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Phil Muncaster

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Grumpy cat

'Demon Killer' who tied SD card to cat pleads not guilty

An ex-IT bod accused of masquerading as hacker "Demon Killer" to infiltrate PCs and send out a string of murderous threats in 2012 has protested his innocence at the opening of his trial in Tokyo District Court. Yusuke Katayama, who was an employee at an unnamed technology company, was finally nabbed in February 2013 after …
Phil Muncaster, 13 Feb 2014
Intel Edison

Intel Labs 'geeks' flash Edison kit to El Reg: We do it for the BIRDS

Intel’s recent Edison launch was much more than a tilt at the burgeoning wearables space – Chipzilla has been working on designs for everything from a smart birdfeeder to a paper notebook on which the user can compose emails, according to a chief boffin. Dr Randolph Wang is chief scientist at Intel Labs China, where he had up to …
Phil Muncaster, 12 Feb 2014
Doctor Who: The Robots of Death

Google, Foxconn team to build ROBOT ARMY

Contract manufacturer and long time Apple-assembler-extraordinaire Foxconn is now helping Google achieve its ambitious plans in the robotics space, according to the Wall Street Journal. The two firms have apparently been working on something since last year. People familiar with the matter told the paper that Google’s new robot …
Phil Muncaster, 12 Feb 2014

Chinese mobe-makers in pincer movement to corner Qualcomm

China’s mobile phone industry has turned up the heat on Qualcomm after submitting a damning report to government regulators in an on-going antitrust investigation into the US chip giant. China’s Communications Industry Association, consulted 20 out of its 30 key member companies before submitting its findings to the National …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Feb 2014
Photo of Kim Jong-un using an archaic computer

North Korea to switch on the interwebs

North Korea has agreed to allow internet access within its borders, or at least within the bounds of an industrial park run jointly with firms from the South. Pyongyang officials have agreed to open a business centre in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the first half of the year, which will initially house 20 internet-connected …
Phil Muncaster, 11 Feb 2014

James Dyson plans ROBOT ARMY to take over the world

British vacuum cleaner wizard James Dyson is sticking £5m into a new project with Imperial College London (ICL) designed to produce robots that can help out with household chores. His eponymous company will stump up some of the cash for the lab over five years, with another £3m coming from elsewhere. Some 15 scientists, …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Feb 2014

Gamers in a flap as Vietnamese dev pulls Flappy Bird

The Vietnamese developer of hugely popular smartphone game Flappy Bird hit the self-destruct button on the title over the weekend after complaining that it had ruined his life. In a message that has now been retweeted over 135,000 times, Hanoi-based Dong Nguyen wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday: “I am sorry 'Flappy Bird' users …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Feb 2014

Indian internet tunnelers trump Chinese web deniers

Asia accounts for four of the world’s top five VPN-using countries, although Indian netizens are more likely to hide their location than those in China, according to new research. Out of 28 per cent of global users who tunnel through the internet, only one fifth do so because they don’t want to be spotted by government snoopers …
Phil Muncaster, 07 Feb 2014
iPhone 4

Apple RESURRECTS the iPhone 4: report

Apple has “revived” the production of iPhone 4 handsets in India, Indonesia and Brazil in a bid to claw back lost ground on Samsung and grab an extra slice of the mid-market in these fast growing regions. Three senior execs “with direct knowledge of the company’s plan” told India’s Economic Times that Apple’s management on the …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Feb 2014
Barbed wire surrounding communications tower

New Delhi accuses Huawei of nobbling ZTE kit at state-owned telco

Huawei is facing renewed scrutiny in India after the government confirmed it has set-up a cross-departmental team to investigate allegations the firm sabotaged the network of state-owned telco BSNL. Comms and IT minister T. Killi Kruparani told India’s lower house the Lok Sabah on Wednesday (via PTI): An incident about alleged …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Feb 2014
hand with thumb up

Japanese investment company looks to snap off Sony's PC arm

Sony could be set to offload its Vaio PC business to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners after the firm refused to deny a report by local news service Nikkei that a ¥50 billon (£302m) deal is imminent. The buyout firm would create a new company for Sony to sell its PC business to – for anywhere between ¥40-50bn. Under the …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Feb 2014
Grannote fujitsu laptop notebook elderly old users

Fujitsu launches lappie for oldies

Fujitsu has taken a plunge into the grey market by launching a notebook designed specifically for the over 60s. The aptly named “Grannote” is aimed at “active, mature adults” and will debut in Japan on February 13. The Lifebook AH90/P lappie has been fitted with some extra features to make it easier for old folks to use. …
Phil Muncaster, 05 Feb 2014

