Articles about Consumer

Banks don’t give a 2FA

The online security of a majority of UK banks is failing customers. Tests by consumer group Which? found that only five out of the 11 providers it tested offered two-step authentication for logins. Lloyds and Santander were among the banks faulted for not doing enough to protect consumers from ID theft and banking fraud. In …
John Leyden, 21 Oct 2016
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Hardware ain't hard, money is: Crowdfunding, bootstraps and startups

Radbot Our quiz on startup branding revealed that a worrying number of you are not to be trusted with a hot iron - branding, soldering, or even wool setting, it seems. I made a slight oversight in that while in banking I did not "put aside" (as a friend calls it) the megabucks to become a gentleman of leisure and science, so we need …
Satya Nadella

Microsoft kinda did OK this quarter – but whatever, Wall Street loves Satya Nadella

Microsoft's first-quarter results for its 2017 fiscal year reveal a four per cent year-on-year fall in profit and 10 per cent dive in operating income. Just before the quarterly results were announced, Microsoft's stock was down about half a per cent to $57.25 a share. Then when the figures landed, and despite the fall in …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2016

EU legal eagle: Euro court should review Intel's €1.6bn fine

An EU High Court Advocate General has recommended a review of the case that saw Intel slapped with a record fine after it was found to have coerced OEMs to avoid using rival companies' x86 CPUs. Back in 2009, the EC imposed a €1.06bn penalty - 4.15 per cent of Intel's turnover - following a multi-year legal battle but …

Wow, everyone loves our drives, says Seagate sitting on a pile o' cash

Seagate's latest quarterly revenues benefited from an upsurge in disk drive demand – but still declined slightly year-on-year. The biz managed to bank a five-fold increase in profits, though. Revenues for Seagate's first fiscal 2017 quarter, ending September 30, were $2.8bn, a 4.3 per cent decline from the year-ago's $2.92bn. …
Chris Mellor, 19 Oct 2016

Coming soon to smart home devices? Best Before labels – with patch cut-off dates

The big outcome of a one-day special IoT security session run by the US government? A new labeling system for your smart home devices. It's not going to happen for a few years, and today's meeting in Austin, Texas, only agreed to set up a working group to look into the issue. However, after five hours of discussion with …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2016

IoT insecurity: US govt summons tech bosses, bashes heads together

There are two things that everyone agrees on when it comes to the internet of things (IoT). First, security is a problem. And second, their approach is the best one. The US government held a one-day meeting in Austin, Texas, today with the sole focus on a specific issue: the ability to upgrade and patch internet-connected …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2016
Cat stares at vacuum cleaner robot. Photo by shutterstock

The Internet of Things is 'dangerous' but won't ride to the rescue

The Internet of Things is “dangerous”, according to some bloke trying to rebrand it as the “Internet of You” – and the government ain't going to pass new laws to sort it out. According to a press release, one Jim Hunter of Greenwave Communications quite rightly warned the Broadband World Forum this morning that putting …
Gareth Corfield, 19 Oct 2016

Intel stock falls on glum Q4

Intel's share price is down 5.22 per cent to $35.78 apiece in after-hours trading today after the biz predicted a slightly less rosy fourth quarter than expected. Analysts had hoped Chipzilla would promise to deliver a $16.1bn quarter in the final three months of the year – the processor giant instead said it's aiming to bag $ …
Chris Williams, 19 Oct 2016
A fiber optic cable

Vodafone Australia promises fixed-line broadband over NBN

As widely anticipated, Vodafone's Australian tentacle has announced it's getting into the fixed-line broadband business. The carrier will offer services to those lucky enough to enjoy connection to Australia's national broadband network. The company's canned statement says the services will mean customers are "always …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016

Spain's iPhone killer actually a rebranded Xiaomi – new claim

An Android phone maker in Spain is facing allegations that its flagship product is just a rebranded Chinese model. The Zetta handset had been advertised as a smartphone built in Spain's Extremadura region, and was considered the country's own answer to the iPhone, with more than 80 shops selling it. However, according to …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Oct 2016

Samsung to fab 10nm FinFET SoCs for next year's exploding phones

Pocket explosives maker Samsung claims it has started the "mass production" of the world's first 10nm FinFET system-on-chips. These SoCs are expected to be next-generation Samsung-designed Exynos chips, and possibly Qualcomm Snapdragons, which are at the heart of today's ARM-powered Android handhelds. The South Korean giant, …
Chris Williams, 17 Oct 2016
Cable maze image via Shutterstock

