Shaun Nichols

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Lazy IoT, router makers reuse skeleton keys over and over in thousands of devices – new study

It's what we all assumed, but quietly hoped wasn't quite this bad. Lazy makers of home routers and the Internet of Things are reusing the same small set of hardcoded security keys, leaving them open to hijacking en masse, researchers have warned. In other words, if you can log into one gizmo remotely, you can probably log …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Nov 2015

Nest defends web CCTV Cam amid unstoppable 24/7 surveillance fears

Alphabet-owned Nest says there is no truth to the allegation that its internet-connected home CCTV cameras continue to record video even when switched off. This assertion comes after a report from ABI Research found that the Nest Cam keeps drawing a healthy amount of current even when told to turn off, suggesting it's still …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2015
"Nope in Manchester" - Erokism on Flickr - CC 2.0 license

Samsung yanks plug out of rumors of networking biz sell-off

Samsung is nipping in the bud talk of selling its mobile network business. The South Korean electronics giant said on Wednesday that rumors posted earlier this week suggesting it was looking to find a buyer for its networking operations were untrue. "Some news media have contended that Samsung Electronics is considering to …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2015

Tor Project: Anonymity ain't free, folks. Pony up

The programmers behind internet privacy tool Tor are asking supporters to donate money to bankroll future development. The software project has kicked off a fundraising effort to enhance the online anonymizing network, which is used by whistleblowers, journalists, criminals, normal folk, privacy-conscious netizens, and many …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2015
Dell XPS 15

Dell computers bundled with backdoor that blurts hardware fingerprint to websites

Analysis Dell ships Windows computers with software that lets websites slurp up the machine's exact specifications, warranty status, and other details without the user knowing. This information can be used to build a fingerprint that potentially identifies a person while she browses across the web. It can be abused by phishers and …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2015

Ex-IT staff claim Disney fired them then gave their jobs H1-B peeps

Ex-Disney IT staffers in Florida have accused the Mickey Mouse outfit of discrimination, and now hope to sue their former bosses. The nearly two dozen techies claim they were forced to train and then hand their jobs over to foreigners working in America on H1-B visas. Attorney Sara Blackwell told The Register she has filed …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Nov 2015

What America's drone owner database could look like in future

A task force assembled by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revealed its suggestions for personal drone registration in the US. The team's recommendations [PDF] aim to serve as an outline for the FAA as it moves forward with a plan to craft registration requirements for personal-use drones. By registering …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Nov 2015

Superfish 2.0 worsens: Dell's dodgy security certificate is an unkillable zombie

Updated The rogue root certificate in new Dell computers – a certificate that allows people to be spied on when banking and shopping online – will magically reinstall itself even when deleted. El Reg can confirm that the eDellRoot root CA cert, discovered over the weekend, automatically reappears when removed from the Windows …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Nov 2015
Dell Inspiron 15-7537

Superfish 2.0: Dell ships laptops, PCs with huge internet security hole

Dell ships computers with all the tools necessary for crooks to spy on the owners' online banking, shopping, webmail, and more. The US IT titan installs a powerful root CA certificate, including its private key, on its Windows notebooks and desktops. These can be abused by eavesdropping miscreants to silently decrypt encrypted …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Nov 2015

Yahoo! Mail! is! still! a! thing!, tries! blocking! Adblock! users!

Yahoo! says it is testing a feature that prevents some users of the Adblock extension from accessing their webmail accounts. Netizens have reported on the Adblock Pro support forum being unable to use the Yahoo! Mail service with the ad-blocking extensions turned on. When trying to log into the Yahoo! webmail, they are met …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Nov 2015

Malware caught checking out credit cards in 54 luxury hotels

Add Starwood – owner of the Sheraton, Westin, W hotel chains – to the ranks of resorts infiltrated by credit card-stealing malware. The luxury hotel chain said on Friday that 54 of its North American locations had been infected with a software nasty that harvested banking card information from payment terminals and cash …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Nov 2015
Fiber optics

Network problems? It's not just you. Level3 outages reported in the US

Network carrier Level3 says a severed cable is to blame for an outage that hit portions of the US Friday morning. The company said that a cable in the Dallas, TX region has been severed and is leading to service disruptions for traffic running through the hub. Level3 had the following statement to pass along to El Reg on the …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Nov 2015
Windows 1.0

Remember Windows 1.0? It's been 30 years (and you're officially old)

On November 20, 1985, Microsoft unveiled its graphical operating system. Windows 1.0 offered a new way to navigate a PC, clicking a cursor on various boxes rather than scrolling through lines of text in order to navigate data and applications. While arguably less efficient than a command line, the graphical user interface (GUI …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Nov 2015
New Rackspace datacenter in Crawley, UK

Uncle Sam's IT bods find 2,000 data centers they FORGOT about

US government agencies are being called out by Congress after it was revealed that they are falling woefully short in data center consolidation efforts. Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the number of data centers the American administration runs has gone up, in part because an …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Nov 2015
IT Crowd's Roy: "Have you turned it off and on again?"

