploding phones

Pocket explosives maker Samsung claims it has started the "mass production" of the world's first 10nm FinFET system-on-chips. These SoCs are expected to be next-generation Samsung-designed Exynos chips, and possibly Qualcomm Snapdragons, which are at the heart of today's ARM-powered Android handhelds. The South Korean giant, …
Chris Williams, 17 Oct 2016

How a chunk of the web disappeared this week: GlobalSign's global HTTPS snafu explained

GlobalSign has performed a postmortem examination on how, as one of the world's root certificate authorities, it managed to break a chunk of the web. The New Hampshire, US-based biz has to date sold 2.5 million SSL/TLS certificates to websites around the world. This week, it inadvertently smashed its own chain of trust: it …
Chris Williams, 15 Oct 2016

Google: We look forward to running non-Intel processors in our cloud

Google has gently increased pressure on Intel – its main source for data-center processors – by saying it is "looking forward" to using chips from IBM and other semiconductor rivals. The web advertising giant said it hopes to use a mix of "architectures within our cloud" in the future. Back in April, Google revealed it had …
Chris Williams, 15 Oct 2016

Intel: New x86 AI instructions

Intel is adding new x86 instructions ideal for machine-learning applications to its upcoming Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors. The instructions are part of the AVX-512 family: they are described by Chipzilla as "vector instructions for deep learning" with enhanced word-variable precision and single precision floating-point …
Chris Williams, 15 Oct 2016

GlobalSign screw-up cancels top websites' HTTPS certificates

Final update GlobalSign's efforts as a root certificate authority have gone TITSUP this afternoon – that's a total inability to support usual protocols. The result is that many websites big and small have had their HTTPS certificates incorrectly scrapped, meaning that for some people their browsers no longer trust websites and refuse or …
Credit: Richard Reininger / Next Thing Co

Pocket C.H.I.P. makers go Pro with cloud-linked ARM-flexing module for IoT gizmo builders

Pics The team behind the popular $9 C.H.I.P. single-board-computer has come up with a version for engineers, startups, and larger organizations to embed in their products. Essentially, if you're an aspiring gadget maker and you want to stick a small Linux-flavored computer into your thing and sell it, the C.H.I.P. Pro aims to be …
Chris Williams, 11 Oct 2016
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Qualcomm eyes NXP lunch

California chip designer Qualcomm is considering buying Netherlands-based NXP for something like $30bn, allegedly. We're warned that the deal could fall through, and if it does happen, it could be done and dusted within the next two to three months. Qualcomm designs system-on-chips and modem components for smartphones and …
Chris Williams, 29 Sep 2016

Double KO! Capcom's Street Fighter V installs hidden rootkit on PCs

A fresh update for Capcom's Street Fighter V for PCs includes a knock-out move: a secret rootkit that gives any installed application kernel-level privileges. This means any malicious software on the system can poke a dodgy driver installed by SFV to completely take over the Windows machine. Capcom claims it uses the driver to …
Chris Williams, 23 Sep 2016
SimpliVity VMworld 2014 McLaren car giveaway

ARM emits Cortex-R52

ARM has emitted the Cortex-R52, a microcontroller-class core for safety-critical, real-time applications, such as vehicle systems and robotics. Self-driving cars are all the rage these days, and ARM couldn't resist the hype, spinning the R52 as something ideal for autonomous autos. But the R52 is a simple beast and doesn't …
Chris Williams, 23 Sep 2016
Photo by 360b / Shutterstock

Despite IANA storm, ICANN shows just why it shouldn't be allowed to take over internet's critical functions

Internet overseer ICANN has responded to allegations of mismanagement, opaque decision-making, and an institutional lack of accountability by launching a review. That review, however, will not touch on the most serious charges leveled at the organization, including the fact that its staff deliberately misled companies seeking …
Chris Williams, 22 Sep 2016
Oracle's cloud plan

Spoiler alert: What Oracle is going to announce today

OpenWorld It's that time of the year again. Oracle's OpenWorld is in San Francisco. Supremo Larry Ellison has given his Sunday keynote. Here's a summary of what the database giant is going to reveal today in easily digestible chunks. And, yeah, warning: everything is now cloud. Anything you'd call an application or a software service is …
Chris Williams, 19 Sep 2016

Let's Encrypt won its Comodo trademark battle – but now fan tools must rename

Popular Bash shell script, which is used to manage free SSL/TLS certificates from the Let's Encrypt project, has renamed this week to avoid a trademark row. This comes in the wake of Let's Encrypt successfully fending off Comodo, which tried to cynically snatch "Let's Encrypt" for itself., …
Chris Williams, 18 Sep 2016

iPhone 7's Qualcomm, Intel soap opera dumps a carrier lock-out on us

Analysis Love rat Apple two-times its long-suffering squeeze Qualcomm with dishy Intel – and it's going to keep the baby but only let some of us see it. Over a cheap bottle of chardonnay one dark night in Cupertino, Intel wooed Apple with flimsy promises. The pair felt a connection (around the 1.9GHz mark) after the iPhone maker opened …
Chris Williams, 18 Sep 2016
Apple iPhone 6s

T-Mobile USA: DON'T install Apple's iOS 10, for the love of God

Updated Don't install Apple's new iOS 10 on your iPhone 6, 6+ or SE, warns T-Mobile US, or you'll suffer knackered connectivity. In the past hour, the American cell network blasted out texts to its subscribers urging them to hold off on upgrading. And it tweeted publicly to raise the alarm, telling people to stay away from the …
Chris Williams, 15 Sep 2016

It's OK for the FBI's fake hacks to hack suspects' PCs, says DoJ watchdog

No rules were broken when an FBI agent posed as a journalist to infect a criminal suspect's PC with spyware, says a US watchdog. And the Feds can do it again, provided they get the undercover operation signed off by their higher-ups. Way back in June 2007, 15-year-old Charles Jenkins used a Gmail account to send a bomb threat …
Chris Williams, 15 Sep 2016

$200k Android bug contest

Google has launched a new contest offering $200,000 to whoever can first find and report a remote-code execution bug in Android. Second place will get $100,000, and third at least $50,000. "The goal of this contest is to find a vulnerability or bug chain that achieves remote code execution on multiple Android devices knowing …
Chris Williams, 14 Sep 2016

Bug of the month: Cache flow problem crashes Samsung phone apps

It's not been a good summer for Samsung. It packed its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones with detonating batteries, sparking a global recall. And its whizzy Exynos 8890 processor, which powers the Note 7 and the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, is tripping up apps with seemingly bizarre crashes – from null pointers to illegal instruction …
Chris Williams, 13 Sep 2016

Bad news: MySQL can dish out root access to cunning miscreants

Updated Security holes in MySQL can be abused to gain remote root access on poorly configured servers, it emerged on Monday. Patches to fix up the programming blunders were quietly released last week. The flaws are present in all default installations of MySQL 5.5, 5.6 and 5.7. Grab versions 5.5.52, 5.6.33 and 5.7.15 to avoid any …
Chris Williams, 13 Sep 2016