Shaun Nichols

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Top VW exec blames car pollution cheatware scandal on 'a couple of software engineers'

Volkswagen America CEO Michael Horn has played the "rogue employee" card to explain how and why his cars' engine software cheated in pollution tests. While being grilled by the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Thursday, Horn said he only learned of the existence of the so-called emissions-hoodwinking "defeat device …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Oct 2015

Furious LastPass fans fear password wrangler's fate amid LogMeIn's gobble

LastPass has been acquired by LogMeIn, and people are deeply unhappy about the deal. The password manager announced on Friday that it was being gobbled up by the remote-desktop software biz LogMeIn for $125m. It's expected that the deal will close over the next several weeks. LogMeIn didn't provide details about what it would …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015
Elon Musk

Who gets Teslas made and throws Apple shade? It's… MUSK!

Billionaire business mogul Elon Musk is taking some time away from his electric car and space exploration ventures to slag off Apple. Speaking in an interview with Germany's Handelsblatt Global Edition, the Tesla founder said that employees who left the automaker to take up positions in Apple were anything but important pieces …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015

Cops must get a warrant before raiding phones, email, etc (in California)

California has passed a law requiring police to obtain a warrant before searching phones, tablets, and other electronic devices, and accounts in cloud services, too. This even includes Stingray devices, which are cellphone masts that officers set up to track and monitor people by their mobiles. Governor Jerry Brown on …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015

TRANSISTOR-GATE-GATE: Apple admits some iPhone 6Ses crappier than others

Apple has confessed that some iPhone 6Ses have worse battery life than others because their processors are made by two different chip bakers. The Cupertino giant said in a statement on Thursday that the handsets using TSMC-built 16nm A9 processors will have a slightly longer battery life than those powered by Samsung-built …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015
Amazon Web Services

AWS throws the lever on monster 2TB X1 for in-memory databases

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unleashed a handful of new service options on the second day of its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Among the announcements are additions to both the high and low ends of the EC2 cloud compute service. For companies looking to run in-memory databases on AWS, EC2 will now offer the X1 instance …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Oct 2015

America's top courts may have to prove how truly dull they are by law

Four members of the US Congress will unveil a law bill on Thursday that would ensure hearings in the nation's highest courts are streamed online. Dubbed the Eyes on the Courts Act [PDF], the bill asks that both the US Supreme Court and Circuit Courts of Appeal allow their proceedings to be recorded and shown online. The bill …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Oct 2015
AWS Snowball appliance

Disk boxes, security tools, etc: What Amazon announced at its AWS shindig on Wednesday

Amazon Web Services (AWS) kicked off its annual re:Invent conference on Wednesday with the introduction of a handful of new additions to its cloud computing service. The rollout includes a tool to test apps for security flaws, plus a business intelligence (BI) service, and a new way to physically toss data into Amazon's cloud …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Oct 2015
AOL logos

Verizon now owns AOL, so AOL now owns your web browsing habits, other personal info

US telco giant Verizon has given notice it will be providing information on its subscribers to AOL for targeted advertising. A notice in Verizon's privacy policy warns users that beginning next month, information such as device information, addresses and whereabouts, and browsing habits, will be given to AOL so it can sling …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Oct 2015

Shutterbug drone biz fined $1.9m for buzzing New York City, Chicago

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has slapped a record fine on a photography company accused of conducting more than five dozen unauthorized drone flights. The FAA said it wants to dock SkyPan International $1.9m for flying drones over the skies of New York City and Chicago without permission. The fine will be the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Oct 2015
Road block

AD-NNIHILATION: Apple-approved iOS tool blocks ALL ads in apps, Safari, Apple News

A new tool approved by Apple and added to the iOS App Store blocks ads in Safari – and, if you trust the tool's makers, even in-app ads and banners in Apple's own software. Dubbed Been, the software relies on the content-blocking features of iOS 9 to kill off adverts and trackers in Safari – the web browser on iPhones, iPads …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Oct 2015
sony semiconductors

Sony prepares to lop off semiconductor biz

Sony is reorganizing its devices division, and spinning off its semiconductor business. The Japanese electronics giant said that on April 1, 2016, Sony Semiconductor Solutions will begin operating as its own business with manufacturing, R&D, and sales operations. The new business will continue to operate as part of the Sony …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Oct 2015
Android 6 Marshmallow Logo

Chocolate Factory plops Marshmallow on Android slabs

Google has posted the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for its Nexus devices. The Chocolate Factory said on Monday that the Nexus 5, 6, and 7 (2013 model) and the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will all be getting Marshmallow as an over-the-air update. The upcoming Nexus 5X and 6P will also ship with Marshmallow pre-installed, and …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Oct 2015

