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Chris Williams

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Chris is The Register's US bureau chief based in San Francisco, California. He spends his days hunting for news, writing headlines, editing articles, penning the occasional feature, managing his team, and various other bits and bobs. His PGP public key can be found here on Keybase over HTTPS. Fingerprint: 1FD3 81D9 6344 FC49 9C5F FBC1 0EC6 E70E 3EB7 9D2E

If the Internet of Things scares you now: Cisco's CEO is bent on hooking up robots, EVERYTHING

On Monday, in his first major speech as new CEO of Cisco, Chuck Robbins was clear about one thing. He pretty much wants everything on Earth to be networked and connected together. Big shock, right? Network hardware and software giant wants to sell more network hardware and software. Cisco wants the Internet of Things to be …
Chris Williams, 06 Oct 2015

AMD spray-paints 'Pro A-series for biz' over its Carrizo notebook chips

Intel's human shield from monopoly watchdogs AMD has quietly revealed some processor packages for business PCs. These AMD Pro A-series system-on-chips use the Carrizo design we pored over earlier this year. Carrizo is targeted at notebooks for normal folks, whereas the AMD Pro A-series is going into Windows 10 corporate …
Chris Williams, 30 Sep 2015

Put all your eggs in one basket – and by eggs we mean GPU-heavy apps and by basket, Azure

Microsoft will add a new N-series of virtual machines to its Azure cloud that are boosted by Nvidia's graphics accelerators. It's going to be announced today that people spinning up Windows or Linux in the N-series VMs will be able to access virtualized GPUs in Azure using Nvidia's GRID technology. These virtual machines will …
Chris Williams, 29 Sep 2015

Need discrete encounter with some hardware? Of course, we mean AMD's new Embedded Radeons

When you think AMD, you might think: "Oh yeah, those peeps doing the graphics chips in the Nintendo XboxStation 4." Or maybe: "Err, those peeps, the ones keeping the M word away from Intel and Nvidia." Or perhaps: "Um, the ones El Reg keeps telling us to pray for?" Right now, AMD would like you to think of them as those peeps …
Chris Williams, 29 Sep 2015

Microsoft puts a bullet in blundering D-Link's leaked key that made malware VIPs on PCs

Microsoft has finally revoked D-Link's leaked code-signing key, which gave malware the red carpet treatment on millions of Windows PCs. Last week, it emerged that, for six months between February and September, D-Link exposed its private code-signing key to the world in a firmware download. Anyone who stumbled upon this key …
Chris Williams, 24 Sep 2015
Curiosity selfie as it drills for water

NASA rover coders at Intel's Wind River biz axed – sources

Exclusive Intel-owned Wind River – the maker of the VxWorks software used in NASA rovers, spacecraft, military computer systems, and industry – has laid off a number of its most experienced staff, sources tell The Register. We've learned that some of the engineers hit by this quiet "reduction in force" have been with the Alameda, …
Chris Williams, 24 Sep 2015

Official: North America COMPLETELY OUT of new IPv4 addresses

North America has officially run dry of new IPv4 addresses, the numbers that computers use to find each other on the internet. This means the region can allocate no more of the 32-bit network addresses to web hosting companies, cloud providers, organizations and individuals: they're all taken. The space is full, and it's being …
Chris Williams, 24 Sep 2015

Revealed: Why Amazon, Netflix, Tinder, Airbnb and co plunged offline

Netflix, Tinder, Airbnb and other big names were crippled or thrown offline for millions of people when Amazon suffered what's now revealed to be a cascade of cock-ups. On Sunday, Amazon Web Services (AWS), which powers a good chunk of the internet, broke down and cut off websites from people eager to stream TV, or hookup with …
Chris Williams, 23 Sep 2015

Shattered Skype slowly staggers to its feet after 15-HOUR outage outrage

Microsoft's Skype is slowly righting itself after spending most of the day offline. The video-and-voice call service fell over at about 0800 UTC (0100 PT), and was useless across the UK, the US, Europe, India, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere – pretty much worldwide, it seems. Now, some 15 hours later, it appears Skype is on …
Chris Williams, 22 Sep 2015
Google Chrome 64-bit does not work in the latest WIndows 10 build

