Articles about Consumers

SentinelOne's $1m ransomware guarantee dismissed as PR stunt

A “ransomware guarantee” from security outfit SentinelOne has been dismissed by critics as a marketing stunt. Ransomware is currently the biggest scourge of internet security, affecting corporates and consumers alike. So self-styled next generation endpoint security firm SentinelOne unsurprisingly created waves with a pledge …
John Leyden, 29 Jul 2016
Still from tv show three's company  copyright  	DLT Entertainment The Program Exchange FremantleMedia /cbs

Three owner Hutch lobs sueball at EU over failed O2 buy

The owner of mobile network Three UK, CK Hutchison, has lodged a legal challenge against the European Commission. The Telegraph, which broke the story, says a filing has been filed with the General Court (formerly the Court of the First Instance), after the European Competition Commission blocked the acquisition by Hutchison. …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Microsoft buries the bad Windows Phone news: Mobile sales collapse

Microsoft has revealed how badly its Windows phone business has crashed via paperwork filed with America's financial regulator, the SEC. Nokia was shipping 7.3 million Lumias per quarter when the deal to acquire its phone unit was announced in September 2013. Nokia was shipping over 90 per cent of Windows Phones sold. But in …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016
Mobile banking, image via Shutterstock

Not enough competition in payment processing tech, thunders regulator

A UK government regulator is calling for greater competition in banking payment infrastructure provision. The Payments Systems Regulator’s (PSR) market review into the ownership and competitiveness of infrastructure that supports the three major UK payment systems – Bacs, Faster Payments Service (FPS), and LINK – concluded …
John Leyden, 29 Jul 2016
Nvidia GeForce

Bought a GTX 970? Congrats, Nvidia owes you thirty bucks

Graphics goliath Nvidia has agreed to a settlement that will see it pay $30 to American gamers who purchased its GTX 970 graphics cards and can file a valid claim. The pay-out deal [PDF] settles a class-action claim accusing the company of misleading consumers on the specs of the gaming card's memory and processor capabilities …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jul 2016

Osram's Lightify smart bulbs blow a security fuse – isn't anything code audited anymore?

Nine security holes, four of them still unpatched, have been found in the Osram smart light bulb system, potentially giving attackers access to a home or corporate network. The issues in the Lightify Home and Pro systems range from cross-site scripting (XSS) to problems with the ZigBee and SSL protocols to insecure encryption …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jul 2016

Oz regulator eyes broadband marketing

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is setting its sights on broadband speed claims, again. It's almost a perennial: providers who used to routinely use 24 Mbps to spruik ADSL2+ services that mostly limp along at under 10 Mbps have been jumped on before. Now, as the ACCC's chairman Rod Sims says, “ …
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Anti-theft kill switches in smartphones just got a little less creepy

Some of the largest smartphone vendors and mobile carriers in the US say they have hit a milestone in the use of privacy-friendly anti-theft tools. The 16 members of the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Committee said Tuesday that as of the end of the month, all smartphones they ship and activate in the US will not only be pre- …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jul 2016
Password

O2 customer DATA GRAB: Not-a-hack creds for sale on dark web

Hackers have gained access to customer data on UK telco O2 – and put it up for sale on the dark web. The compromised data was likely obtained by using usernames and passwords stolen from gaming website XSplit three years ago in order to log onto O2 accounts. When the login details matched, the hackers could access O2 customer …
John Leyden, 26 Jul 2016

Yahoo! She said yes. Verizon confirms $4.8bn acquisition

Verizon has today confirmed it will splash out $4.83bn (£3.7bn) buying Yahoo, with the deal expected to close in the first financial quarter of next year. The telco was one of 40 suitors rumoured earlier this year to be interested, including Google parent Alphabet, Time and even Daily Mail parent DMG. Yahoo! has been on a …
Kat Hall, 25 Jul 2016
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Is digital fraud big in UK? British abacus-botherers finally have some answers

Reports of fraud have doubled, according to official statistics – because the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is now including cyber crimes in its figures. The UK's ONS reckons, in crime statistics released last week, that more than two million computer misuse offences and 3.8 million online fraud offences took place in …
John Leyden, 25 Jul 2016
Woman looking sceptical. photo by shutterstock

They kept that quiet. PC sales via distributors DID rise in Q2

It is a Friday and El Reg is pleased to be able to answer the burning question on the lips of readers across the land - just how did PC sales via distribution do in the second quarter? They went well. Though retailers and wholesalers bought in stock conservatively, as recorded by Gartner and IDC, channel analyst Context …
Paul Kunert, 22 Jul 2016
Broken phone

