Chris Williams

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Chris is The Register's Editor in Chief, based in San Francisco, California. When he's not editing news and features, he writes about semiconductor chips and software engineering. You can look him up online at diodesign.co.uk, find him on Twitter, or give him a call: (+1) 415-866-4969
Canada

You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

Comment There's a curious legal situation developing in Nova Scotia, Canada, right now. A teenager is suspected of breaking the nation's hacking laws by downloading PDFs containing personal information from a public government website after officials failed to redact the documents. The 19-year-old was arrested after more than a dozen …
Chris Williams, 18 Apr 2018
A bunch of shadow people leg it across a backdrop of dollar bills (conceptual illustration)

UK ICO, USCourts.gov... Thousands of websites hijacked by hidden crypto-mining code after popular plugin pwned

Thousands of websites around the world – from the UK's NHS and ICO to the US government's court system – were today secretly mining crypto-coins on netizens' web browsers for miscreants unknown. The affected sites all use a fairly popular plugin called Browsealoud, made by Brit biz Texthelp, which reads out webpages for blind …
Chris Williams, 11 Feb 2018
man spits out beer in shock

Apple's top-secret iBoot firmware source code spills onto GitHub for some insane reason

The confidential source code to Apple's iBoot firmware in iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices has leaked into a public GitHub repo. The closed-source code is top-secret, proprietary, copyright Apple, and yet has been quietly doing the rounds between security researchers and device jailbreakers on Reddit for four or so months …
Shocked couple scream and clutch their hair

Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs

Summary The severe design flaw in Intel microprocessors that allows sensitive data, such as passwords and crypto-keys, to be stolen from memory is real – and its details have been revealed. On Tuesday, we warned that a blueprint blunder in Intel's CPUs could allow applications, malware, and JavaScript running in web browsers, to …

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Final update A fundamental design flaw in Intel's processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug. Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel's virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes …

Long Island Iced Tea Corp renamed itself to Long Blockchain – and its shares went bananas

Logowatch This special edition of El Reg's Logowatch isn't strictly about logos, rather it's a rebrand, but since today is Friday and this news is – and this is a technical term here – batshit mad, we couldn't pass it up. Non-alcoholic beverage slinger Long Island Iced Tea Corp, which is publicly traded and wasn't performing …
Chris Williams, 22 Dec 2017
Playground hero

Braking news: Nissan Canada hacked, up to 1.1m Canucks exposed

Nissan Canada's vehicle-financing wing has been hacked, putting personal information on as many as 1.13 million customers in the hands of miscreants. In an email to Nissan car buyers, seen by The Register, the biz admitted its computer systems were compromised, with "unauthorized person(s) gaining access to the personal …
Chris Williams, 22 Dec 2017

Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered

Updated Canonical has halted downloads of Ubuntu Linux 17.10, aka Artful Aardvark, from its website after punters complained installing the open-source OS on laptops knackered the machines. Specifically, the desktop flavor of Artful Aardvark, released in October, has been temporarily pulled – the server builds and other editions …

Inside Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 for PCs, mobes: Cortex-A75s, fat caches, vector math, security stuff, and more

Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip will include an isolated security core for handling sensitive personal information, among other new features. The California chip designer showed off its upcoming 845 component at a tech summit in Hawaii on Wednesday, promising the silicon will power 2018's high-end Android …

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander

Pics Qualcomm, Microsoft, Asus, HP Inc and Lenovo today talked up their upcoming Arm-compatible, Snapdragon-powered three-in-one Windows 10 PCs. "Three in one" because they combine a laptop, a tablet, and smartphone-like connectivity in one. The laptop is the base unit. It's also a tablet because the display is a touchscreen and, …
Qualcomm

Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

Analysis Qualcomm conquered the high-end smartphone world with its top-end Arm-compatible Snapdragon chips powering more than 120 smart mobes models globally. Now it's got a new quarry in its sights: the Windows 10 PC, and the x86 processors that typically power them. And also crappy Wi-Fi networks. Qualcomm wants to take smartphone- …

HPE CEO Meg Whitman QUITS, MAN! Neri to replace chief exec in Feb

Hewlett Packard Enterprise boss Meg Whitman is stepping down, and will be replaced on February 1 by company president Antonio Neri. Neri, a 50-year-old engineer turned executive who we described as a CEO-in-waiting, will take the chief exec throne while remaining HPE president. As of right now, the US tech goliath's stock is …

Intel drags Xeon Phi Knights Hill chips out back... two shots heard

Updated Intel has scrapped Knights Hill, an upcoming addition to its high-end many-core Xeon Phi chip family, and will go back to the drawing board for its microarchitecture. We heard at the end of last month that the Xeon Phi gang was, in the words of one well-placed semiconductor industry source, "not long for this world," which we …

Qualcomm is shipping next chip it'll perhaps get sued for: ARM server processor Centriq 2400