Lenovo hires ex-CIA bod to push through Moto deal

Lenovo has hired former CIA and Homeland Security legal wonks to help push through its deals to buy Motorola Mobility and IBM’s x86 server business with US regulators, according to Bloomberg. The Chinese outfit is spending $US5 billion on the two big name acquisitions to become a top three player in both markets. People …
Phil Muncaster, 05 Feb 2014

Foxconn mulls US expansion as States compete for business

Contract manufacturing giant Foxconn could be set for a major expansion into the US, although not with the low-cost, labour intensive factories that have defined its presence in China. Chairman Terry Gou told reporters at the group’s annual Chinese New Year party on Sunday that “the US is a must-go market”, according to Reuters …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Jan 2014

Cops cuff alleged email hackers in GLOBAL bust

The FBI is claiming a major success after co-ordinating the arrest of alleged email hackers-for-hire in the US, Romania, India and China. Those behind bars are alleged to have been responsible for compromising nearly 9,000 email accounts between them in cases dating back to 2011. The Feds said they cuffed Mark Anthony Townsend …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Jan 2014
Sony Vaio T13

Sony on the ropes after Moody's downgrade to junk

Sony got off to a terrible start to the week on Monday after credit ratings company Moody’s downgraded its status to junk thanks to the continuing poor performance of its TV and PC business. Moody’s Japan said it lowered Sony’s issuer rating and long-term senior unsecured bond rating from Baa3 to Ba1. Junk status means a bond is …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Jan 2014
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung profits deflate after mobile division runs out of puff

Global smartphone leader Samsung took a knock on Friday after releasing Q4 financials that show a drop in profits of 11 per cent from the previous three months – its first quarterly decline in two years. The Korean giant said net profits stood at 7.3tr won (£4bn) for the fourth quarter, while operating profit was 8.31tr won (£5. …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Jan 2014
DNA

Sony pumps cash into gene-wrangling joint venture

PlayStation purveyor Sony wants to be remembered for more than overpriced electronics and massive data breaches, having just launched a joint venture in the field of genome research. The electronics giant has teamed up with medical firm M3, in which Sony is already the majority investor, and US biz Illumina, which makes genome- …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Jan 2014

China cuffs 60,000 pirates in 2013 crackdown

Police in China arrested just shy of 60,000 people suspected of copyright abuses last year, in cases worth 173 billion yuan (£17bn). A total of 59,222 perps involved in 55,180 cases were cuffed in 2013, according to Ministry of Public Security stats revealed by state-run newswire Xinhua. Some 1,260 criminal networks were …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Jan 2014
Suitcase bulging with cash

India says HP and Infosys used window dressing to shrink tax bills

India's tax authorities believe Infosys and HP owe it lots and lots of unpaid taxes. Despite a New Delhi statement last year which was thought to have reprieved several IT companies from additional tax demands, the Income Tax department has now begun to reassess what’s owed by Infosys and HP. The taxman’s beef is that the …
Phil Muncaster, 23 Jan 2014
hand with thumb up

Singapore itching to hire new IT pros

Things are looking up for ex-pat IT pros on the hunt for jobs in Singapore, with confidence about growth levels in the city state’s technology sector through the roof, according to a new skills report. Recruiter Robert Half’s latest employment report for Singapore collected info from over 400 business leaders. It revealed that …
Phil Muncaster, 23 Jan 2014

Philippine govt to hacktivists: Please don't hit your shiny new site

The Philippine government has come up with a novel approach to combatting the hacktivist threat: ask any cyber ne’er-do-wells politely but firmly to stay away from their web sites. The call came on Monday at a press briefing to discuss the government’s new open data initiative. Open Data Philippines was launched by president …
Phil Muncaster, 22 Jan 2014
HP Omni 27 all-in-one desktop PC

'Asian growth will save PC sales' theory goes down in flames

The APAC PC market suffered its biggest ever yearly decline of 10 per cent in 2013 and the 108 million unit total for sales was made to look good by major government spending in India, according to IDC. It’s been a tough year all round for the region (excluding Japan) and Q4 was no different, struggling over the line with a nine …
Phil Muncaster, 22 Jan 2014

Bottom falls out of Nokia's network rump

Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) is facing a 19 per cent drop in sales for the last quarter and an even bigger challenge for the coming 12 months: how to win enough new biz to support a company soon to be shorn of its handset division. NSN will comprise the majority of the company once the sale of the Finnish giant’s once- …
Phil Muncaster, 21 Jan 2014

EFF claims Vietnam targeted its staff with spear phishing attack

Advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned of an uptick in targeted malware attacks by “state-aligned actors” in Vietnam against foreign activists and journalists. In a blog post this week the group complained of a new campaign targeting its own staff – the first of its kind. A suspicious looking email …
Phil Muncaster, 21 Jan 2014
india