Tight-wad Apple repair techs swapped our damaged iGear with used kit – lawsuit

Apple has been presented with a class-action lawsuit filed by customers who say the expensive electronics giant replaced their damaged devices with used models. More specifically, the suit [PDF] filed to the Northern California District Court alleges the Cupertino behemoth has been replacing damaged or defective devices with …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jul 2016

EFF declares anti-piracy DMCA unconstitutional in new legal showdown

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a lawsuit claiming that a controversial anti-digital-piracy law in the US is unconstitutional. Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – which became law 18 years ago – has long been controversial due to its heavy restrictions on what people are allowed …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2016

Apple Watch craze over before it started: Wrist-puter drags market screaming off a cliff

Smartwatch shipments are in freefall thanks to slowing sales of the Apple Watch. Research house IDC says that year-over-year shipments were down 32 per cent in the past quarter, with Apple far and away taking the biggest hit as its Watch shipments fell an eye-watering 55 per cent from last year. Analysts say that the drop is …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jul 2016

GOP delegates suckered into connecting to insecure Wi-Fi hotspots

A Wi-Fi hack experiment conducted at various locations at or near the Republican National Convention site in Cleveland, US, underlines how risky it can be to connect to public Wi-Fi without protection from a VPN. The exercise, carried out by security researchers at Avast, an anti-virus firm, revealed that more than 1,000 …
John Leyden, 21 Jul 2016
Curser icon over a news paper folded

IoT baby monitor style hacks still a threat

Lessons have not been learned from an incident where a Russian website provided links to access baby monitor cameras, according to the UK’s data protection watchdog. The website allowed people to watch footage from insecure cameras around the world, prompting a warning from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) back in …
John Leyden, 19 Jul 2016
BT Openreach van

MPs tell BT: Lay more fibre or face split with Openreach

BT has "significantly under-invested" in IT infrastructure subsidiary Openreach and a full split should go ahead if it fails to offer "appropriate reforms and investment assurances", according to a report by MPs. The report (PDF) published by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee concluded the shortfall in investment …
Kat Hall, 19 Jul 2016
Study Confirms High Effectiveness of Low Speed Autonomous Emergency Braking

What will laws on self-driving cars look like? Think black boxes and 'minimum attention'

The recent high-profile crash of a Tesla driving in Autopilot mode has sparked a rush to develop new laws for self-driving cars. Just as there is a race on in the engineering departments of many large car companies to develop autonomous car technology, so legislators are working fast to develop the rules to cover it. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jul 2016
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UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

The closure of the UK government's Department of Energy & Climate Change should result in a major rethink of the organisation's shambolic and costly £11bn Smart Meter programme, campaigners have urged. Last week DECC was merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to form the newly anointed Department of …
Kat Hall, 18 Jul 2016
Artist's view of a binary black hole. Pic credit: NASA, ESA and G Bacon (STScI)

Brexit has left a regulatory black hole for digital, say MPs

Brexit has left the UK peering into a digital regulatory void, according to MPs. The government must provide greater clarity on digital regulation and ensure it stays on track in light of the EU referendum result, the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee finds in a report published today (PDF). Issues that …
Kat Hall, 18 Jul 2016

FTC lets Nest off the hook over Revolv IoT hub bricking shame

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided not to move forward with an investigation into smart-home company Nest and its decision to end support for the Revolv hub. In a letter [PDF] to the Google stablemate, the regulator said it had "decided not to recommend enforcement action at this time," referencing "confidential …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2016
Upset man in suit and drinking liquor. Photo by Shutterstock

One in five consumers upgraded to Win10 for free instead of buying a PC

Microsoft’s free upgrade of Windows 10 hit PC makers where it hurt though the extent of this was apparently a surprise to the software giant, data druids at Gartner have claimed. According to a survey by the holders of the Magic Quadrant, one in five consumers that upgraded to the free version of the OS decided they didn’t …
Paul Kunert, 15 Jul 2016
Autopilot

Dear Tesla, stop calling it autopilot – and drivers are not your guinea pigs

Tesla is misleading drivers about the efficacy of its Autopilot feature and is putting lives at risk, according to Consumer Reports. The automaker's autopilot system, when engaged, is supposed to control the speed of the vehicle and its distance from other rides and objects – but it's more of a super-cruise-control than a …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2016
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FCC approves 5G auction

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unanimously approved the auction of a large block of its airwaves to be used by next-generation 5G networks. The regulator's decision will make the United States the first nation to allocate a large chunk of high frequencies to the coming technology. Those frequencies were …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016

Google quietly takes gag off Mississippi AG after wrecking ads probe

Google has, without fanfare, dropped its legal action that muzzled an investigation into the ad giant's conduct by the State of Mississippi. The state's elected attorney general, Democrat Jim Hood, has taken on Wall Street, the tobacco industry and the KKK, but even he must have been surprised by Google's 44-page restraining …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

You really do want to use biometrics for payments, beam banks

Two in three European consumers actively want to use biometric technology when making payments, according to a new Visa-sponsored survey. Nearly three in four (73 per cent) see two-factor authentication – where a form of biometrics is used in conjunction with a payment device – as a secure payment authentication method. More …
John Leyden, 14 Jul 2016
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EU waves antitrust claims in Google's face, snarls 'You want some?'