Lawyers win big in LinkedIn's $13m email spam lawsuit (you might get $10, maybe more)

Lawyers tasked with doling out LinkedIn's $13m "Add Connections" class-action settlement are advising people to collect their share of the payout. The settlement [PDF] was agreed to last month in a California court, and ends a two-year legal fight over the social network's Add Connections feature. The website must pay out the …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Oct 2015

Pocket mobe butt dialing clogs up 911 emergency calls, says Google

Researchers with Google have found that accidental "butt dial" calls from mobile phones are creating a headache for emergency call centers. A study published this month by Google's 911 research team found that from 2012-2014, the number of accidental wireless calls to emergency operators has increased, as has the time spent …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Oct 2015

T-Mobile US hires someone other than bungling Experian to offer ID theft monitoring to hack victims

First, Experian was hacked by criminals, and its sensitive records on 15 million people who applied for T-Mobile US phone contracts were stolen. Then, bafflingly, Experian was hired by T-Mobile US to provide identity theft and credit monitoring for those caught up in the security breach. Now the telco will let people pick …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Oct 2015

Alleged $32m Gemcoin crypto-bucks scam busted by Feds

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it has broken up an investment scam that defrauded citizens out of $32m by promising to mine minerals out of the ground – and pay out profits in cryptocurrency. The SEC has lobbed fraud charges at Steve Chen and 13 companies associated with Chen, alleging he raised $32m by …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Oct 2015

Hey techies! Ever wanted to adopt a Congresscritter? Now's your chance

A former US congressional staffer has created a campaign to put people with technology backgrounds in a position to work with US lawmakers. The Tech Congress fellowship would put people with backgrounds in computer science and engineering on Capitol Hill working with members of congress and congressional committees to help …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Oct 2015

15 MILLION T-Mobile US customer records swiped by hackers

Experian's servers have been hacked – and now sensitive files on 15 million people who applied for T-Mobile US contracts have fallen into the wrong hands. In a letter published today, T-Mob boss John Legere said miscreants got hold of the database Experian uses when performing credit checks on folks enrolling for phone …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Oct 2015

Want cheaper AT&T gigabit service? Move to a Google Fiber city

Disturbing content Competition works: AT&T has been found to be charging less for its gigabit broadband service in cities where it has to compete with Google Fiber. A report by Consumerist analysts noted that AT&T varies the prices on its 1Gbps Gigapower service depending on where it's rolled out – and the correlation between the lower rates was …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Oct 2015
Apple TV teardown

Tear teardown down, roars Apple: iFixit app yanked from store

DIY repair biz iFixit says it can no longer offer its iOS mobile app, thanks to a ban from Apple. iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens wrote in a blog post that Apple had pulled his company's developer account due to a terms and conditions violation and, as a result, the iFixit iOS app had also been taken down from the App Store. According …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Oct 2015
Bug eating an apple

Apple fixes iOS 9.0.2 passcode loophole, kills 101 OS X security bugs

Apple has posted a trio of software updates to address major security flaws in its OS X and iOS operating systems. For iOS, the 9.0.2 update will include a fix for a highly publicized security flaw with passcodes: someone can bypass the passcode screen on iPhones and iPads using Siri's voice commands to access photos and …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Sep 2015

Flaky Flickr's pic upload faulty for weeks, fume fed-up photographers

Some users of Yahoo!'s photo-sharing site Flickr have been struggling or unable to upload photos to the site for several weeks. The Flickr support forums are full of complaints from people – mostly in the UK – who have been unable to upload their snaps to Flickr. Flickr is constantly timing out when uploads are attempted. The …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Sep 2015

Raytheon: Ho hum, another day, another $1bn cyber-security contract with Uncle Sam

Defense contractor Raytheon said it will be providing IT security for more than 100 US government agencies in a deal valued at upwards of $1bn. Raytheon said the billion-dollar contract, reportedly set to run for five to seven years, will include development and support of cybersecurity protections for the Department of …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Sep 2015

Web ad tried to make my iPhone spaff a premium-rate text, says snapper

A bloke in Scotland reckons a dodgy web advert tried to trick him into sending a text message from his iPhone to a premium-rate number. It's feared more unscrupulous ad networks could use the same technique to trip up Apple fans and rack up larger than expected phone bills. Andrew Smith – an ex-Reg writer, news photographer, …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Sep 2015
Uber - living the dream

Uber's double Dutch moment: Cops raid offices a second time

Ride-booking app-maker Uber once again finds itself in the crosshairs of police in the Netherlands for breaking taxi laws. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service said on Tuesday that cops raided Uber's Amsterdam office as part of an ongoing crackdown against the California upstart for operating unlicensed taxis. The plod also …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Sep 2015