Crash Google Chrome with one tiny URL: We cram a probe in this bug

You can crash the latest version of Google Chrome with a simple tiny URL. Just rolling your mouse over it in a page, launching it from another app such as an email client, or pasting it into the address bar, will kill either that tab or the whole browser. It's perfect for pranking friends by sending it to them in emails and …
Chris Williams, 20 Sep 2015

D-Link spilled its private key onto the web – letting malware dress up as Windows apps

Updated Taiwanese networking kit maker D-Link leaked a private code-signing key onto the internet for anyone to download. This is rather embarrassing because this key can be used to trick Windows computers into trusting and running malware. An eagle-eyed netizen told on Thursday that the code-signing key appeared in a …
Chris Williams, 18 Sep 2015

Apple VICTORY: Old Samsung phones not sold any more can't be sold any more

A US appeals court has said that various ancient Samsung phones which aren't being sold any more can't be sold any more, because they infringe an Apple patent. The handsets affected are the Galaxy S3 and some older models dating from 2012 and before. Samsung is now on to the S6, so these aren't exactly piled high in the shops …
Chris Williams, 18 Sep 2015

Patch Bugzilla! Anyone can access your private bugs – including your security vulns

If you or your organization is running Bugzilla, and you're using email-based permissions, make sure you've updated to the latest version – namely 5.0.1, 4.4.10, or 4.2.15. That's because someone's found a way to easily access private bugs in your codebase – such as critical security holes you're still working on to fix. An …
Chris Williams, 17 Sep 2015

SAP CEO McDermott loses AN EYE, almost his life in horror plunge

SAP boss Bill McDermott lost an eye in a freak accident that almost killed him, it emerged on Wednesday. The 54-year-old CEO was walking down stairs at night carrying a glass of water in his left hand when he slipped and landed on the tumbler. McDermott, who was staying with his brother in the US at the time of the spill in …
Chris Williams, 17 Sep 2015

Email reply-all cat-nado drenches Cisco inboxes with pics, memes

Cisco staff endured another storm of internal email on Wednesday after a worker fired off a reply-all message – and hundreds more piled in with cat pictures, memes and more. The cyber-blizzard reminded El Reg of Cisco's great e-tempests of September and October 2013 – what is it with this time of the year, we wonder. In this …
Chris Williams, 17 Sep 2015

Hey, remember Zune? Zune's dead, baby. Zune's dead

Come November, Microsoft is killing off Zune – the very thing that was supposed to kill off the Apple iPod and iTunes. As you may be able to tell, that execution never came about. Redmond thrust its Zune music players at the world in 2006, and kept plugging away at the hardware and online music marketplace even though no one …
Chris Williams, 16 Sep 2015

Microsoft's 'anti-malware Device Guard' in Windows 10: How it works, what you need

Microsoft has published a technical guide to its new Device Guard features in Windows 10 – including how to configure the anti-malware technology, and what hardware you'll need to use it. We first learned of Device Guard in April at the RSA 2015 conference in San Francisco, and then a month later a little more info was teased …
Chris Williams, 16 Sep 2015
VirtualBox 5

Hey, Oracle, what's in that VirtualBox security update? *crickets*

It's not just Microsoft keeping schtum on exactly what's inside its software updates. Oracle is keeping details of security patches for its VirtualBox hypervisor software a secret, members of the Debian team pointed out this week. Back in July, Oracle emitted a big batch of updates for its products, including new features in …
Chris Williams, 15 Sep 2015

Win a free new car – just show Intel how you'd hack your existing one

Intel is getting serious – dead serious, apparently – about car hacking. And nothing says serious like a prize giveaway. If you join Chipzilla's new Automotive Security Review Board and make all the right noises, you can win a free new ride. The chip-baking giant revealed the review board on Monday, and is inviting seasoned …
Chris Williams, 14 Sep 2015
3D Robotics drone in Richard Branson's house

