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Phil Muncaster

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Reg man says '拜拜' to Honkers, ponders Asia's future role in tech world

Phil Muncaster, The Reg's man in Hong Kong, has said his final '拜拜' - that's bye-bye in simplified Chinese - to the special administrative region. Before he moved on, we asked him to assess his two-and-a-bit years covering Asia's technology industries. Here's his assessment on where Asia sits in the technology world. – Ed. Over …
Phil Muncaster, 06 May 2014
Escalator Stairs

Acer founder Shih to step down for second time next month

Stan Shih, chairman and founder of ailing PC maker Acer, is set to retire next month as the company continues to try and claw back market share and force its way into the global top three. Shih, 69, will leave the company on June 18, the same day shareholders meet to elect a successor, according to Reuters. He is apparently …
Phil Muncaster, 05 May 2014
FAIL

Script fools n00b hackers into hacking themselves

Security experts have warned Facebook users in India not to fall for a new scam which tricks victims into “self cross-site scripting” by promising access to a tool which will let them hack their friends’ accounts. Symantec security response manager Satnam Narang revealed in a blog entry that a post began circulating last week on …
Phil Muncaster, 02 May 2014

Sony on the ropes after revising losses UP to $1.3 BEEELLION

Japanese electronics stalwart Sony has posted a preliminary net income loss of ¥130 billion ($1.3bn, £770m) for the year to March 31, 2014 – its third downward revision in less than 12 months, and another blow to CEO Kazuo Hirai’s attempts to turn the company around. The figure [PDF] was significantly worse than the ¥110bn (£ …
Phil Muncaster, 02 May 2014

FBI floats $5 MEELLION bounty for alleged Chinese WMD purveyor

The US State Department has offered a $5m bounty for information leading to the arrest of Chinese businessman Li Fangwei for his alleged role as a major supplier of ballistic missile technology to Iran. The latest efforts are part of a major push by the Treasury, Justice, Commerce and State departments to get their hands on Li …
Phil Muncaster, 30 Apr 2014
Handshake

Japan, Europe to shake hands on China-deterring tech deals

Japan looks set to sign a number of agreements with Western allies in the coming weeks, in what appears to be a series of moves designed to keep China in check militarily and in cyber space. A Tokyo official said on Tuesday that PM Shinzo Abe is planning to finalise a deal with French president Francois Hollande next week which …
Phil Muncaster, 30 Apr 2014

HP's Whitman rues 'biggest failure' at eBay Japan

HP supremo Meg Whitman has admitted that one of her biggest mis-steps in business (to date) was eBay's failure to make its mark in Japan during the 1990s. The tat bazaar had only 30 employees and revenues of around $US4 million when Whitman arrived in 1998. At that time, Japan was the second largest internet market in the world …
Phil Muncaster, 30 Apr 2014

China's customs cops grab 76 MEEELLION tech products

Chinese customs cops claim to have confiscated a whopping 76 million items thought to have broken copyright laws last year, many of them electronics, highlighting the persistent problems associated with IPR in the Middle Kingdom. Some 98 per cent of the goods – accounted for in 20,464 batches – violated trademark rights, the …
Phil Muncaster, 29 Apr 2014
Japan Display's 5.5-inch, 2,560-by-1,440-pixel, 538-ppi display

Top mobe panel maker Japan Display slashes profit forecast

The world’s biggest smartphone-and-tablet screen-maker Japan Display has seen its share price tumble to record lows after it was forced to cut profit estimates for the year by nearly 11 per cent. The LCD joint venture - which comprises the display units from Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba – said in a note on Monday that it was …
Phil Muncaster, 29 Apr 2014
Sina Weibo logo

Great-firewall-busting microblog app puts AWS in China's firing line

The team behind anti-censorship body Greatfire.org has launched an Android app promising unfettered access to all Weibo content, in what it claims is a major step towards circumventing the Great Firewall for Chinese users. Launched back in 2012, FreeWeibo is effectively an uncensored version of the country’s most popular …
Phil Muncaster, 29 Apr 2014

So far, so SOPA: Web campaigners to protest world's biggest ever free trade deal

Internet activists are planning a major on- and offline protest at what has been described as a "secretive, SOPA-like" agreement being hammered out as the world's largest economies attempt to agree the world's biggest ever free trade deal. They argue the pact will lead to greater web censorship, even though talks between the US …
Phil Muncaster, 25 Apr 2014
Sina Weibo logo

Beijing's anti-smut crackdown catches 'Chinese Twitter' Weibo red-handed

Sina, the company that owns China’s über-popular Twitter-like service Weibo, has had two key licences withdrawn by Beijing in retaliation for allegedly allowing the publication of articles and videos containing pornographic content. A missive from the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications seen by Xinhua …
Phil Muncaster, 25 Apr 2014
NASA 'Blue Marble' image of Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft

Japan plans SEVEN satellite launches to supercharge GPS

Japan is set to fire seven satellites into orbit over the coming years as part of plans to enhance GPS so locations can be pin-pointed to within centimetres rather than metres. The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) project began back in 2010 with the launch of QZS-1 “Michibiki”, and engineers at contractor Mitsubishi Electric …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Apr 2014

APAC PC sales plummet 11 per cent after political upheaval

Global PC growth engine APAC suffered a record eighth consecutive quarterly decline in the first three months of 2014 thanks to political upheaval in the region and the continued popularity of smartphones and tablets, according to IDC. The analyst’s preliminary APAC (ex Japan) PC shipment stats for the period revealed an 11 per …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Apr 2014
Viber logo

Researchers slurp unencrypted Viber messaging data with ease

Popular Whatsapp-like messaging service Viber is exposing users to man-in-the-middle and other attacks because it isn’t encrypting various data at rest and in transit, security researchers have warned. The mobile app allows users to send each other messages, videos, images and “doodles”, share GPS location details and make voice …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Apr 2014
Counterfeit iPhone shop, Shenzhen, China

Cross-border kids used as Easter iPhone MULES in China

Cross-border school kids as young as 10-years-old are being used as mules to smuggle iPhones and other electronic gadgetry from Hong Kong into China where they can be sold at a premium. Customs officers found five cases of electronic devices inside students’ backpacks during the Easter holidays on Saturday, according to Hong …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Apr 2014

Japanese boffin EYES up big bucks with strap-on digi-glasses

A Japanese boffin has unveiled a novel way of catching some kip at work without your colleagues finding out – a pair of OLED “glasses” designed to act as digital eyes. The bizarre invention, dubbed AgencyGlass, was invented by Tsukuba university researcher Hirotaka Osawa. It features two small OLED screens fixed to a spectacles …
Phil Muncaster, 23 Apr 2014

Japan airport staff dash to replace passcodes after security cock-up

The dangers of writing passwords down on paper were laid bare in the Japanese airport of Haneda this week after a member of staff managed to lose a note containing key security codes ahead of US president Barack Obama’s arrival today. The unlucky Skymark Airlines employee dropped the memo – which contained a list of the codes – …
Phil Muncaster, 23 Apr 2014

HTC mulls swoop for Nokia's MASSIVE Chennai plant

HTC could be in the market for Nokia’s troubled Chennai manufacturing plant in India – as the chances of a smooth transfer of the factory to Microsoft are increasingly remote. The Taiwanese handset maker’s CFO, Chia-Lin Chang, told the Economic Times that if the facility were to go on sale, HTC would consider a purchase in a bid …
Phil Muncaster, 22 Apr 2014
Kim Jong-un

Sleuths find nosy NORKS drones on the Chinternet

At least one of the suspected North Korean drones found after crashing south of the 38th parallel appears to have been made by a Chinese aviation company. Taiyuan Navigation Friend Aviation Technology is a small UAV-maker based in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province – a little over 1,000 kilometres from Pyongyang as the crow …
Phil Muncaster, 22 Apr 2014

MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

Boffins at MIT have mooted a new concept for nuclear power plants which would see the entire facility towed several miles out to sea and moored in a similar way to offshore oil and gas platforms. The proposals would see nuke power plants built in shipyards and then moored or anchored a few miles off the coast, linked to the …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Apr 2014

Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen

Fruity toy maker Apple’s next iPhone looks like it will definitely have a significantly bigger screen, if you believe the latest images to have found their way onto the Chinternet. One shot, which appeared on Sina Weibo (via VR-Zone), shows a front panel purportedly from the currently in-production iPhone 6 dwarfing a black …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Apr 2014

Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

Lavaboom, a German-based and supposedly NSA-proof email service, will go into private beta this week. Its mission is to spread the Edward Snowden gospel by making encrypted email accessible to all. Although it has been referred to in various parts of the interwebs as an heir to Lavabit, the now-defunct encrypted email service …
Phil Muncaster, 16 Apr 2014
Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS

The much-hyped fingerprint scanner on Samsung’s flagship handset the Galaxy S5 can be fooled just days after the device was launched. Researchers at Germany’s Security Research Labs (SRLabs) publicised their findings in a YouTube clip. According to the narrator, the scanner was hoodwinked "under lab conditions, but is based on …
Phil Muncaster, 16 Apr 2014
The Moon

German space centre endures cyber attack

Germany’s space research centre in Cologne has been the victim of a co-ordinated and covert targeted attack carried out by state-sponsored hackers, according to a Der Spiegel report. The paper's report says that last Sunday the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) contacted the National Cyber Defence Centre in Bonn after it found …
Phil Muncaster, 15 Apr 2014

