Articles about Australia

Samsung: And for my next trick – exploding WASHING MACHINES

Samsung's bad month gets worse as the South Korean electronics giant warns that some of its washing machines may halt and catch fire. The tech giant says it is working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on a plan to fix top-loading washing machines prone to what Samsung terms "abnormal vibrations", or as the …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Sep 2016

Researchers crack Oz Govt medical data in 'easy' attack with PCs

Australian researchers have laid waste to the Federal Government's plan to criminalise the decryption of anonymised state data sets, just a day after it was announced, by 'easily' cracking government-held medical data. Federal attorney-general George Brandis yesterday announced that it would accept recommendations from the …
Darren Pauli, 29 Sep 2016
NBN truck on Mount Cotton

Source: nbn™'s fibre-to-the-kerb will be VDSL at 100/40Mbps

The Register has learned that the fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp) technology to be used in Australia's national broadband network (NBN) will use VDSL and be capable of 100/40Mbps speeds. Sources familiar with nbn™ design decisions tell The Register that nbn™, the company building and operating Australian's NBN, decided …

South Australian mega-storm blacks out whole state

An “unprecedented” storm in South Australia blacked out the entire state yesterday, and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is warning another low pressure system will cross the state today. The attack by the Syrian Electronic Army's weather control unit – no, that's not right – the storm took down high-voltage power …
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

Australia wants law to ban de-anonymisation of anonymous data

Yet again, the Australian government has announced a proposal that could outlaw academic research. In the wake of the privacy concerns that surrounded Australia's 2016 Census, attorney-general George Brandis has said the government will make it illegal to de-anonymise data sets that have been de-identified. In the lead-up to …
Redback spider. Photo by shutterstock

Redback sinks fangs into Aussie's todger AGAIN... second time in five months

An Aussie builder has endured the agony of being bitten on the todger by a redback spider for the second time in five months*. The 21-year-old who asked not to be fully named, for obvious reasons, said that lightning had indeed struck twice in “pretty much the same spot” when used a portable loo on a building site in Sydney …
Paul Kunert, 28 Sep 2016
NBN Logo

nbn™ dumps Optus HFC, will use fibre to the kerb for ≈700k sites

nbn™, the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN) has announced it will overbuild part of the hybrid fibre-coax network it acquired from Optus. When nbn™ bought the Optus network it proclaimed that doing so “will hasten the rollout of the National Broadband Network … and enable us to complete …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Sep 2016
A donkey

The law is an ass: Mooning banned at arse end of the world

Buttnote Public service announcement: if you're going on a bender in the Australian city of Melbourne, do not indulge in the practice of “mooning”, because you could end up with your arse in jail (and the rest of you). The Victorian state government either believes people aren't deterred [Ed: bad pun, don't try it again] put off by …

Avaya explains its 'hyper-segmentation' approach to security

Interview It's way too easy to get past a firewall, map out an enterprise's network, and start tapping IP addresses looking for vulnerable machines – so why are we using Layer 3 addressing as the basis of the enterprise network? Avaya's new software-defined-networking-based architecture proposes to stop TCP/IP-based attack traffic at …
Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock

#Vodafail is BACK, with seven hours of 'try again later'

Vodafone has moved to reassert its once-dominant position in the Australian network outage stakes, suffering a seven-hour TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance) on Sunday evening, 25 September. The company worked hard to put Vodafail behind it, after experiencing months of outages and SNAFUs in 2011 that cost it …
Paul Winchell and dummy

Turnbull's Transformers delete GitHub repo for federated ID project

What is going on at the Digital Transformation Office (DTO)? When The Register reported our concerns with the DTO's federated identity project, we asked the DTO's media office for responses and received none. The DTO isn't responding to the Australian Privacy Foundation's concerns with the project, the APF claims. It has, …

Australian border cops say they've cracked 'dark net' drug sales

Australian authorities say they can detect dark net transactions. We know this because the nation's Border Force (ABF), the black-shirt wearing guardians of Australia's frontiers, says as much in itstakedown notice of a “31-year-old man from Port Neill” in the State of South Australia. Said man fell foul of a joint ABF and …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Sep 2016

IBM botched geo-block designed to save Australia's census

Australia's Bureau of Statistics has heavily criticised IBM for the security it applied to the nation's failed online census, which was taken offline after a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that battered a curiously flimsy defensive shield. The Bureau also admits it could have done better in a submission (PDF) to a …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Sep 2016
Electric spark jump between silver wire isolated