Apple – it's true: iPad Pro slabs freeze when plugged in to charge

Apple has confirmed its iPad Pro tablets sometimes freeze while recharging. The Cupertino giant has published a support document acknowledging that its new 12.9-inch tablet has a tendency to lock up when plugged in for a battery charge, requiring a hard reboot to revive it. This comes after people have been complaining for …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Nov 2015
Lego, photo via Shutterstock

It's come to this for IBM: Watson is now a gimmick app on the iPhone

Remember when IBM's Watson was touted as a revolutionary machine learning platform that would help revolutionize the medical, science and business intelligence fields? Big Blue's expensive pet project has been showcased as a solution for everything from biomedical research to solving poverty to killing the spreadsheet. Now, …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Nov 2015
Fairchild logo

Remember Fairchild? It's still around, and worth $2.4bn in takeover cash

Fairchild Semiconductor, a company synonymous with the rise of Silicon Valley, has agreed to a $2.4bn acquisition offer. Arizona-based ON Semiconductor said it would pay $20 per share in an all-cash offer to acquire Fairchild and create a combined company targeting the mobile, automotive and industrial chip markets. "The …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Nov 2015
Snake oil salesman

FTC zaps more scammer loopholes with ban on wire transfers, cash cards

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued new restrictions on how marketers can accept payments, in hopes of curbing the most popular ways scammers collect cash from victims. The FTC said under its new rules, anyone who uses telemarketing will no longer be able to take customer payments via wire "cash-to-cheque" …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Nov 2015

Apple's Faulty Powers moment: iPad Pro slabs 'temporarily bricked' during recharge

Some Apple iPad Pro owners claim their new jumbo tablets freeze when being recharged. Multiple posts to Cupertino's support forums over the past several days describe how the enormo-slabs stop working when plugged in to a power source, and need a hard restart to revive them. Judging by the message boards, the issue usually …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Nov 2015

Citrix to axe 1,000 workers, tells GoTo to go to someplace else

Citrix has announced plans to lay off 1,000 employees as part of a corporate reshuffling that will also include spinning off its GoTo brand. The IT giant said it would be letting the GoTo family of products, including GoToMeeting, GoToAssist and GoToMyPC, cast off on their own as a standalone operation. Citrix said the spinoff …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Nov 2015
Chipotle Burrito

Rap for wrap chaps in crap email trap: Chipotle HR used domain it had no control over

"Burrito" chain Chipotle has been using an internet domain for its HR emails that it has no control over. IT pro Michael Kohlman found that the US fast-food giant was stamping addresses on emails sent to those who applied for jobs via its website. The form response, sent to applicants, came with instructions …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Nov 2015
Netflix Spinnaker

Netflix and skill: Web vid giant open sources Spinnaker cloud tool

Netflix has released Spinnaker, an open-source tool for testing and rolling out software updates in the cloud. The Apache 2.0-licensed code provides continuous delivery of applications, including managing and monitoring their deployment. Netflix said Spinnaker will replace its Asgard project. The streaming video giant said …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Nov 2015

Apple supremo Tim Cook rules out OS X fondleslab, iOS merger

Apple CEO Tim Cook is telling customers not to expect a Mac answer to the Microsoft Surface Pro any time soon. The Apple boss said in an interview with Ireland's Independent that the Cupertino giant has no desire to merge its iOS mobile operating system and its Macintosh desktop and notebook lines with a "hybrid" tablet that …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Nov 2015
Jureca supercomputer

JURECA! Germany flips big red switch on 2.2 petaflop supercomputer

Germany has officially powered up its new 2.2 petaflop JURECA supercomputer. Based at the Forschungszentrum Jülich research facility, the JURECA (pronounced "Eureka" and short for Juelich Research on Exascale Cluster Architectures) system runs on Intel's 12-core Xeon E5-2680 Haswell CPUs, employing a total of 1,900 nodes (each …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Nov 2015

Conficker is back – and it's infecting police body cams

A US IT security company says it found copies of the Conficker malware infecting police body cameras. Florida-based iPower reports that body cameras it received from supplier Martel Electronics were loaded with 2009's baddest botware. Researchers Jarrett Pavao and Charles Auchinleck found that when plugged into a PC, the …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Nov 2015