EU antitrust regulators have accused Google of preventing rivals from competing in online advertising and search, deepening its existing probe into anti-competition allegations against the ad-flinger. The antitrust charges are the latest effort to clamp down on the advertising biz, following existing investigations claiming …
Kat Hall, 14 Jul 2016
Gunther Oettinger, EU digital commissioner. Photo by Shutterstock - must mark as editorial use only

EU operators’ 5G manifesto misses the point

Never before have events coincided so neatly to demonstrate the gap between mobile operators’ thinking about 5G, and how future networks will really be deployed for disruptive effect. While Europe’s leading MNOs were presenting a backwards-looking "5G Manifesto" to the European Commission, veiling pleas for net neutrality …
Wireless Watch, 13 Jul 2016
The Desktop App Converter makes Appx packages for existing desktop applications

Hands On with Project Centennial: A better app installer for Windows

Hands On Even those who do not care about Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) might have some interest in Project Centennial, also known as the Desktop App Converter, which lets you convert desktop applications to the Appx format used by Windows Store apps. The ability to have Appx packages install desktop applications is a …
Tim Anderson, 12 Jul 2016
Man in helmet looks uncertain, holds up shield. Photo by Shutterstock

European Commission straps on Privacy Shield

The European Commission has this morning adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement, which will enter into force as soon as all member states are notified of the adequacy decision (PDF). Privacy Shield, which has been adopted after months of negotiations, is an agreement between the EU and the US which ostensibly ensures that …
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Falling PC tide strands Seagate's disk drive boats. Will WDC follow?

Comment Seagate has announced its latest quarterly results will be unexpectedly good but there will be employee bloodshed. Another 6,500 layoffs on top of the 1,600 announced in June will take place. WDC did say it was cutting 507 US staff in June but these are the tip of an expected iceberg, which will see thousands of positions …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jul 2016

YouTube stars shilled for Warner Bros, screwed up, and now the FTC has written an angry letter

Warner Bros has settled a complaint that YouTube celebs it paid to promote its video game online didn't declare that they were taking the entertainment giant's coin. YouTubers who agreed to publicize 2014's Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor were given cash on condition they produce a favorable review of the game, not show any …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Jul 2016
Trading screen, photo via Shutterstock

AWS works on 'urgent' deals for UK customers as £ dips against $

Amazon Web Services has claimed it is trying to shield cloudy customers in the UK from the plunge in value of sterling against the US dollar following June’s vote to leave the EU. The titan told us it is looking at re-architecting bulk-saving programmes and grant programmes to tempt startups, SMBs and other businesses away …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Jul 2016
Telstra from Shutterstock

Consumer advocates call on Telstra to set customers free after outages

Australian consumer group CHOICE wants Telstra to release customers from their contracts, after months of repeated outages. Presenting its latest analysis of telecommunications plans, which unsurprisingly bells Telstra as the most expensive kitty in the litter, CHOICE says “free data days” are no longer an adequate response …

Infosec bods NCC walk away from the domain services biz

UK-based infosec consultancy NCC Group is withdrawing from the domain services biz while retaining domain security capability. The tactical switch was announced as NCC reported revenues up 56 per cent to £209.1m in the 12 months to 31 May 2016, compared to £133.7m in its previous financial year. NCC’s adjusted pre-tax profits …
John Leyden, 07 Jul 2016

Avast woos AVG shareholders with $1.3bn buyout offer

Avast is offering to buy anti-virus rival AVG for $1.3bn. AVG shareholders are being offered $25.00 per share in cash, a 33 per cent mark-up on the closing share price on Wednesday. AVG, Avast and rival Avira are the three main players in the market for freebie anti-virus scanners for Windows. All make their money by offering …
John Leyden, 07 Jul 2016
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Remember those stupid hoverboards? 500,000+ recalled in the US after they started exploding

Vid Half a million hoverboard users should hotfoot it to the hardware's makers and get a replacement, lest they go up in flames. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recall notices against 10 manufacturers and retailers for 501,300 self-balancing scooters aka hoverboards. The lithium-ion batteries powering the gizmos …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jul 2016
Windows 10 by Anton Watman, image via Shutterstock