Digital Realty gets into the cloud interconnect caper

Bit barn baron Digital Realty has decided it needs to be a player in the cloud connection caper. The company's therefore cooked up something called “Service Exchange” that offers software-defined links between its data centres and those operated by the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, IBM SoftLayer and Microsoft's …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Sep 2016

We live in a world where a 'Hamdog' burger hybrid is patented

Rejoice! The eternal dilemma of whether to have a hot dog or a burger has now been answered. At last barbecue lovers can unshackle themselves from the tyranny of which under-cooked meat product to consume and have both, together, at once. Yes the problem that never needed solving has been solved. In what might be considered …
Kat Hall, 21 Sep 2016

Reg Programming Compo: 22 countries, 137 entries and... wow – loads of Python

Roundup Our latest programming competition was our most popular yet in terms of the number of entries – 137 in all once we'd de-duplicated them. The judges were intrigued to see just how popular Python is these days: nearly half (a smidge over 48 per cent) of the entries used this as the language of choice, with Java the next most …
Dave Cartwright, 21 Sep 2016
USB sticks used in letterbox drops

Victoria Police warn of malware-laden USB sticks in letterboxes

Police in the Australian State of Victoria have warned citizens not to trust un-marked USB sticks that appear in their letterboxes. The warning, issued today, says “The USB drives are believed to be extremely harmful and members of the public are urged to avoid plugging them into their computers or other devices.” “Upon …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Sep 2016
Koala on a rocket

Azure Sydney in eight-hour wobble thanks to 'networking issue'

Azure's Australia East region, located in Sydney, experienced nearly eight hours of degraded performance thanks to what Microsoft is calling “an ongoing Networking issue.” Microsoft's incident report says “Between 19:10 UTC on 20 Sep, 2016 and 02;45 UTC on 21 Sep, 2016, some Azure Services in Australia East region may have …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Sep 2016
Person using a card reader

Hackers claim they breached Aussie point-of-sale tech firm, try to sell 'customer DB'

Exclusive Hackers are claiming to have hacked Australian point-of-sale technology (PoS) company H&L Australia, and have been claiming to potential buyers that they had lifted its customer database. They were already offering it for sale for AU$22,000 ($16,580, £12,723) more than two months ago. If indeed they have hacked into H&L, …
Darren Pauli, 20 Sep 2016

Microsoft lets Beijing fondle its bits in new source code audit hub

Microsoft has opened a technology centre in China to reassure Beijing it does not have backdoors in its software. The so-called Transparency Centre is the third Redmond has opened to reassure governments that Microsoft's wares are secure. Redmond's trustworthy computing corporate veep Scott Charney says the centre will allow …
Darren Pauli, 20 Sep 2016
DATA RETENTION Guidelines for Service Providers

Australian universities drop tech services to dodge metadata retention obligation

When Australia's federal government finally revealed who had been given money to help pay for metadata retention efforts The Register was surprised to see eight Universities on the list. So we've asked around and figured out why. Universities have a metadata retention obligation thanks to the Section 187B(a) of the …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2016
Australian Parliament House Canberra

Former comms minster Stephen Conroy to leave Parliament

Stephen Conroy, the Australian Labor Party Senator who proposed a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) national broadband network (NBN) for Australia, has announced he will leave the Parliament despite being re-elected for a six-year term just two months ago. “When you resent being in Canberra because you are missing your daughter's …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2016

'Google tax' already being avoided, says Australian Tax Office

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned that the nation's attempts at imposing a "Google Tax" are already being circumvented, and suggested big accountancy firms have found a way around efforts to stymie multinational tax avoidance. Australia's Google Tax, formally known as the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL), …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Sep 2016
iPhone 7 queue Broadway Shopping Centre September 16th 2016

Fanbois iVaporate: Smallest Apple iPhone queues ever

Peak Apple iPhone fanbois have iVaporated: The Register has visited the same suburban Apple Store we always stalk visit on iPhone launch day and found just thirty people queueing. Apple has warned that this year it won't have lots of phones waiting for walk-in customers, which explains most of the shortfall. But that didn't deter people …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Sep 2016
Networks city concept. Phtoo by shutterstsock