Overheating iPhone 6S+ BLINDED my cam, cries flashgate fanboy

Screenshot Some Apple iPhone 6S Plus owners are complaining that their new handsets get too hot – with one bod yelling that the LED flash shuts down. Someone on Reddit posted a screenshot of an alert message the 6S Plus apparently displays when the gadget is running too warm for the flash to safely work – potentially plunging the camera …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Sep 2015
Apple iPhone 6s

Apple in eyebrow-raising threesome with TSMC, Samsung for iPhone 6S

Apple is using two slightly different A9 processors from two suppliers – TSMC and Samsung – in its new iPhone 6S. This is according to analyst house Chipworks, which tore apart the electronics in the new smartphones: the silicon gazers found that the system-on-chips in the iPhone 6S are manufactured by either TSMC or Samsung …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Sep 2015

'Miracle weight-loss' biz sued for trying to silence bad online reviews

A US watchdog is suing a health biz that allegedly used the terms and conditions on its diet powder to silence disgruntled customers. In a complaint [PDF] filed to the Middle Florida US District Court, the FTC accused Roca Labs of peddling an ineffective weight-loss product, then threatening customers who posted negative …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Sep 2015
The new Pirate Bay logo

Pirate Bay cofounder and computer hacker Anakata freed

Pirate Bay cofounder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been released from prison in Sweden following three years behind bars, we're told. Svartholm Warg, who went by the online handle Anakata, was sent down in Sweden and Denmark for various computer hacking offenses. He is best known, however, for cofounding the famed Pirate Bay …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Sep 2015
Batman slapping Robin

'In making this Batmobile copyright ruling, we cite one sage Bruce Wayne'

QuoTW This week a new iPhone rocked up, we got creeped out by Blighty spooks and everything seemingly went up in smoke for emissions cheat Volkswagen. So how about some of our favourite quotes from the past seven days? Apple's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus went on sale on Friday and, naturally enough, fanbois around the world naively …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Sep 2015
The fashion world’s most privileged urchin lounges in a luxury hotel in Paris, 1993. © Geoff Wilkinson/RexUSA

Hilton hotels in credit-card-stealing malware infection scare

Someone has hacked the Hilton's sales registers, and made off with guests' credit-card details, it's claimed. The hotel chain confirmed today it is investigating the alleged breach of its computer security. Investigative journo Brian Krebs says malware in point-of-sale (POS) terminals is believed to have nicked the card …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Sep 2015
iFixit iPhone 6S teardown

iPhone 6S, 6S Plus: Apple SHAFTS eager fans with STRAPPING VIBRATOR

Teardown Apple's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, lovingly crafted by Cupertino's chief designer Sir Jony Ive, have landed – and with them the first teardowns shedding light on what's packed under the hood. Dissections of both the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have confirmed earlier speculation that Apple has indeed traded a smaller battery for more …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Sep 2015
Apple iPad Air

PEAK FONDLESLAB: Fewer people will use tablets next year – claim

The number of people using touchscreen tablets will decline in the coming year. This according to analysts at ABI Research, who say that the tablet sector is running out of new buyers, and will soon face its first ever decline in use. "The global installed base of branded tablets will peak around 373 million units at the …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2015
Dispatchers are vital to co-ordinating on the ground activities

Sprint fined $1.2m for bungling 911 calls

Sprint has been fined over $1m by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after it cocked up 911 calls for hearing-impaired citizens. The FCC accused the US telco of failing to handle emergency calls made by wireless customers who were using Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) devices. The outage, …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2015
iPhone 6S live photos

Apple slings bug-fixed iOS 9.0.1 at fanbois, PIN bypass hole still open

Apple has released an update to address several bugs spotted in its iOS 9 mobile operating system. iOS version 9.0.1 aims to fix, among other things, an installation problem that stopped fans from upgrading from iOS 7: their devices froze on the "slide to upgrade" screen. Other fixes in the update correct a problem that was …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2015
The Batmobile

Holy litigation, Batman! Custom Batmobile cars nixed by copyright

Riddle me this: what has four wheels, a jet engine, and will get you an angry call from DC Comics' legal department if you try to rip it off? The Batmobile, of course. A US court has ruled [PDF] that Batman's iconic ride was covered by the publisher's copyright. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for Central California …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2015
Birthday Cake

Happy birthday to you, the ruling was true, no charge for this headline, 'coz the copyright's screwed