App-V birthday to you, Win10: Virty tools baked in Anniversary update

Microsoft is packing its desktop virtualization into Windows 10 Anniversary Update next month – but you'll need an Enterprise or Education agreement to receive it. From August 2, the client's release date, Application Virtualization (App-V) and User Environment Virtualization (UE-V) will come as standard for both the Windows …
Gavin Clarke, 06 Jul 2016
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CityFibre takes on Ofcom over pledge to open BT ducts and poles

Small broadband provider CityFibre has complained to the competitions watchdog that Ofcom is backtracking on its promise to break the country's dependency on BT's Openreach by forcing greater access to its ducts and poles. In its Digital Communications Review (1.23, page 10) in February, Ofcom said it would open up the former …
Kat Hall, 06 Jul 2016

Ofcom is to get powers to fine mobe providers for crap service

Digital Economy Bill Communications provider Ofcom has gained powers to fine mobile operators up to £2m if they fail to comply with coverage obligations under their spectrum licence. The new penalties will be introduced under the 150-page Digital Economy Bill, which significantly boost the regulator's powers. The Bill granted the regulator powers …
Kat Hall, 06 Jul 2016
Woman in horse mask takes a selfie. Photo by Shutterstock

'Digital influencers' must disclose paid-for content, says new guidance

Online publishers, bloggers, tweeters and other "digital influencers" must "clearly and prominently" label content they are paid to produce as paid-for promotions, new guidance developed by a body of regulators from around the world has said. The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), in work led by …
OUT-LAW.COM, 06 Jul 2016
Huawei P9 camera lenses

Huawei: Our fake phone camera pic shame

Huawei is under fire after admitting a photo it supposedly took with one of its phones was actually snapped using an expensive digital camera. The (since deleted) image was posted to Huawei's Google+ page and was presented as having been taken with the P9, an Android-equipped smartphone that carries a pair of on-board 12Mp …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Jul 2016
Cheesy pic of man holding face in shame as accusatory finger emerges from display. Photo via Shutterstock

Get ready for mandatory porn site age checks, Brits. You read that right

Digital Economy Bill The UK government is to lay its digital bill before Parliament today, which, among other things, is intended to create a legal right for every household to access 10Mbps broadband. Age verification will also be required for people browsing pornographic websites, supposedly for the protection of children from online porn. The …
Kat Hall, 05 Jul 2016

One in 200 enterprise handsets is infected

If your enterprise has 200 mobile devices at least one is infected, so says security firm Skycure The Palto Alto firm has uncovered previous nasty Apple bugs, including the No iOS Zone flaw reported by El Reg last year. All told about three percent of the locked-down vanilla Cupertino devices are infected, the company says in …
Darren Pauli, 04 Jul 2016

Verisign keeps its dot-com cash cow until 2024

Verisign will retain control over the dot-com registry until 2024, providing it with a multi-billion-dollar cash cow for the next eight years. Verisign's contract to run the internet's most valuable naming structure is not due to end until 2018, but in a sign of the power politics at the top of the internet, the agreement will …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Jul 2016
The British Pound - Sterling currency tumbles post Brexit

Sterling's post-Brexit dollar woes are forcing up tech kit prices

Tech vendors don’t want to admit it but CIOs will need to return to their spending plan spreadsheets: hardware is going to get more expensive post-Brexit as sterling slides against the US dollar. The UK currency fell 12 per cent on 24 June when the outcome of the EU referendum emerged, and this week the pound plunged to a 31 …
Paul Kunert, 01 Jul 2016
Wind turbine, image via Shutterstock

Can Ireland's grid green satisfy Facebook and Apple?

When Facebook in January became the latest big-tech name to join Ireland’s roll call of data centre operators, its chief broke out the green flag – renewables. At the announcement in County Meath, company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg boasted the planned new facility would be “one of the most advanced and energy efficient …
Billy MacInnes, 01 Jul 2016

FCC starts running from cable box rip-off kill-off

Twenty billion dollars is a lot of incentive, as the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found out. Following a proposal in January, later approved by three of the five FCC Commissioners, cable companies would be obliged to let third parties produce set-top boxes by making subscriber and channel information …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jun 2016
Value pack of two tins of Spam

Amazon slashes mobe prices to get more eyes on lockscreen ads

Amazon has slashed the cost of its mobile handsets in return for customers eyeballing more personalised spam – its latest attempt to foist more e-commerce tat on consumers. The deal is open to Amazon Prime members who will have to sign up to "personalized offers and ads displayed on the phone's lockscreen." Customers will be …
Kat Hall, 30 Jun 2016