Teenage noughties protocol BitTorrent reinvents itself again

Interview In an age of on-demand Netflix content streaming, BitTorrent Inc – which developed and maintains the peer-to-peer protocol from the early 2000s – reminds many of us of its historic place in file-sharing rather than bringing to mind the modern software biz of the same name. In pre-YouTube days, BitTorrent accounted for 20 per …
Kat Hall, 15 Sep 2016
China will see you on the dark side of the moon

China gets the e-Gov love bug

China has got the e-government bug, signalling its intention to put lots of government services online by the year 2020. China's State Council yesterday signed off on a plan to extend its Internet Plus initiative into the public sector. Premier Li Keqiang himself backed the plan, with an English—language statement quoting him …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Sep 2016
School Computer Lab from Shutterstock

Google Australia extends online classes for tech teachers

Google's efforts to help Australian teachers wrap their minds around the nation's digital technologies curriculum have expanded, with the Alphabet subsidiary's tax-efficient antipodean outpost flinging up more online courseware. Australia's digital technologies curriculum has been welcome by everyone as fine idea, but has also …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Sep 2016

Reg hacks warned off drugs

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union for journalists in Australia, has warned members not to offer cocaine at its annual Walkley Awards for excellent excellence in journalism. The Alliance has even issued a statement in which is says "The account of people associated with MEAA offering cocaine at the …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Sep 2016

No-fly zone suggested for Galaxy Note 7

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken the unusual step of issuing a warning about Samsung's flaming phablet, the Galaxy Note 7. “In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices,” the statement opens, “the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Sep 2016
Man peers into fridge with odd look on his face. Photo by shutterstock

Printers now the least-secure things on the internet

The Internet of Things is exactly as bad a security nightmare as pessimists think it is, according to Bitdefender's Bogdan Botezatu. The senior threat analyst at the Romanian security software company called by to chat to Vulture South while in Australia (we were, I suspect, meant to discuss the company's 2017 launches, but …

A nice long pub crawl is good for your health, if you stay on your feet

It's probably just as well as the walk to the fifth pub takes a lot longer than the first four, because according to a four-country collaboration of sports boffins, exercise helps offset ethanol. Succinctly: it seems 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, say on a Friday night when you're hunting down the post-pub nosh, …
Artist's view of a binary black hole. Pic credit: NASA, ESA and G Bacon (STScI)

Oz universities plan big iron to look for gravitational waves

A new supercomputer is one of the goodies that Australia's Swinburne University will get in a newly-launched gravitational wave research project. The university's professor Matthew Bailes is leading an AU$31.3 million initiative called OzGRav, and is drawing together local researchers who already have experience in …
An Air Asia Airbus A330. Pic: Mingman/Shutterstock

Typo made Air Asia X flight land at Melbourne instead of Malaysia

Finger trouble with onboard navigation systems led to an Air Asia flight making a two-hour internal hop in Australia before its scheduled journey to Malaysia. An investigation report by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the March flight disclosed the cockup, which it said was down to the A330's captain “ …
Gareth Corfield, 07 Sep 2016
Ireland and Great Britain map, image via Shutterstock

Australia boards the slow boat to Brexit

Australia reckons it can be the first to secure a free trade deal with what's left of the UK post-Brexit, with the two countries to create a trade working group next year. The process is certain to be comically slow: as readers of The Register has already reported, merely negotiating Brexit is going to be a long, slow process …

Obama says USA has world's biggest and best cyber arsenal

United States president Barack Obama says the nation he leads has the world's foremost digital arsenal. Speaking at a press conference after meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in China, Obama said “We have had problems with cyber intrusions from Russia in the past, from other countries in the past.” He …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Sep 2016

Samsung Australia waves white phlag in phlaming phablet recall

Samsung Australia recalled all of the Galaxy Note 7 phablets-come-firelighters sold in Australia. Announced yesterday here, the recall will have the company scrambling to find 51,060 devices for replacement. The company had been working through the problem with its vendors to identify the “tiny problem in the manufacturing …
Hippie peace, image via Shutterstock

ACCC mulls regulating roaming charges

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has sparked a Telstra-Optus love-in by looking into whether mobile roaming should be a regulated service. The regulator has announced a “declaration inquiry” into roaming. If the inquiry led to a declaration, it would mean domestic roaming charges (that is, when a user …
DATA RETENTION Guidelines for Service Providers