Merseyside DDoS daddy given eight months behind bars

A UK man has been given eight and a half months in prison for launching a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks in 2013. The Liverpool court gave Ian Sullivan the 34-week sentence for conducting more than 300 denial of service attacks on various government, political and financial sites in 2013. Sullivan admitted to …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Nov 2015

FTC fells four tech-support operations in scammer crackdown

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on scammers who fraudulently claim to represent the likes of Microsoft and Apple. The FTC said it has been granted a court order for an asset freeze and an injunction order on four companies who it said were tricking people into paying for unneeded, and in some cases, …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Nov 2015

The Internet Association backs FCC's muni broadband push

Count the likes of eBay, Facebook, and Twitter among those who support the FCC's plan to allow municipal governments to become ISPs. The Internet Association, an industry group whose membership also includes Google, Amazon, and Yahoo!, has filed an amicus brief with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the FCC …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Nov 2015

Obama: Let me spam 600,000 of your customers with a TPP sales pitch. eBay: Sure thing, Barry!

President Obama is taking his case for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) online with a spammy pitch to eBay merchants on how the trade deal will benefit them. The US Commander In Chief sent a letter to 600,000 eBay sellers outlining the virtues of the controversial international trade deal that, according to Obama, will make …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Nov 2015

Microsoft rolls out first 'major update' to Windows 10

Microsoft has released an update it says is the first major release for Windows 10. Redmond said the new version of Windows 10, version 1511, will offer better performance and compatibility with third-party hardware. "With this update, there are improvements in all aspects of the platform and experience, including thousands …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Nov 2015
Robert DeNiro in Godfather II

Goodfella's attack smacks Slack chap for whack crack? It's a fact, Jack

Legendary actor Robert De Niro doesn't think much of tech's "brogrammer" culture, and he made as much known this week when he verbally eviscerated one smart-mouthed app developer. The confrontation (if you could call it that) took place at an awards show in New York hosted by the Wall Street Journal. According to the New York …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Nov 2015

Drones are dropping drugs into prisons and the US govt just doesn't know what to do

The US Federal Bureau of Prisons has appealed for help in stopping contraband-laden drones from flying over prison grounds. The bureaucrats insist they're not after formal proposals nor price quotes. Instead, they want to hear your suggestions for the best ways to stop people from using quadcopters to smuggle items in and out …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Nov 2015

Read the Economist last weekend? You may have fetched more than just articles (yup, malware)

Third bathroom reading material The Economist served malware from its website via the compromised PageFair network. The biz mag today alerted readers that it put their PCs at risk last weekend. "If you visited at any time between Oct. 31, 23:52 GMT and 01:15 GMT, Nov. 1, using Windows OS and you do not have …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Nov 2015

Cell networks' LTE-U will kill your Wi-Fi, say digital rights bods

Wireless carriers are once again looking to reassure the American people after more objections were raised against the planned LTE-U broadband network. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined the likes of Google and the NCTA (US National Cable & Telecommunications Association) in asking the US's comms watchdog to …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Nov 2015

Fake IT admin tricked Cox rep into handing over customer database – cableco fined $600k

US broadband watchdog the FCC has fined Cox Communications $595,000 (£391,000, AU$832,000) after a Lizard Squad hacker swiped its customer records. The FCC announced the punishment on Thursday, ending an investigation into the 2014 security breach. The fine is the first such penalty the FCC has dished out against a US cable …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Nov 2015

You gambled recently in Michigan? (And by that we don't mean driving through Detroit)

A casino owner in Michigan is warning its players after detecting bank-card-stealing malware in its payment systems. The Four Winds Casino Resort, which operates three casinos and a service station on tribal lands in the state, said it found the software nasty after banks alerted it to fraudulent transactions. According to …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Nov 2015
Denver, Colorado

Colorado unshackles cities, lifts ban on govt-owned muni broadband

Voters in Colorado have abolished laws that had prohibited local governments from offering their own broadband internet services. Local ballots in 17 counties all resulted in voters electing to allow their local governments to offer broadband service in competition with private cable companies. The vote overturns a 2005 law …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Nov 2015

What do you call a spreadsheet with lots of negative numbers? Qualcomm_FY2015.xlsx

Mobile chip blueprint scribbler Qualcomm reported big losses to close out its 2015 fiscal year, though the hits were less severe than the California company initially feared. Qualie said it hopes to turn around its fortunes in the coming fiscal year, as it banks on continuing adoption of 3G/4G networks globally and a …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Nov 2015
Samsung's SmartView App for iOS

I've lost the remote! Fury as Samsung yoinks TV control from its iOS app

Samsung is taking heat after an update to its iPhone app removed remote-control features for many smart TV owners. Reg reader Robin was first to tip us off that the South Korean electronics giant's latest version of the Smart View App has removed the ability to use an iOS device as a wireless remote control. The Smart View …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Nov 2015
Chantelle's Melbourne Cup selfie

'I posted winning race ticket in Facebook selfie ... and someone stole it!'