Anti-peeping-tom drone law nixed in California

A law proposed in California that would have banned drones from flying below 350ft over private property without permission has been vetoed by the state's governor. Gov Jerry Brown reckoned the rule would "could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation." In other words …
Chris Williams, 11 Sep 2015

Apple drinks Putin’s Kool-Vodka, shoves Russians' iCloud data into Russia – report

Apple has agreed to store Russians' iCloud accounts in a data center in Russia, it is reported. The Cupertino giant was under pressure to comply with a law passed in December by the Vladimir Putin-led government that demanded Russian citizens' personal data be held within the nation's borders. If the iPhone maker had refused …
Chris Williams, 11 Sep 2015
John McAffee with shotgun

As McAfee runs for US President – we ask a crucial question: Will Reg readers back him?

Poll Now that paranoid playboy John McAfee has personally confirmed to El Reg that he is running for US president, it's time to ask a key question. No, not where his campaign stands on inequality, America's simmering racial tensions, the fate of the middle class, and stuff like that. We need to find out this crucial detail: does …
Chris Williams, 10 Sep 2015

Witness Apple's iPhone-iPad extravapalooza here in our no-hate zone

Commentary Gooooood morning, Pacific America. Today is at last the great day. From 10am today, 1700 UTC, Apple will reveal the new era-defining machinery that will power our lives into the future. Our excitable cousins in the UK are not like us here in San Francisco, California. While we hold hope, they hold scorn. This is now a no-hate …
Chris Williams, 09 Sep 2015

Oh snap! Yap app WhatsApp chaps zap .BAT trap in hack flap

The web version of phone chat app WhatsApp – yes, there's a web version – allowed internet lowlifes to fire off malware at potentially millions of PCs, apparently. WhatsApp Web runs in your browser, and allows you to message friends and follow conversations just as you would on your mobe. We're told Check Point security …
Chris Williams, 08 Sep 2015

Is John McAfee running for US president? 'My campaign manager told me not to comment'

Updated Move over, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It appears paranoid wild man of computer security John McAfee is running for US President. The website popped up on Tuesday, as well as a Twitter account for McAfee For President. The site was linked to from McAfee's official social media accounts before the posts …
Chris Williams, 08 Sep 2015

ARM wants you to jump into mbed with it – IoT open-source OS in beta

Chip blueprint scribbler ARM has released some of the source code for its first public beta of mbed, its operating system for the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is today's fancy word for embedded engineering, and ARM is all over that latter space: the tiny and relatively simple processor cores it designs are used …
Chris Williams, 08 Sep 2015

Google tells iOS 9 app devs: Switch off HTTPS if you want that sweet sweet ad money from us

Google has told iOS 9 app developers to disable Apple's enforcement of HTTPS-only connections – or their in-app Google ads won't show up on up-to-date iPhones and iPads. Apple has added what it calls App Transport Security (ATS) to iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, which ensures software only uses encrypted connections when talking to …
Chris Williams, 27 Aug 2015

Nano – meet her: AMD's Radeon R9 4K graphics card for non-totally bonkers gamers, people

Pics AMD will today launch the Radeon R9 Nano, a beefy graphics card designed to run comfortably inside tight spaces. It's aimed at people who want to build small-case PCs fitted with mini-ITX motherboards and relatively dinky power supplies: such setups need a GPU card that can do as much as possible without overloading the PSU or …
Chris Williams, 27 Aug 2015

Blueprints revealed: Oracle crams Sparc M7 and InfiniBand into cheaper 'Sonoma' chips

Hot Chips 2015 Oracle revealed on Monday the details of its new bargain-basement Sparc processor code-named Sonoma. The blueprints were shown at this year's Hot Chips semiconductor conference in Cupertino, California – and we've got a copy of the slides. Sonoma is billed as a "low-cost Sparc processor for enterprise workloads," that you're …
Chris Williams, 24 Aug 2015

A magic bracelet that unlocks PCs, dancing robot spiders, and more in Intel's circus