Pakistan mulls cyber security bill to keep NSA at bay

Pakistan’s Upper House this week began debating a new bill seeking to establish a National Cyber Security Council, an agency the nation feels is needed in the wake of Edward Snowden's myriad revelations about NSA surveillance. The Cyber Security Council Bill 2014 was presented by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Monday with the …
Phil Muncaster, 15 Apr 2014
Handshake

Fujitsu and Panasonic about to walk down LSI aisle

Fujitsu Semiconductor and Panasonic are ready to jointly launch a new chip company this autumn as part of the duo’s plans to merge their LSI businesses, according to reports. The new venture will have ¥50 billion (£294m) in funding, with Fujitsu chipping in ¥20bn, Panasonic ¥10bn and the Development Bank of Japan stumping up the …
Phil Muncaster, 15 Apr 2014
Nokia Lumia 520

Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees

Nokia has decided to allow an unspecified number of employees at its massive Chennai plant take voluntary retirement (VRS), as it battles local tax authorities and an April 30 deadline for transferring the factory to Microsoft. The Finnish handset maker issued the following statement on Friday, seen by PTI: As a global company …
Phil Muncaster, 14 Apr 2014
Slick looking picture of  xiaomi's Mi3 Android smartphone

'China's Apple' heading to Asia and Latin America

China's smartphone darling Xiaomi has revealed ambitious expansion plans that will see the Beijing-based firm launch across Asia and Latin America. Xiaomi Global VP and former Googler Hugo Barra told the audience at the China 2.0 forum in Beijing last Friday that the firm would soon be expanding into Malaysia, Indonesia, the …
Phil Muncaster, 14 Apr 2014
Thumbs Up Desktop Phone

Japanese schoolkids arrested in £2.4 MEEELLION phone fraud bust

Three Japanese high school students have been arrested on suspicion of running a telephone fraud ring which may have netted them as much as ¥408 million (£2.4m). The 17-year-olds are thought to have carried out a string of crimes known in Japan as Ore ore (“It’s me”) fraud. Typically targeting the elderly, the fraudster will …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Apr 2014
india

India second only to US in Google user data requests

The Indian government submitted more user data retrieval requests than any other Asian nation in 2013 and came second only to the US globally, according to the latest stats from Google released this week. The Chocolate Factory’s updated Transparency Report, summarised neatly by Statista (via Mashable), shows the US some way out …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Apr 2014

One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work

The Chinese operatives behind two major advanced persistent threat (APT) groups have fully resumed their activities despite being exposed publically last year, in a sign that diplomatic efforts by the US aren’t working, according to Mandiant. The FireEye-owned company said in its M-Trends report that over the past year it has …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Apr 2014
Suitcase bulging with cash

Indonesia considers smartphone tax to spur local mobe-makers

In a move which won’t go down well with foreign smartphone-makers the Indonesian government is planning to levy a 20 per cent tax on all imported mobile phones, in a bid to support domestically made handsets. The luxury goods sales tax (PPnBM) was originally to be levied only on smartmobes costing above Rp 5 million (£260). …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Apr 2014
management regulation1

Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit

Just when it thought the dark days were behind it, camera purveyor Olympus has been slapped with a ¥28 billion (£160m) lawsuit from six trust banks over a long running accounting scandal. In a brief note on the company’s website, Olympus said it had received notice from the banks’ lawyers that they are seeking ¥27.9bn in …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Apr 2014

Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India

Who needs China? Facebook this week announced that its active user base in India passed 100 million – the first country to do so since the US of A. The Social Network's VP of “growth”, Javier Olivan, said that the social network would now work with the mobile industry to nudge that figure up to one billion, according to local …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Apr 2014
Kim Jong-un

NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android

North Korea’s first “home-grown” smartphone, revealed with much pride and hyperbole by state media last year, appears to be little more than a made-in-China piece of landfill Android. In news which will come as little surprise to anyone outside the hermit kingdom, a Japanese blogger (via GSM Insider) managed to get hold of the …
Phil Muncaster, 09 Apr 2014
China's Tianahe-1A Supercomputer

Russia, India aim to dislodge China from No 1 on top of the 'flops

Russia and India may be about to join forces in taking on a common adversary: China and its floptastic Tianhe-2 beast which currently sits atop the Top 500 supercomputer list. Boris Shabanov of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) has invited a group from the Indian Institute of Science and local Karnataka lawmakers to discuss …
Phil Muncaster, 09 Apr 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Right, Turkey – elections are over. You can use Twitter again