ACCC keeps ADSL services in its grip

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is keeping its eye on wholesale ADSL services, at least while construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) continues. The regulator announced on Friday that it would maintain regulation of the service, with its declaration paper noting that even Telstra “broadly …
I quit

Lenovo big cheese walks

Lenovo exec and its one-time UK boss Dave McQuarrie has upped sticks after years aboard the Chinese PC maker with HP Inc tipped to be his next destination. McQuarrie ran the EMEA notebook division when he joined from Dell in 2008, before taking on other senior posts; chief operating officer; Western Europe veep of SMB, …
Paul Kunert, 13 Oct 2016

Pound falling, Marmite off the shelves – what the UK needs right now is ... an AI ethics board

Analysis The UK government has been urged to establish an AI ethics board to tackle the creeping influence of machine learning on society. The call comes from a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence report published yesterday by the the House of Commons science and technology select committee. It quotes experts who warned the panel that …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Oct 2016
Sony Morpheus prototype VR headset

Virtual reality is actually made of smartphones

The world didn’t pay much attention to the fifth anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death, back on the 5th of October. Perhaps that’s because we believe we’ve all moved on. But that’s less true than we believe, in both some very obvious and very non-obvious ways. First, the obvious: the smartphone is now undeniably the most …
Mark Pesce, 13 Oct 2016

Atari's Bushnell gets into VR

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has put his weight behind a startup that will offer business uses for virtual reality. Bushnell's Modal VR touts itself as providing the hardware and software for "industrial-grade" virtual reality applications. This means the company will develop and sell VR systems used for things like military …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Oct 2016

Will Microsoft's nerd goggles soar like an Eagle, or flop like a turkey?

Analysis Stone the crows! Rather than copying the early market leaders - as it has traditionally done - the modern era Microsoft is showing signs of calling trends correctly well in advance. Only last week we were congratulating Microsoft on being the only platform provider to correctly call the wearables trend. That allowed it to …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Oct 2016

Google Pixel: Devices are a dangerous distraction from the new AI interface

Analysis There was a distinct whiff of the retro about Google’s launch of its Pixel smartphone. Exclusives with selected large mobile operators; yet another attempt to create a unified Android experience; even the clear focus on Apple as the primary competition – all these should be issues of the past. "Premium is a very important …
Wireless Watch, 12 Oct 2016
Galaxy Note 7 truck fire aftermath

Samsung puts out battery fire (no, not that one)

Samsung has received a welcome bit of news about its batteries that doesn't involve the words "fire" or "explosion." The Korean electronics giant has struck a settlement deal with Dell to drop allegations that it helped rig the price of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery packs for more than a decade. Samsung had been among a …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Oct 2016
A broken phone

Boost Ofcom's powers and fix mobile market woes, Three and TalkTalk tell MPs

Mobile telcos Three and TalkTalk told MPs today they want more power to go to Ofcom in the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, in order to rebalance the market away from the dominance of BT/EE. Speaking at an evidence hearing on the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, TalkTalk chief exec Dido Harding said: "I think inherently …
Kat Hall, 11 Oct 2016

Smell burning? Samsung’s 'Death Note 7' could still cause a contagion

Analysis Samsung’s rivals in the cut-throat flagship phone market shouldn’t pop open the champagne just yet. While in the short term, Sony, HTC and Google could see some upside from Samsung’s now-deceased “Death Note”, in the long term the market and the consumer benefit from a high margin leader. But it would be a dead cat bounce: a …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2016
Micron 9100 NVMe HHHL SSD

Little top tech tip: Take care choosing your storage drives

Sysadmin Blog RAID is dead. Or maybe it's not. I think it might be off having a conversation with a cat in a box. Regardless of whether or not you use hardware RAID cards or HBAs and some kind of software, the idea of big boxes full of drives that store lots of things isn't going away any time soon. The drives you put in them, however, are …
Trevor Pott, 10 Oct 2016
Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Adventures in (re) naming your business: Fire up the 4-syllable random name generator

Radbot Our goal as a company is to get hundreds of millions of our smart devices out there, in the hands of Joe Public. Saving money and carbon, and mental energy for the things in life that normal people actually care about. But, as I’m learning, we can't do it all at once: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" …

Samsung halts production of Galaxy Note 7

Korean newswire Yonhap reports that Samsung has ceased production of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The outlet cites a Samsung official as having confirmed previous un-sourced reports of a production halt and says "The halt is in cooperation with consumer safety regulators from South Korea, the United States and China, the …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Oct 2016
Road at night image via Shutterstock

