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Phil Muncaster

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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

Naver raver charged over 25 MEEELLION account breach palaver

A 31-year-old South Korean has been charged with using stolen personal information to hack the online accounts of 25 million users of the country’s popular Naver portal. The Asian nation’s National Police Agency said the suspect purchased the data – including names, addresses, internet IDs and passwords – back in August last …
Phil Muncaster, 27 Mar 2014

Terminator-maker 'Cyberdyne Inc' lists on Tokyo stock exchange

El Reg readers of a more fatalistic disposition may be dismayed, but probably not surprised, to hear that Cyberdyne - the company that invented Skynet and ultimately the murderous "Terminator" machines - has just listed on the Tokyo stock exchange. Of course, it’s not the shadowy defence firm of the iconic Arnie films, which …
Phil Muncaster, 27 Mar 2014
cloud

Microsoft switches on Azure in China

Microsoft stole a march on its cloudy rivals today by announcing its Azure cloud services are available in China. Redmond revealed as far back as May 2013 that it had signed a deal with local player 21Vianet to provide Azure in the Middle Kingdom, and it has been around in beta for a few months. However, this week will see the …
Phil Muncaster, 27 Mar 2014
channel_partners_deal_handshake

New-wave offshorers present exotic new risks

A need to drive down costs is forcing many multinationals to look at emerging Asian offshore locations such as Indonesia and Vietnam, but IP security and privacy concerns continue to hold them back, according to a new report. Gartner’s Leading Locations for Offshore Services in Asia/Pacific 2014 report, paints a mixed picture. …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Mar 2014
Spam

Chinese cops cuff 1,500 in fake base station spam raid

China’s police have arrested over 1,500 people on suspicion of using fake base stations to send out mobile SMS spam. The current crackdown, began in February, according to Reuters. Citing a Ministry of Public Security missive, the newswire says a group operating in north-east Liaoning province, bordering North Korea, is …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Mar 2014
Kim Dotcom

Dotcom's Mega looks for a backdoor onto NZ stock exchange

Kim Dotcom’s cloud storage business Mega Ltd has announced plans to go public with a NZ$210 million (£109m) backdoor listing on the New Zealand stock exchange, which will open the firm up to a whole new level of scrutiny. Backdoor listings are usually enacted by smaller firms looking to go public without the cost and hassle of …
Phil Muncaster, 25 Mar 2014
LG Vu

Blinking good: LG launches smart light bulb for Android/iOS

LG has launched the Smart Lamp, a hi-tech light bulb which can be controlled by smartphone that looks to have the potential to both secure an office and liven up the Christmas party held within its walls. The Smart Lamp is a 60W LED light bulb which can communicate with iOS 6.0 and above or Android 4.3 and above smartphones by …
Phil Muncaster, 25 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Turkey's farcical Twitter ban leads to SPIKE in tweets

The volume of messages sent Turkish Twitter users may have grown by over 130 per cent as users turn to a range of workarounds to circumvent a government banimposed late last week The ban initially appeared to come in the form of a DNS redirect from the country’s ISPs. This took users to a statement explaining that Twitter is …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Mar 2014

Michelle Obama speaks out against censorship ... in China

Michelle Obama veered away from the usual niceties of matrimonial diplomacy on Saturday by arguing in a speech at Peking University that internet freedom should be a universal right. FLOTUS is in China with her mother and daughters on a week-long tour designed to build closer ties between the world’s two superpowers and their …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Mar 2014
Great Wall of China

India's outsourcers look east with eyes on Asian tigers

Indian IT services group Nasscom is turning its attention eastwards with a focus on China, Japan and other previously untapped markets in an attempt to maintain the industry’s double-digit growth. The country’s outsourcers have historically focused their efforts on customers in the UK and US, but president R Chandrasekhar said …
Phil Muncaster, 21 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

BLUE BIRD DOWN: Turkey wipes out Twitter 'scourge'

Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan appears to have ordered Twitter be blocked in the nation after the service was used to post information alleging government corruption. Turkish users trying to load Twitter.com were taken to a page with a statement from the local telecoms regulator TIB, according to Reuters. The statement …
Phil Muncaster, 21 Mar 2014
Viz Profanisaurus mobile app screenshot

The Reg's guide to cursing in Mongolian

The Mongolian government this week released guidelines on over 700 keywords which are now banned for websites in the country, and in so doing revealed to the world one of the most inventive list of swearwords since Roger’s Profanisaurus. The list of 774 Russian, Mongolian and English words published by the country’s telecoms …
Phil Muncaster, 21 Mar 2014
Great Wall of China

Bing accused of out-censoring the Great Firewall

Microsoft is facing another PR battle after a rights group accused Bing of more heavy-handed censorship in China than even homegrown search engine Baidu shackles its users with. Despite claiming to remove results as “narrowly as possible” in order to comply with Chinese censorship laws, Microsoft is actually blocking a “vast …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Mar 2014
Samsung logo

Say CHEESE: Samsung files patent for transparent camera

Korean electronics giant Samsung appears to be upping its efforts to crack the digital camera market after a patent filing emerged detailing designs for a compact camera with a completely transparent display. The filing with the Korean Intellectual Property Rights Service (KIPRS), seen by the Wall Street Journal, describes the …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Mar 2014

'Zotob' hacker 'Diabl0' arrested in Bangkok after three-year hunt

Farid Essebar, aka Diabl0, has finally been arrested by Bangkok police after three years on the run, on suspicion of causing $4bn worth of damage to Swiss banking systems. The 27-year-old Moroccan, who has a Russian passport, was nabbed by police from the the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), as well as officials from …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Sorry Dick: 3 reasons why Twitter will NEVER be unblocked in China

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is in China this week visiting the country but rumours of the microblogging platform’s resurrection there have been greatly exaggerated. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the Middle Kingdom since 2009, when the government claimed they had been used by protesters to organise ahead of deadly anti- …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014

Kick us as hard as you like, RIGHT IN THE CYBERS, says Japan

Japan will today follow the UK’s lead by carrying out a major cyber security drill which will see ethical hackers attempt to infiltrate and disrupt 21 government departments. The drill is designed to test the country’s emergency response capabilities to the full as Tokyo prepares to host the games in 2020. London carried out a …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014
Nikon D600

China's annual TV smear segment drags Nikon's name through the mud

Nikon is braced for weeks of fun after it was targeted by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV in an annual consumer complaints show which last year forced a grovelling apology from Apple. The investigative program “3.15” broadcast a special edition last Saturday to coincide with World Consumer Rights Day, however it’s often used to …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014

China chastises cheeky chirpers with WeChat clampdown

China’s censors appear to have turned their focus onto Tencent’s popular WeChat messaging platform, suspending and blocking several widely read public accounts in a bid to control online discussions. At least 12 accounts, some of which had hundreds of thousands of followers, were suspended last week and replaced with the …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Mar 2014

MtGox remedy worse than the disease says Kaspersky researcher

A 700MB file that hackers claimed contains valuable database information on bankrupted MtGox is actually hiding Bitcoin wallet file-stealing malware, researchers have warned. Kaspersky Lab’s Sergey Lozhkin claimed in a blog post last Friday that the entire data leak story, which emerged after MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles had his blog …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Mar 2014