The Turkish government has finally lifted its ban on Twitter after a largely unsuccessful attempt at state-sponsored censorship in the run-up to key local elections held last Sunday. Prime minister Tayyip Erdogan’s administration blocked the popular microblogging platform a fortnight ago after complaining of a smear campaign …
Phil Muncaster, 04 Apr 2014
putin topless

ICANN boss: 'Russia and China will NOT take over interwebs'

ICANN boss Fadi Chehadé appeared before a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday in an attempt to reassure troubled lawmakers that China and Russia will not take control of the internet once the US government pulls out in 2015. "Do you really think that Vladimir Putin ... can't figure out some way to get control? China …
Phil Muncaster, 03 Apr 2014
Shenzhen downtown

Intel's Shenzhen cash-splash signals mobile push

Intel reaffirmed its commitment to China at IDF on Wednesday by announcing a new Shenzhen-based innovation centre and a $100 million fund both designed to promote and accelerate the development of Intel-based devices in the country. Chipzilla chose symbolically to host this year’s developer forum in the global manufacturing hub …
Phil Muncaster, 03 Apr 2014

MtGox boss Karpeles ordered to Dallas to face bankruptcy probe

MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles has been ordered by a judge to return to the US to face questions over his bankruptcy filing with a Dallas court and how 750,000 Bitcoins went AWOL. Bankruptcy judge Stacey Jernigan ruled that Karpeles must appear at the Dallas office of his lawyers Baker & McKenzie on 17th April. This is ahead of a May …
Phil Muncaster, 02 Apr 2014
Predator drone, credit Wikipedia

Crashed NORKS drones discovered by South Korea

South Korean has recovered two crashed drones over the past week which it suspects have been used by Pyongyang spooks to spy on key locations including president Park Geun-hye’s official residence. The Korean army is currently examining a UAV fitted with a digital camera which was found on Baengnyeong island in the Yellow Sea …
Phil Muncaster, 02 Apr 2014

Asia's internet in peril as cable network breaks in TWO places

Asia Pacific’s internet traffic is likely to be up the spout until mid-April after a key pan-regional undersea cable system suffered damage in two places. The news was revealed on the Facebook page of Asian telco giant the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (via TechInAsia). It said that the Asia Pacific Cable Network ( …
Phil Muncaster, 01 Apr 2014
Huawei campus Shenzhen

Huawei rakes in £2 BEEELLION in profits

Chinese tech success story and NSA spy target Huawei has seen profits jump by a third over the past year to 21 billion yuan (£2bn) on the back of strong growth from its enterprise and consumer businesses. The Shenzhen-headquartered firm cemented its place as one of the Middle Kingdom’s most internationally successful technology …
Phil Muncaster, 01 Apr 2014
Great Wall of China

China's CERT blames US for a THIRD of all attacks on Middle Kingdom PCs

China’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CNCERT) has claimed in a new report that backdoor attacks on systems jumped by over 50 per cent over the past year, and once again fingered the US as the main culprit in 2013. The CERT announced the findings of its latest annual report on its website. It claimed that 15,000 "hosts" …
Phil Muncaster, 31 Mar 2014
Mushroom cloud schematic

Tokyo to TXT warning of incoming Norks nukes

The Japanese government will launch a new service on Tuesday designed to notify users of the country’s three major phone networks if they are facing an imminent inbound missile strike. The new alert system will be co-ordinated by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and is most likely a response to the threat of attack by …
Phil Muncaster, 31 Mar 2014

Google confirms Turkish ISPs 'intercepted' its DNS service

Google confirmed over the weekend that its Domain Name System (DNS) service has been “intercepted” by Turkish ISPs after government orders to block Twitter. Software engineer Steve Carstensen revealed in a brief blog post that the web giant had confirmed with its own research previous reports about the Twitter ban which began on …
Phil Muncaster, 31 Mar 2014

YouTube follows Twitter onto Turkey's block list

YouTube appears to be the latest site added to Turkey’s blacklist after reports emerged that the government has blocked it in response to a “villainous” audio file uploaded to the platform this week. The authorities said on Thursday they had taken an “administrative measure” to block the popular video sharing site. The clip in …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Mar 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

Bitcoin bloodbath as China shutters all trading sites

China’s central bank has ruled that all banks and payment service providers in the country must cease dealing in Bitcoin. The ruling, effective from April 15th, basically shutters all Bitcoin trading sites in the Middle Kingdom and means cash purchases will soon be the only way to buy into the virtual currency. The People’s …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Mar 2014
management regulation1

China's rare earth supply crimp plan ruled to be illegal

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled in favour of the EU, US and Japan in their dispute against what they described as China’s unfair rare earth export rules. The WTO agreed to begin the investigation back in 2012 after complaints from the three that China was trying to push up prices and restrict exports by imposing …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Mar 2014