AT&T pilots dedicated IoT mobile network

AT&T will pilot a dedicated mobile network solely for the internet of things next month in San Francisco. The telecom giant will run the special and separate LTE-M network in the city in November and use it to connect everything from smart meters to alarm systems to vending machines. It has signed up a number of companies …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Oct 2016
Microsoft monopoly

Windows updates? Just trust us, says Microsoft executive

Interview At Microsoft's recent Ignite event in Atlanta, The Reg sat down with Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Client and Mobility. Brad Anderson is a Microsoft veteran who oversees how Windows and mobile devices are managed in business. A decade ago it was simple: firewall-protected network, Windows PCs, and …
Tim Anderson, 07 Oct 2016

Devs! Here's how to secure your IoT network, in, uh, 75 easy pages

An in-depth security guidance report aimed at Internet of Things developers has been released by the Cloud Security Alliance. Titled Future-proofing the Connected World: 13 steps to developing secure IoT products, the report offers practical and technical guidance to devs trying to secure networks of IoT devices. “An IoT …
Gareth Corfield, 07 Oct 2016

Four reasons Pixel turns flagship Android mobe makers into roadkill

Comment This year’s “Google phones” – now rebranded as Pixel – are just the latest step in Google seizing control of Android – and the biggest so far. If this process is like cooking the proverbial frog, then Google just turned up the heat so quickly, the OEMs cannot help but notice. “There's more and more resemblance to Microsoft in …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Oct 2016

Reseller offered $$$ for old tech gear – then stiffed thousands with suddenly lower quotes

US trade watchdog the FTC has terminated second-hand electronics reseller Laptop & Desktop Repair in Sparks, Nevada – after the biz shafted people out of millions of dollars. The company, operating under such names as,,, and, offered …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2016

Citizens don't trust UK.GOV with their data

UK citizens have little faith in the government's ability to securely handle their private data - according to a wide-ranging survey which echoes findings by the National Audit Office. Just 22 per cent believed that the government has appropriate means to stop cyber-attacks and identity breaches, according to 1,500 citizens …
Kat Hall, 06 Oct 2016

Google's home tat falls flat as a soufflé – but look out Android makers

Comment This year’s bid by Google to fill your home with its tat collapsed like a soufflé yesterday – but at least one part will have a huge impact. In the phone world, the impact of its Pixel brand on its partners will be huge. Google had hyped the consumer event as the biggest since Android’s launch, but since it added only one new …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Oct 2016
Theresa May photo by Frederic Legrand COMEO via Shutterstock

Prime Minister May hints at shaking up Blighty's 'dysfunctional' rural broadband

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested her government could intervene in failing markets, such as rural broadband. Speaking at the Tory conference in Birmingham today, she said: "Where markets are dysfunctional, we should be prepared to intervene." She added: "Where companies are exploiting the failures of the market in …
Kat Hall, 05 Oct 2016

BlackBerry: You can't just roll up and make one

Interview BlackBerry says it won’t license its brand and security hardened Android “to any Tom Dick and Harry” as it tries to maintain the value of its brand. The BlackBerry senior VP for sales for its Mobility division Alex Thurber - stopping to talk to El Reg as he sailed through London on his honeymoon - also told us BlackBerry had …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Oct 2016

Micron scrambling up wall of revenues pit

Micron has reversed its downward trend and pulled off a fourth fiscal 2016 quarter with increased revenues and decreased losses. The mainly DRAM and flash foundry company reported revenues of $3.22bn, up 11 per cent on the preceding quarter but 11 per cent down on the year; there is still a ways to go. The net loss was $170m, …
Chris Mellor, 05 Oct 2016

‘You can’t opt out of IoT’: Our future is the Rise of the Sensor Machines

IPExpo “The majority of SMEs are bamboozled by the Internet of Things and how it will support their business,” Mike van Bunnens, MD of comms tech firm Comms365 told The Register today. Predicting a future where “everything” is an IoT device that “binds us together”, van Bunnens - flanked by colleagues Shaun Nicholls and Nick Sacke - …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Oct 2016

Google's hardware extravaganza: Ad giant takes on Sonos, Roku, Linksys, Amazon, Oculus... you name it

In just 90 minutes on Tuesday morning, Google took an enormous leap into the hardware market, offering new products to compete with Sonos in the music streaming market, Roku in video streaming, Linksys in routers, Amazon in voice assistants, Oculus in virtual reality, and Apple in phones. The sheer depth and breadth of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Oct 2016