Indian minister's wife found dead after Twitter rampage

The wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor has been found dead in a luxury New Delhi hotel room just days after she took to Twitter to expose her husband’s alleged infidelity. It will apparently take a couple of days to determine the cause of Sunanda Pushkar’s death but one of the forensic specialist's involved has already …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Jan 2014

Nearly HALF of South Korea hacked in insider data theft

The personal details of as many as 20 million South Koreans may have been exposed after an employee at a credit ratings firm was arrested on suspicion of selling the records to marketing firms. The temporary consultant, who worked at the Korea Credit Bureau (KCB), is suspected of lifting the data from the servers of KB Kookmin …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Jan 2014
Google

Google grabs slice of interwebs for EVERYONE (who speaks Japanese)

Google has announced its first successful move into new gTLDs with the launch of .みんな for the Japanese market. The registration is the world’s first open top-level domain in hiragana, one of the three scripts used to read and write Japanese, according to the web giant. Written in the Roman alphabet as “minna”, the word …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Jan 2014

Bitcoin's so over. We're mining Primeco... Oh SNAP, my box is a ZOMBIE!

Security experts have warned crypto-currency fans of malware hidden in certain miners for Bitcoin-alike cryptocurrency Primecoin. The malicious Primecoin miners were found on various Chinese sites and torrents by Panda Security researcher Mehrdad Yazdizadeh. "Primecoin miners are written in Python and other scripting languages …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Jan 2014

Microsoft confirms: Staff inboxes hijacked amid 'Syrian army' cyber-blitz

Microsoft has finally admitted that an attack on two of its Twitter accounts and an official blog by a pro-Assad hacking group last weekend also compromised internal emails. The Syrian Electronic Army posted to its Twitter feed several screenshots of emails purportedly belonging to Microsoft employees including Steve Clayton, …
Phil Muncaster, 16 Jan 2014
Huawei Shenzhen headquarters

Huawei dismisses NSA backdoor claims as profits soar

It’s been a mixed week for Chinese telecoms giant Huawei after the firm announced impressive financials but was forced again to deny allegations of security weaknesses in its products. The device and telecoms kit maker announced its unaudited financials on Wednesday, claiming sales revenue for 2013 will reach between 238 billion …
Phil Muncaster, 16 Jan 2014
Hong Kong taxi typhoon flood

Hong Kong’s mobile-mad cabbies told to ditch dashboard devices

Hong Kong’s taxi drivers may soon have to give up on the common practice of driving with multiple smartphones attached to the dashboard, after a union branded it dangerous. The Urban Taxi Drivers Association Joint Committee said that the handsets not only make it difficult for cabbies to see the road properly but also distract …
Phil Muncaster, 15 Jan 2014
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Samsung targets South Korean army recruits

Electronics giant Samsung has enlisted the help of an unusual ally in its on-going recruitment efforts: the South Korean army. The country’s pre-eminent chaebol has agreed to pick 100 soldiers from a shortlist of 150 for a four month software training program, it told the Wall Street Journal. Anyone who has graduated from high …
Phil Muncaster, 15 Jan 2014
Lenovo Smartphone S2

Lenovo: It could be YEARS before a US smartphone launch

Chinese hardware giant Lenovo appears to be delaying its plans for a US smartphone launch, after executives at CES last week dampened previous claims from the firm that it would happen in 2014. CEO Yang Yuanqing told the Wall Street Journal back in May 2013 that he expected the company to launch a smartphone business Stateside “ …
Phil Muncaster, 13 Jan 2014

Microsoft Twitter accounts, blog hijacked by SEA

Microsoft had two Twitter accounts and an official blog compromised over the weekend in another embarrassing security incident for the Redmond giant. Attackers claiming to belong to pro-Assad group the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) managed to crack the @MSFTnews and @XboxSupport accounts on Saturday and post various messages hash …
Phil Muncaster, 13 Jan 2014

China ALSO building encryption-cracking quantum computer

It’s not just the NSA that’s said to be working on a quantum computer – China is also pulling out all the stops to beat its arch rival with a crypto-cracking machine of its own. The National Natural Science Foundation of China funded 90 quantum-based projects in 2013, with the order from Beijing to get the job done irrespective …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Jan 2014

Don't panic! Japan to send nuke fuel rod into MELTDOWN in Fukushima probe

Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) will deliberately send a nuclear fuel rod into meltdown after April this year in a bid to learn more about the events leading up to the Fukushima disaster of March 2011. The experiment will take place at the Nuclear Safety Research Reactor in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, in order to give …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Jan 2014
Sliced Bread