IDF15 It's party time at Intel. The mixtape is in the deck. The beers are chilling in tub. The chip giant has 99 per cent of the data-center market. Its profits in a single quarter can slip a few per cent, and still stand at $2.7bn. AMD is still AMD. What has Intel got to worry about? OK, mobiles, PCs, laptops, and tablets are …
Chris Williams, 19 Aug 2015

Another root hole in OS X. We know it, you know it, the bad people know it – and no patch exists

If you're using OS X Yosemite, watch out for malware exploiting a new way to take complete control of your Mac. A vulnerability has been found in Apple's operating system that allows ordinary software on the computer to gain all-powerful root privileges, allowing dodgy apps to install new programs, create users, delete users, …
Chris Williams, 18 Aug 2015
The Register in Edge

Microsoft pushes us closer to the Edge: Test new web browser now in free Windows 10 VMs

Microsoft is offering free downloads of Windows 10 virtual machines so people can test Edge, the web browser bundled with the new OS. The software giant provides VMs for Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP right the way through to IE 11 on Windows 8.1. Now it's produced VM images for Windows 10, complete with Edge, the Internet …
Chris Williams, 17 Aug 2015

CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS

Analysis Lenovo has sold laptops bundled with unremovable software that features a bonus exploitable security vulnerability. If the crapware is deleted, or the hard drive wiped and Windows reinstalled from scratch, the laptop's firmware will quietly and automatically reinstall Lenovo's software on the next boot-up. Built into the …
Chris Williams, 12 Aug 2015

Power10 ... 2020 ... 10nm – suddenly IBM snaps awake, scribbles notes

IBM is dreaming of rolling out Power10 chips using a 10nm process size from 2020, it has emerged. This is rather telling: this means that even though Big Blue has boasted that it has cracked the 7nm barrier, we're not likely to see any IBM chips using that process size until 2023 at the earliest. Back to the Power10 …
Chris Williams, 11 Aug 2015

Intel emits Skylake CPUs for gamers, overclockers (Psst, you'll need new RAM and a new mobo)

Intel has announced the first two processors using its new Skylake microarchitecture: the Core i5-6600K and the Core i7-6700K. Both of these 14nm chips are aimed at desktop PC gamers and people still overclocking their machines. The components form an outrider party for Skylake as more chips using the microarchitecture are due …
Chris Williams, 06 Aug 2015

Mac fans! Don't run any old guff from the web: Malware spotted exploiting OS X root bug

The amusing vulnerability in Apple's OS X that grants administrator-level access to anyone who asks is being exploited in the wild by malware. Yeah, malware exists for Macs, this isn't the 1990s. Anyone logged in to a vulnerable OS X computer, or any software running on it, can use the security hole to gain the same privileges …
Chris Williams, 04 Aug 2015

If you installed Windows 10 and like privacy, you checked the defaults, right? Oh dear

Here's a quick FYI: if you installed Windows 10, and in a rush to try out Microsoft's new operating system, you clicked through the default settings without looking, you may want to look again. If you value your privacy, or have a distrust of Microsoft, you probably want to make sure some or all of the settings are flipped to …
Chris Williams, 03 Aug 2015

HP insists 'we don't have a global dress code' – while deleting one from its website

HP Enterprise's head of HR says his company does not have a "global" dress code, while his minions quietly remove a webpage on workplace appearance from Last week, The Register reported that some R&D teams within HP Enterprise Services were told in a confidential internal memo to smarten up in the office. With …
Chris Williams, 31 Jul 2015
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Ultrabook

Intel tests definition of insanity with (leaked) typoslab Skylake CPUs

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. And it appears Intel is testing that definition – if these internal Intel Powerpoint slides that made their way to a blog called FanlessTech this month are the real thing. The slides suggest that Intel is still plugging …
Chris Williams, 28 Jul 2015

HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Exclusive Troubled HP has hit upon what it thinks is a terrific idea to revive its fortunes: tell techies to leave their T-shirts and shorts at home and obey the corporate "smart casual" dress code instead. Some R&D teams within HP Enterprise Services were sent a confidential memo this week reminding them to follow the IT giant's rules …
Chris Williams, 24 Jul 2015
Sad Anonymous