Putting aside its legal battles and lawsuits for a few hours, Qualcomm today said is it shipping the Centriq 2400 – its ARM-based server-grade processor, and the world's first 10nm data-center CPU. "This chip is now shipping for revenue," said Anand Chandrasekher, the boss of Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies, adding that the …

AMD, Intel hate Nvidia so much they're building a laptop chip to spite it

Analysis Arch-rivals AMD and Intel have put aside their animosity toward each other, and united against a common foe: Nvidia. On Monday the pair revealed they are working on a chip family that will combine an Intel Core x86 processor, a customized AMD Radeon GPU, and HBM2 – high-bandwidth memory – all in one package. The silicon will, …
Super-villain Dr Evil puts finger to lip in scheming manner, asks for one million dollars. Pic: New Line Cinema

'Qualcomm, we will buy you... for... one HUNDRED... BILLION DOLLARS' – Broadcom

Broadcom is channeling Dr Evil of Austin Powers fame, and considering blowing more than $100bn to buy Qualcomm, it was claimed on Friday. Apparently, Broadcom is planning to offer within the next few days about $70 a share in cash and stocks to acquire California-based Qualy. Right now, Qualcomm's shares stand at $62.71 apiece …
Miele

IoT pushes Arm over the Edge: Mbed Cloud offers to grab gadget gateways

TechCon Kicking off its TechCon engineering conference today in Silicon Valley, Arm announced a couple of things: Internet-of-Things gateway wrangling code, and some security measures to potentially prevent secrets leaking electrically from chips. First, the Brit processor designer's gadget-controlling Mbed Cloud is getting a suite of …
Chris Williams, 24 Oct 2017

Arm isn't saying IoT firmware sucks but it's writing a free secure BIOS for device makers

TechCon Arm hopes to release open-source code early next year that will help secure Internet-of-Things devices – by encrypting their communications and installing over-the-air security fixes. The firmware will be a reference implementation of what processor core designer Arm calls its Platform Security Architecture, details of which …
Chris Williams, 23 Oct 2017

Equifax's malvertising scare, Chromebook TPM RSA key panic, Cuban embassy sonic weapon heard at last – and more

Roundup We almost wanted to feel sorry for Equifax, were it not for the fact that the credit biz takes to IT security like a duck to an acid bath. After a brutal few weeks under the spotlight, on Wednesday night it suffered another hacking scare. When's it going to end? Visitors to one of Equifax's customer support webpages couldn't …
Chris Williams, 13 Oct 2017
Microsoft Azure

Codename Brainwave: Microsoft reveals tricks and tips for whipping cloud FPGAs into shape

Hot Chips Microsoft today teased chip designers with Brainwave, its cloud-hosted pool of FPGAs designed to perform AI stuff in real time. The Windows giant has previously spoken of bunging FPGAs in its Azure cloud. It's been using the programmable logic gate arrays in its data centers for a few years now. The chips are typically used …
Chris Williams, 22 Aug 2017

Qualcomm moved its Snapdragon designers to its ARM server chip. We peek at the results

Hot Chips Qualcomm moved engineers from its flagship Snapdragon chips, used in millions of smartphones and tablets, to its fledgling data center processor family Centriq. This shift in focus, from building the brains of handheld devices to concentrating on servers, will be apparent on Tuesday evening, when the internal design of Centriq …
Chris Williams, 20 Aug 2017
Oracle and Sun logo

Oracle's systems boss bails amid deafening silence over Solaris fate

Oracle has revealed that John Fowler, a Sun veteran who stayed to serve as Oracle's executive veep for systems, has left the company. An SEC filing [PDF] dated July 27, 2017 says “John F Fowler resigned his position as Executive Vice President, Systems effective as of August 2, 2017.” No reason is offered for Fowler's …

Intel bolts bonus gubbins onto Skylake cores, bungs dozens into Purley Xeon chips

Deep dive Intel has taken its Skylake cores, attached some extra cache and vector processing stuff, throw in various other bits and pieces, and packaged them up as Xeon CPUs codenamed Purley. In an attempt to simplify its server chip family, Chipzilla has decided to rebrand the components as Xeon Scalable Processors, assigning each a …
Chris Williams, 12 Jul 2017

Talk about a hit and run: AA finally comes clean on security breakdown

UK car insurance and driving school giant The AA has at last admitted it accidentally spilled its customers' personal information all over the web. In an astonishing U-turn, the motoring biz confessed on Friday that people's names, postal addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses were exposed to the internet – and, in some …

Heaps of Windows 10 internal builds, private source code leak online

Exclusive A massive trove of Microsoft's internal Windows operating system builds and chunks of its core source code have leaked online. The data – some 32TB of official and non-public installation images and software blueprints that compress down to 8TB – were uploaded to betaarchive.com, the latest load of files provided just earlier …
Chris Williams, 23 Jun 2017

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