Shaun Nichols

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
Fiber optics

Chicago and LA teased with promise of Google gigabit pipes

Google has added two of the largest cities in the US to its ranks of potential fiber markets. The Mountain View advertising giant and sometimes ISP said it would be adding Chicago and Los Angeles as "potential" markets for its gigabit broadband internet service. As potential cities, Google has given no commitment or expected …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Dec 2015

It's nearly 2016, and Windows DNS servers can be pwned remotely

Patch Tuesday Microsoft is closing out the year with a fix for 71 security vulnerabilities in Windows Server, client-side Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, and Edge. Among the patches are two vulnerabilities that are already being exploited in the wild for elevation of privilege and remote code execution. The December Patch Tuesday load …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Dec 2015

Kill Flash Now: 78 bugs patched in latest update

Adobe has released another update to address dozens of flaws in its Flash Player browser plug-in. The December update fixes 78 CVE-classified security vulnerabilities in Flash Player for OS X, Windows, Linux, and Android. The patch includes 75 separate vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker to remotely execute …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Dec 2015
Shop bargain sign

Who! would! want! Yahoo!? How! about! Verizon!?

With Yahoo! continuing to mull a possible sell-off of its core search business, Verizon has emerged as a possible buyer. Speaking at a conference in New York, Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo suggested his company might be interested in taking over some of the beleaguered Purple Palace's assets in the event Yahoo! …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Dec 2015

Facebook kills Creative Labs, cuts support for mobile apps

Facebook has confirmed it is getting rid of its Creative Labs brand and axing three projects in what looks to be a strategic shift for the social giant. A spokesperson confirmed to The Register that Facebook will be removing its Snapchat-like phone app Slingshot, Riff (which only launched in April), and internet chat forum …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Dec 2015
graveyard_648

Dropbox tells Mailbox and Carousel users to get their affairs in order

Dropbox is going to be nixing the Mailbox and Carousel services early next year. The file-sharing specialist said that it will be killing off its Mailbox email system on February 26, and the Carousel picture sharing service will have its last go-round on March 31. Dropbox said the decision to kill both products so quickly …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Dec 2015

Senate asks DHS: you don't negotiate with terrorists, but do you pay off ransomware?

The US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs wants to know how secured government PCs are against ransomware, and whether any agencies have paid off hackers to unlock their files. In a pair of open letters to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Senators Tom …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Dec 2015
Video

Smart telly, router, app makers have left a security hole open for – drum-roll – three years

A security hole that has been known and patched for the last three years remains vulnerable in over 6.1 million connected devices. This according to Trend Micro, who says its researchers have discovered that a collection of remote code execution vulnerabilities in a software library used by mobile devices, smart TVs, and …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2015
Get out the checkbook

Rounded corners on Android phones cost Samsung $548m: It will pay up to Apple after all

Samsung says it will pay Apple the $548m it was told to cough up for infringing the iPhone's round corners among other patented designs. The South Korean electronics giant said in a submission [PDF] to the US District Court in San Jose, California, that it has asked Apple to invoice it $548,176,477, which Sammy will pay within …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2015

Big names settle out of court with CryptoPeak in HTTPS patent spat

In late November, patent-holding biz CryptoPeak Solutions filed dozens of lawsuits against major US resorts, retailers, and financial service providers, among others. The timing for the barrage of lawsuits was curious, but may be explained by a newly enacted law aimed at curbing patent trolls. It turns out the litany of …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2015
Verizon's FiOS promo shot

Verizon, the final Frontier: Landlines, TV, ISP biz to explore strange new worlds

US telco Frontier Communications has cleared its final hurdle towards a $10.54bn deal that will see it take over Verizon's landline phone, TV, and ISP business in California, Texas, and Florida. Frontier said it has gained approval for the deal from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), adding the final piece to …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2015
Borat

Is Kazakhstan about to man-in-the-middle diddle all of its internet traffic with dodgy root certs?

Kazakhstan may be about to intercept and decrypt its citizens' internet traffic – by ordering them to install rogue security certificates. On Monday, the nation's dominant telco Kazakhtelecom JSC said it and other operators are "obliged" by law to crack open people's HTTPS connections, and that this surveillance will begin …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Dec 2015
shutterstock_238128856_phone_theft

Microsoft, US senators want to grease wheels of trade secret theft cases

US Senators are mulling a bill that aims to change the way companies file claims of trade secrets theft. Creatively dubbed "The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015," S. 1890 would create legal procedures for businesses to file civil claims of trade secret theft at the federal level, just as they would for copyright or patent …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Dec 2015

Apple pays two seconds of quarterly profit for wiping pensioner's pics

A London pensioner has defeated Apple in court, bagging £1,200 ($1,791) from the tech goliath. Deric White, 68, was awarded the cash after Regent Street Apple Store "geniuses" in London deleted photos and the address book on his iPhone while performing a factory reset during a repair. White had taken Apple to court alleging …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Dec 2015
Planet Earth in all its glory

Correction: 220,000 kids weren't exposed in VTech mega hack – it's actually 6.4 million

Toymaker VTech has admitted that millions of kiddies' online profiles were left exposed to hackers – much higher than the 220,000 first feared. On Tuesday, the Hong Kong biz confessed in an updated FAQ page that it did not properly secure personal information on 4.8 million parents and 6.37 million children – including 1.2 …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Dec 2015

Bitcoin cloud miners a '$20m Ponzi scheme – there was no cloud at all'

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against two bitcoin mining businesses it says operated as illegal Ponzi schemes. According to a complaint [PDF] the watchdog filed with the US District Court in Delaware, GAW Miners and Zenminer, both controlled by Josh Garza, stand accused of taking money …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Dec 2015

Mozilla: Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Thunderbirds are – gone

Seeking to shift its full attention to Firefox, Mozilla is planning to throw its Thunderbird email client under a bus – er, offload it to the community to develop and support. The open-source software house said it will begin exploring ways to separate the development of Thunderbird from other Mozilla projects, allowing …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Dec 2015
Belkin N150 router

Belkin's N150 router is perfect for learning hacking skills – wait, what, it's in production?

Belkin's home routers can be commandeered by hackers, thanks to a Telnet backdoor, a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability and other bugs, we're told. Security researcher Rahul Pratap Singh warns that the Belkin N150's builtin web server, provided so users can configure their kit, doesn't perform enough checks on …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Dec 2015

Sued for using HTTPS: Big brands told to cough up in crypto patent fight

Scores of big brands – from AT&T and Yahoo! to Netflix, GoPro and Macy's – are being sued because their HTTPS websites allegedly infringe an encryption patent. It appears in May this year CryptoPeak Solutions, based in Longview, Texas, got its hands on US Patent 6,202,150, which describes "auto-escrowable and auto-certifiable …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Dec 2015
Videofied security system

RSI Videofied is a 101 in how to build IP CCTV and alarms with zero security, zero encryption

The Videofied wireless video surveillance cameras and alarm systems can be easily hijacked and spied on – thanks to practically nonexistent security. According to London-based infosec biz Cybergibbons, the Videofied W panel is hopelessly insecure. It gathers live video from cameras, and data from security sensors, and feeds …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Nov 2015

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
Onions

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 @chipotlehr.com 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
hacker

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
Chattanooga

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
eBay

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