Good God, we've found a Google thing we like – the Pixel iPhone killer

Hands-on Google is taking on the iPhone. At an event this morning in San Francisco, the web advertising giant took a huge leap into hardware with a range of new products aimed at taking on, and beating, the most popular consumer products on the market. Top of the list: the Google Pixel phone, which is aimed squarely at the iPhone. …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Oct 2016

Microsoft disbands Band band – and there'll be no version 3

“Devices come and go,” mused Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella this March, discussing the wearables market. Now Nadella can notch up another hardware kill. Microsoft, the only enterprise vendor with a wearable platform, has confirmed it has no plans to launch a third version of its activity wearable, the Microsoft Band. Reports also …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Oct 2016
image by Alexander_P

If someone can translate Salesforce's $700m cool Krux plan into English, we'd be really grateful

Salesforce is buying data aggregator and analytics outfit Krux for US$700m in cash and shares. Exactly what Krux, based in San Francisco, does is hidden in wonderfully esoteric babble speak. It allegedly "provides a holistic system for consumer engagement and data governance, helping marketers, media companies, and agencies …
Crying baby in autumn. Photo by shutterstock

ACCC could spoil startups' exit strategy

The favourite exit strategy for Australian retail “disruptors”, get yourself acquired by Woolworths or Coles, is under threat – and startupville isn't happy. Last Thursday, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims pointed out the obvious: online retail startups only present a competitive challenge to …

Source code unleashed for junk-blasting Internet of Things botnet

Malicious code used to press-gang IoT connected devices into a botnet was leaked online over the weekend. The Mirai malware is a DDoS Trojan and targets Linux systems and, in particular, IoT devices. A botnet formed using the malware was used to blast junk traffic at the website of security researcher Brian Krebs last month in …
John Leyden, 03 Oct 2016
Man shouting the news from a rolled up newspaper

Oops: Carphone burps up new Google phone details

Google executives have been hyping tomorrow’s Android event as the most significant since the platform was first announced in 2008. But there’s little need to tune in for one part of it, thanks to British mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse. Google plans to use the event to take a more prominent role as a phone maker, all …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Oct 2016

Brit ISP TalkTalk scraps line rental charges

UK ISP TalkTalk is scrapping line rental charges and freezing price increases for 18 months – in a bid to comply with forthcoming regulatory changes and retain its declining customer base. The move comes exactly one year after the disastrous hack at TalkTalk, which resulted in 150,000 of its customers' details being stolen. …
Kat Hall, 03 Oct 2016

FCC keeps secret Google TV landgrab under wraps forever

Analysis US broadband regulator the FCC dramatically cancelled the much-anticipated vote on its secretive TV set-top box plan on Thursday – and it's keeping the details confidential. The terse note announcing the cancellation of the vote [PDF] at the ironically named “Open Meeting” declared that: The item remains on circulation and …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Sep 2016

No surprise: Microsoft seeks Windows Update boss with 'ability to reduce chaos, stress'

Microsoft wants to hire a particularly thick-skinned person to help run its Windows Updates team. The Windows Servicing and Delivery team Senior Program Manager will be tasked with overseeing the release of features, fixes and security patches Microsoft delivers for Windows. That means the person who fills this role will be …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Sep 2016

Dirty diesel backups will make Hinkley Point C look like a bargain

Britain signed off on the most costly energy deal it has ever made this week – but the price we agreed for energy from Hinckley is still lower than the peak prices that will hit British wallets even harder, and sooner. Current commitments to renewable generation will cost each household £466 by 2020/21, the centre-right think …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Sep 2016
Cables containing fibre, etc. Photo by Shutterstock

Business to be given more scope to quit crap broadband contracts

UK businesses are to receive more accurate data on broadband speeds before signing up to a contract, under a voluntary code coming into force from Ofcom today. Under the move, customers will also be able to exit their contract at any point if speeds fall below a minimum guaranteed level. The plans are to be run under a …
Kat Hall, 30 Sep 2016

Invasion of the Brandsnatchers: How Nokia and BlackBerry inhabit the afterlife

Analysis Early next year you should able to buy Nokia phones and BlackBerry phones, two of the giant names of the Noughties. None of these phones will be made by Nokia or BlackBerry, and all of them will be Android phones. The famous brands will inhabit new bodies, with the licensees hoping to rekindle some nostalgia both giants once …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Sep 2016

Apple puts on its grey suit: Firm, 40, keen to meet corporate types

Apple and consulting firm Deloitte are teaming up to help organisations with their business transformation efforts through the use of Apple devices. The move is just the latest sign that Cupertino is feeling the need to get more serious about the business market than in the past. We wonder why... Apple’s latest foray into the …
Dan Robinson, 29 Sep 2016