Telstra wins AU$39 million for data retention costs as grants revealed

Australia's attorney-general The Hon Senator George Brandis has announcedAU$128m in grants to telcos to fund their data retention efforts. The announcement says “One hundred and eighty service providers will receive support through the programme.” “Most providers will receive a grant of 80% of their implementation costs,” …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Sep 2016
Australian $20 burning

Australia's mobile black spot program was a partisan money hole

One in five new mobile phone towers built with Australian government money did more for telcos than for coverage-craving folk living in regional areas. That's the conclusion of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), which has assessed the government's Mobile Black Spot Program. Funded to the tune of AU$385 million ( …
Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock

Census fail to get Oz Senate probe; NDIS fix promised this year

Australia's Senate has voted to establish a committee to look into the Australian Bureau of Statistics' August Census IT collapse. The news comes as the government promises to fix another slow-motion train wreck by the end of 2016 – the online portal for the country's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The Senate …

Australian geoboffin discovers 3.7 billion year old fossils after ice melts

The world’s oldest fossils have been discovered in Greenland after a layer of snow on ancient rocks melted, revealing stromatolites embedded in the Isua supracrustal belt. The stromatolites are estimated to be around 3,700 million years old, pre-dating the previous record by 220 million years. A research paper published today …
Katyanna Quach, 31 Aug 2016
Deer Hunter

Vietnam hotel DB leaks cards

Visitors to the Silverland Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, might want to check their credit card statements for unauthorized withdrawals after a major security leak was uncovered. Researchers found an unsecured database on the internet containing thousands of credit card numbers that the hotel had been storing online. The …
Iain Thomson, 30 Aug 2016
tanami_desert_near_willowra_648

Fifty bills for new Oz parliament, nothing much for tech

The tech sector's going to have to take care of itself in 2016, at least as far at the Turnbull government's legislative agenda is concerned. As federal parliament resumes in Canberra, the government is choosing between different hills to die on – its union-regulating Building and Construction Commission bill, a corrosive …

Victoria Gov tips $6.5M into uni security seeder, city-country farm tech

The government of the southern Australian state of Victoria has tipped A$450,000 (£260,083, US$340,872) to spin up an information security incubator in Deakin University. The university and Dimension Data want the incubator to accelerate the development of technology and industry skills. It will be coupled with a security …
Darren Pauli, 30 Aug 2016

NZ-funded Hawaiki cable signs DRFortress for landing station

Australia and New Zealand got a small step closer to a third Pacific crossing, with submarine cable upstart Hawaiki signing DRFortress in Hawaii to operate its landing station. The on-again, off-again, on-again cable signed TE SubCom as its construction partner in 2013, but the project went into cold storage while the builders …
The Mosque at the Taj Mahal, shot from within the Taj Mahal through the marble screens

India tests Mach 6 scramjet

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully tested a Mach 6 scramjet. Scramjets ignite a stream of gas moving at supersonic speed. The result is serious energy and the ability to hit astounding speeds it's hoped might one day make air travel less tedious, or provide a method of lifting spacecraft high into …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Aug 2016
Eye of Sauron with Mount Doom in the background. Still from the film version of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Copyright New Line Cinema

Phoney bling ring pinged by Tolkien's kin

A Melbourne man has to hand over his entire stock of “The One Ring” knock-offs to the Tolkien Estate, after losing a copyright case. The Federal Court in Melbourne earlier this month awarded a summary judgement against one Alexander Saltalamacchia over a line of rings he sold on his own Website and on eBay Australia. …

Robot babies fail in role as teenage sex deterrents

Robot babies have been found to be an ineffective educational tool for those hoping to prevent teenaged pregnancies. “Infant simulators”, to give the robo-babies their proper name, are anatomically correct dolls that require burping, feeding, rocking to sleep and produce Code Brown and Code Yellow alerts in their pants. The …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Aug 2016

Pizza delivery by drone 'trialled' in New Zealand

Multinational pizza megacorp Domino's claims it is trialling pizza delivery drones in New Zealand. In partnership with quadcopter delivery business Flirtey, Domino's demonstrated the service in Auckland today, in complete compliance with New Zealand's civil aviation regulation. The publicity stunt managed to attract the …
Excel on smart phone, photo via RoSonic on Shutterstock

Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers

Scientific literature often mis-names genes and boffins say Microsoft Excel is partly to blame. “Automatic conversion of gene symbols to dates and floating-point numbers is a problematic feature of Excel software,” wrote Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren and Assam El-OstaEmai, of the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Australia, …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Aug 2016