US Census Bureau IT systems hacked, data leaked by Anonymous

Anonymous hackers have swiped databases from servers used by the US Census Bureau, and dumped their contents online. The bureau, as you might imagine, collects information on the American population every 10 years – although the leaked data does not include citizens' census records. The purloined bureau databases include the …
Chris Williams, 23 Jul 2015

Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

Code dive You can bypass Apple's space-age security and gain administrator-level privileges on an OS X Yosemite Mac using code that fits in a tweet. Yosemite, aka version 10.10, is the latest stable release of the Mac operating system, so a lot of people are affected by this vulnerability. The security bug can be exploited by a logged- …
Chris Williams, 22 Jul 2015

Microsoft: Hey, you. Done patching Windows this month? WRONG

Microsoft is urging everyone to install an emergency security update for all supported versions of Windows to fix a remote-code execution vulnerability. Details of the vulnerability were found and reported to Microsoft by security researchers poring over internal memos leaked online from spyware-maker Hacking Team. This …
Chris Williams, 20 Jul 2015

Google, Adobe barricade Flash against hacker hordes – we peek inside

Google's team of computer security gurus have described the anti-hacker defenses they've helped Adobe add to Flash Player. It's hoped that these mechanisms will thwart or frustrate miscreants' attempts to exploit programming bugs in the software, and thus hopefully prevent attackers from hijacking victims' PCs and Macs. The …
Chris Williams, 17 Jul 2015
Malware image

Wicked WikiLeaks leaks considered harmful: Alert over malware lurking in dumped docs

Documents laced with malware have been found in's cache of files obtained from hacked CIA wannabe Stratfor. Intelligence biz Stratfor was ransacked by Jeremy Hammond in late 2011, and its email archives passed to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in early 2012. The Julian Assange™-led organization soon began …
Chris Williams, 17 Jul 2015
Apple logo on glass fronted building. Licensed under cc0 / editorial use only

Ex-Apple bods suing Apple for bag searches get class-action upgrade

Two former Apple Store staffers suing Apple for searching their bags at work for possible stolen gear have upgraded their legal challenge to a wide-ranging class-action lawsuit. Judge William Alsup approved the class-action status in California's northern district court in San Francisco on Thursday. It means the lawsuit, …
Chris Williams, 17 Jul 2015
Haswell E5-2600 series die

Intel TOCK BLOCK: 10nm Cannonlake delayed to 2017, bonus 14nm Kaby Lake to '16

Intel has surprised the IT world by changing its plans. Let's break down what's happened. At IDF in 2013, Chipzilla boasted that it could get processors fabricated using a groundbreaking 10-nanometer process onto the market by 2015. It later pushed that date to 2016, and on Wednesday of this week it pushed the new chips back …
Chris Williams, 16 Jul 2015

China reveals home-grown supercomputer chips after Intel x86 ban

ISC 2015 Computer design guru Yutong Lu has outlined her blueprints for China's homegrown supercomputer chips following a US ban on Intel processor exports to the Middle Kingdom. In April it emerged that Uncle Sam had forbidden Intel from shipping high-end Xeon and Xeon Phi parts to China's defense labs and other areas of its …
Chris Williams, 15 Jul 2015
Homer Simpson reading on a tablet

Adobe: We REALLY are taking Flash security seriously – honest

Adobe insists it is working hard to boost the security defenses in its pilloried Flash Player. The Photoshop giant, based in San Jose, California, says it is making an "extensive" push to secure its plugin before another wave of vulnerabilities are revealed in the software. We're told that, as a result of "recent developments …
Chris Williams, 14 Jul 2015

Flash HOLED AGAIN TWICE below waterline in fresh Hacking Team reveals

Updated Two more serious Adobe Flash vulnerabilities have emerged from the leaked Hacking Team files, ones which allow malefactors to take over computers remotely – and crooks are apparently already exploiting at least one of them to infect machines. The use-after-free() programming flaws, for which no patches exist, are identified as …
Chris Williams, 12 Jul 2015