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

Vid 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