Pakistani retail chain bakes DEEELICIOUS Android mobes

Pakistan could be about to get a delicious new domestic smartphone brand after sources close to retailer Gourmet Foods claimed the firm is planning an imminent launch in the mobile business. Those unnamed sources told TechInAsia that the food retailer is prepping a low-cost Java handset and an Android 4.2-based smartphone for …
Phil Muncaster, 09 Jan 2014
Smartphone user on Tube

Tizen: We have ignition! Smartmobes will come to fruition in spring - reports

Smartphones based on the long-awaited Tizen operating system will finally be unveiled in the next couple of months, according to new reports. Unnamed sources at some of the companies involved in the project told Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun that there’d be an “announcement” on a release date for a Samsung phone based on the OS …
Phil Muncaster, 09 Jan 2014

Apple lifts skirt, flashes leg at shoppers on Chinese web mall

Apple has taken the unprecedented step of touting its wares on a third party e-commerce platform in a bid to step up sales in China, with the launch of a TMall storefront. A spokesperson for parent company Alibaba confirmed to The Reg that the Apple Store at apple.tmall.com is an official Cupertino venture. The news comes on …
Phil Muncaster, 08 Jan 2014

OpenSUSE forums hacked in ANOTHER vBulletin attack

Linux distro openSUSE’s public forums have been compromised and defaced and tens of thousands of user email addresses exposed after a hacker exploited a zero day flaw in the underlying vBulletin software. OpenSUSE responded quickly to media reports about the breach on Tuesday by admitting the successful exploit had allowed the …
Phil Muncaster, 08 Jan 2014
Mobile Gaming

China finally lifts 13 YEAR gaming ban

China has officially overturned a 13-year ban on gaming consoles by allowing the production and sale of “gaming entertainment” in the newly created Shanghai Free Trade Zone. The official pronouncement by the State Council on Monday will open the way for foreign companies like Microsoft and Sony to sell their wares nationwide …
Phil Muncaster, 07 Jan 2014

NASSCOM appoints new boss to corral India's outsourcers

India’s all-powerful IT body NASSCOM has appointed a new head honcho to guide the industry to hoped-for revenues of $US300 billion (£183bn) by 2020. Former Indian telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar took the reins as president on Monday from the outgoing Som Mittal, who served from 2007. Unsurprisingly, he struck an optimistic …
Phil Muncaster, 07 Jan 2014
yulong Coolpad China smartphone logo

China's Coolpad predicts 40 MEEELLION 4G sales in 2014

Little-known Chinese smartphone maker Yulong has set its sights on global leader Samsung with the bold claim it will ship 40 million 4G handsets domestically this year under the Coolpad brand. The firm hopes to sell a further 20 million 3G smartphones in the Middle Kingdom in 2014, according to a microblog post seen by Reuters …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Jan 2014

Hong Kong to welcome planet's second EVER Bitcoin ATM

Hong Kong is set to make waves in the crypto-currency industry after it was revealed as the location for the world’s second Bitcoin ATM. Robocoin Technologies CEO Jordan Kelley told the South China Morning Post the company is looking at several potential sites in the Chinese SAR. "I think Hong Kong is a very progressive …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Jan 2014
lutetium rare earths element

China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

China is set to consolidate most of its sprawling rare earth industry under government control in a bid to better manage production and clamp down on smuggling and unlicensed players. An Economic Information Daily report claimed that a planned six state-run groups would control the majority of production in a country which is …
Phil Muncaster, 06 Jan 2014
Smartphone user on Tube

Used all your mobile data? Why not buy your mate's excess bits?

China Mobile has come up with a rather interesting way to help out customers who run out of data before the end of the month – a new trading platform which allows other customers to sell data bundles they haven’t used. The 2nd exchange market, aka "2cm", is a new app which the operator’s Hong Kong 4G Pro Service Plan customers …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Dec 2013
india

World's cheapest tablet just got CHEAPER

The world’s cheapest tablet is about to get even cheaper after Indian telecoms minister Kapil Sibal announced the subsidised Aakash 4 will eventually ship for just Rs.1,500 (£14). The Aakash project was originally conceived by New Delhi in 2011 as a way to get computing devices in the hands of millions of students across the sub …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Dec 2013

China's central bank hit by DDoS after Bitcoin blitz

Angry Bitcoin users are suspected of DDoS-ing the website of China’s central bank following tough new restrictions it levied this week which appear to have forced the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange into meltdown. Chinese news site 163.com (via The Diplomat) claimed that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) web site and weibo …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Dec 2013
datawind aakash 2 ubislate tablet

Datawind's low cost Aakash tab comes to UK, US

Datawind, the British company behind India’s low-cost Aakash tablet, is spreading its wings with the launch of the device in the UK this week and plans to sell in bricks and mortar stores in the US early next year. The firm’s UbiSlate 7Ci, the commercial name for the Aakash 2 tablet created to meet the needs of Indian students, …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Dec 2013