Photo An Australian woman says she lost out on AU$900 (US$643, £418) after someone lifted her winning race ticket from a Facebook photo. Chantelle, whose last name was not given, said she won the money on 100-1 long-shot Prince of Penzance at Tuesday's Melbourne Cup horse race. Shortly after the race, the Perth woman snapped a …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Nov 2015

Man hires 'court hacker' on Craigslist ... who turned out to be a cop

A Pennsylvanian bloke will spend two to four years behind bars for trying to hire a hacker on Craigslist to erase his court fines. Zachary Landis, 27, admitted to Lancaster County Court he tried to hire someone to illegally access court records and strike a $16,000 debt he owed for previous charges. That someone wasn't a …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Nov 2015

Firefox 42 ... answer to the ultimate question of life, security bugs and fully private browsing?

Mozilla has released Firefox 42 and Firefox ESR 38 38.4, which include fixes for worrying security vulnerabilities in the web browser. The November 3 update squashes at least three bugs that can be potentially exploited to achieve remote code execution. Two Mozilla engineers, Tyson Smith and David Keeler, uncovered two flaws …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Nov 2015

Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

A US software company has signed on with IBM to release a new native build of Big Blue's OS/2. Arca Noae said its "Blue Lion" build of OS/2 will run on the bare metal of PCs without the need for an emulator or hypervisor. Those still using the 28-year-old operating system and its applications typically run the stack in a …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Nov 2015
Hilton hotel Anaheim

Feds spank naughty Hilton, M.C. Dean in Wi-Fi jamming crackdown

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Hilton Hotels and M.C. Dean in two separate probes into Wi-Fi jamming. The watchdog said M.C. Dean, an IT services provider, must pay a $718,000 charge for knackering personal hotspots at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland. Hilton will have to pay $25,000 and …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Nov 2015

WoW! Want to beat Microsoft's Windows security defenses? Poke some 32-bit software

Two chaps claim to have discovered how to trivially circumvent Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) using Redmond's own compatibility tools. A report [PDF] by the duo at Duo Security describes how the Windows on Windows (WoW64) environment can be abused to bypass builtin security tools. WoW64 allows 32- …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Nov 2015
android logo

We're not killing Chrome OS ... not until 2020, anyway – says Google

Google hopes to ease fears that its Chrome OS is not long for this world. The Mountain View ad giant said on Monday that it has no immediate plans to kill off Chrome OS nor the army of lightweight Chromebook PCs it has spawned: the web goliath has promised a "regular six-week software cycle and guaranteed auto-updates for five …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Nov 2015

CSC, NetCracker IT staff worked on US military telecoms 'without govt security clearance'

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has extracted $12m (£7.78m) from contractors accused of using workers who had not been given proper security clearances before performing government IT work. The DoJ said Netcracker Technology Corp would pay $11.4m and Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) would shell out $1.35m to settle allegations …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Nov 2015
Voyager mission logo

Think Fortran, assembly language programming is boring and useless? Tell that to the NASA Voyager team

Updated If you thought Fortran and Cold War-era assembly language programming is pointless and purely for old-timers, guess again. NASA has found an engineer comfortable with the software to keep its old space-race-age systems ticking over. In an interview with Popular Mechanics this month, the manager of NASA's Voyager program …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Oct 2015

Use Skype if you want to report a crime, say cops

Police in Peterborough, UK, are asking Brits to report crimes via Skype chats. Officers in the east-of-England city, population 185,000, will grapple with Microsoft's video-chat software in lieu of face-to-face visits. Meeting people in their homes takes up too much valuable police time, we're told. The 999 emergency line …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Oct 2015
Office Online for Chrome

Insert headline here for Microsoft Office tweaks

Just in time for a weekend that can't come soon enough, Microsoft has rolled out a handful of features for Office on Windows and OS X. The update includes browser plug-ins and increased support for Microsoft's Skype and Visual Basic, as well as a lower storage requirement for Office on Android. Here are some of the new …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Oct 2015