Good news: you can now sing Happy Birthday without fear of someone demanding you get your checkbook out. A US judge has overturned a copyright claim to Happy Birthday, declaring the seminal number is not owned by a group that includes Warner/Chappell Music, which has been collecting royalties for the song's performances. The …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2015

iOS 9 security blooper lets you BYPASS PINs, eye up photos, contacts

Vid A security flaw in iOS 9 allows anyone who has a locked Apple iThing in their hand to view its contacts and photos without having to enter a passcode. A chap called Jose Rodriguez has posted a YouTube video demonstrating the design blunder, which exploits Siri to access information on the handset from the PIN unlock screen. …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2015

Pope Francis' first act in America: Halt iPhone 6S, 6S Plus deliveries

Is Pope Francis a secret Android fan? We only ask because the delivery of iPhone 6S and 6S Plus orders will be delayed in New York due to a visit by His Holiness. We're told UPS will stall deliveries in six Manhattan ZIP codes (10001, 10007, 10017, 10021, 10022, 10023, and 10029) while the Vicar of Christ is in town Thursday …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Sep 2015

India's daft draft anti-encryption law torn up after world+dog points out its stupidity

India will rethink its hardline proposals to clampdown on encryption. Minister of Communications and Information Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters on Tuesday that a draft law to regulate cryptography would be withdrawn and rewritten. The climbdown comes amid public outcry and widespread criticism of the would-be-disastrous …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Sep 2015
Axe, image via Shutterstock

Today's Groupon offer to its sacked employees: 100% off your salary

Online deals website Groupon will lay off 1,100 employees and shut down part of its international operations. The biz employs more than 10,000 people worldwide. In a filing with US financial watchdog the SEC, Groupon said it will cut the positions over the next year with the redundancy round wrapping up by the end of September …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Sep 2015
Two dollars

Apple rains refunds on Peace'd off axed ad-blocker netizens

The bloke who created and then withdrew the Peace ad-blocking tool for iOS 9 said Apple has now decided to refund all purchases of the app. Marco Arment said Monday that Apple was now issuing refunds for all users who downloaded his ad-blocking tool. Normally, if you download an app that is later pulled from the store, you …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Sep 2015
Apple Watch Sport

It's 2015 and a text file can hack your Apple Watch. IS THIS THE FUTURE YOU WANTED?

Five days after delaying the release of watchOS 2, Apple has posted an update for its smartwatch operating system. The watchOS 2 update brings the introduction of native apps for the Apple Watch, a new set of privileges that will allow developers previously limited to iOS applications the ability to access the Watch's …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Sep 2015

Wanted alive: $1m for an iOS 9 bug to hijack, er, jailbreak iThings

Exploit traders Zerodium will pay a million dollars to anyone who finds an unpatched bug in iOS 9 that can be exploited to jailbreak iThings – or compromise them. The $1m (£640,000) bounty will be awarded to an individual or team that provides a working exploit to achieve remote code execution on an iOS device via the Safari …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Sep 2015
Sad iPhone

Apple iPhones, iPads BRICKED by iOS 9's 'slide-to-upgrade' bug

Apple has published a workaround after some iPhone and iPad users were left stranded in the middle of the iOS 9 update process. The Cupertino giant has acknowledged multiple complaints that devices were unable to progress past the "Slide to Upgrade" screen when moving to the latest version of iOS. Apple's remedy: wipe your …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Sep 2015

Ad-blocking super-weapon axed by maker for being TOO effective

The developer behind the wildly popular Peace ad blocker for Apple's iOS has pulled it from the App Store after claiming it was too effective. Indie dev Marco Arment said in a blog post that his creation had been blocking more ads than he had anticipated, to the point where he worried he was harming publishers. "Achieving …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Sep 2015
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 9M-MRO

Hate noisy jets above you? What if they were charging your phone?

A researcher with Boeing has floated a plan to convert the noise from departing planes into a power source. A US patent application filing by Chin H Toh of the Boeing Company published earlier this week describes a method for using the energy from acoustic waves made by jet engines to power a turbine and generate electricity …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Sep 2015
New Horizons shot of crescent pluto scaled

SPOOKY new Pluto snaps will make the HAIR RISE on the back of your neck

Pics NASA boffins have released a new batch of pictures beamed back from the New Horizons probe, barrelling into the emptiness of the far outer solar system. The pics were actually taken some time ago as the probecraft zoomed past icy dwarfworld Pluto. But the linkup between Earth and New Horizons isn't exactly the fattest of …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Sep 2015
Snake oil salesman

Smartmobe app claimed it will improve your eyesight. Now its maker is coughing up $150k

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined a developer $150,000 who claimed its mobile apps could improve a user's eyesight. The watchdog on Thursday said it struck a settlement with Carrot Neurotechnology Inc that also included provisions barring the company from claiming its "Ultimeyes" app was scientifically proven to …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Sep 2015